Sixth annual Powering the Arts Grant Program expands access to arts and culture in northern Illinois
CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To increase access to the arts in northern Illinois, ComEd and the League of Chicago Theatres today announced they have awarded a total of $205,000 in funding to local community arts organizations committed to fostering artistic accessibility in northern Illinois. Through ComEd’s annual Powering the Arts Program, individual grants of up to $25,000 each will go to 17 nonprofit organizations including local theaters, arts programs, cultural organizations and youth centers.
Since 2018, the ComEd Powering the Arts Program has supported creative endeavors and workshops throughout the communities ComEd serves. In the program’s tenure, over $850,000 in grant funding has been distributed to support arts initiatives in Illinois that enhance community programming, engagement, and overall appreciation for the arts.
“ComEd is excited to help our communities celebrate their diversity through creative innovation and unique arts initiatives,” said Louie Binswanger senior vice president of government, regulatory and external affairs at ComEd. “We recognize the importance of reinvesting into the communities we serve and appreciate the continued partnership with the League of Chicago Theatres to make this program a success.”
This is the sixth year ComEd has partnered with the League of Chicago Theatres, an alliance of more than 200 Chicago theatres. In that history, the program has supported nearly 100 arts organizations. Each year, ComEd funds the program and the League of Chicago Theatres reviews applications and administers the program to grant recipients. This year’s recipients span a wide range of focus areas including children’s art programs, music programs, cultural dancing and theater.
“The League of Chicago Theatres is thrilled to partner with ComEd again to continue furthering our mission of providing access and funding for the arts,” said Marissa Lynn Jones, executive director at League of Chicago Theatres. “The 17 organizations selected this year are finding innovative ways to reach their communities through art, and we couldn’t be prouder to support them on their journey.”
Additional information on the ComEd Powering the Arts Program can be found here.
The 17 ComEd Powering the Arts Program grant recipients for 2023 are:
- Chicago Blues Museum (Chicago – Austin): This grant will support the museum’s new permanent exhibition, “Unsung Austin,” by funding necessary program materials, display fabrication, and providing free access to the community. The exhibition will vividly celebrate the emergence of the West Side as Chicago’s birthplace of black music.
- Grant Park Orchestral Association (Chicago – Grant Park): This grant will support the Grant Park Orchestral Association Festival’s Connect Audience Outreach and Development program, which aims to broaden the Chicago community’s access to, and appreciation of, the unique enrichment of symphonic and choral concerts.
- The WasteShed (Chicago – Highline Park): This grant will support the expansion of DiscarDisco, an annual “trash fashion” event. The expansion will include new workshops for teachers, youth, and the public, and Mobile Mending, an outdoor pushcart to spread awareness about overcoming our throw-away culture through “radical mending” and the creation of upcycled fashion.
- NON:op Open Opera Works (Chicago – Hyde Park): This grant will support program creation rooted in historical and contemporary social concerns to build a more just society. The project ‘L’sGA: What Does the Gettysburg Address Mean to You?’ features a concert tour of three commissioned works by Black artists that re-interpret and re-present the Gettysburg Address and Sal Martirano’s 1967 anti-war classic, L’sGA.
- Joel Hall Dancers & Center (Chicago – Irving Park): This grant will help fund the center’s Chrysalis Project, which supports LGBTQIA+ and BILPOC individuals experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity because their sexual orientation or gender identities are not accepted by their primary caretakers. The Chrysalis Project prepares young BILPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists to become leaders in arts and culture organizations throughout Chicagoland and the world.
- Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago – Lincoln Square): This grant will support the school’s ‘Shrines of Brass’ project, collaboration, curation, design and promotion. The project celebrates the brass-based processional idiom as a mobile shrine, sonic monument and healing technology that honors the communal need to celebrate, grieve, restore and release through sound and movement.
- Lyric Opera of Chicago (Chicago – Loop): This grant will support SoundShirt, a groundbreaking accessibility project that will be the first of its kind for opera companies across the world, to provide a fully immersive experience that allows individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to feel the music. The SoundShirt project at Lyric allows the wearer to experience the feeling of music rendered on their upper body through haptic actuation.
- Muntu Dance Theatre (Chicago – South Shore): This grant will support the DanceAfrica “Lineage” project. DanceAfrica plans to engage with youth of color in the Chicagoland area by offering outreach through in-school and after-school programming and dance workshops that will fully engage students with an unforgettable cultural experience and provide self-awareness and appreciation education.
- Subtext Studio Theater (Chicago – Warrenville): This grant will help provide discounted admission prices to ‘The American Dream’ project, a play which centers around Latino characters and explores the immigration journey and the cost of freedom. Subtext Studio Theater also plans to bring the production to the community via Outreach Tours and give free performances in the community.
- Chicago Children’s Theatre (Chicago – West Loop): This grant will support the theatre’s Mesmerized by Arts and Science project by providing the staff resources to conduct outreach and identify schools on Chicago’s south/west sides in need of scholarships. The project will reach 4,200 community members focusing on the city’s most under-resourced students, providing a dynamic art learning experience.
- Children’s Theatre of Elgin (Elgin, Ill.): This grant will support the theatre’s Sensory-Friendly Performances. These performances will be geared for individuals who thrive in sensory-friendly performances that are uncommon in traditional theater experiences.
- Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst, Ill.): This grant will support the museum’s Art is for Everyone outreach project to restart and expand their communication, design and retention efforts. Art is for Everyone gives children from underserved and low-income communities, in K-8 grades in DuPage and Cook Counties, free transportation to and from the museum for a day of arts educational experiences around the current exhibition.
- Art Encounter (Evanston, Ill.): This grant will support the Art For All program, incorporate a collaborative public art project for participants that will impact the greater community of Evanston and encourage greater sensitivity and awareness of the needs of the disabled community. Approximately 30 artists will participate in this program, and the exhibition is expected to draw 300 attendees.
- Maywood Fine Arts Association (Maywood, Ill.): This grant will support the association’s Classical Ballet for New Audiences (CBNA) program outreach to continue growing participation among school children in low-income and underserved communities. CBNA plans to reach 1,000 Chicago school children in addition to the approximately 1,200 children they reach annually.
- Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (Park Forest, Ill.): This grant will support the orchestra’s ‘Check Out IPO’ initiative, which partners with local libraries allowing patrons to use their library card to check out free tickets for an IPO performance. The program was initiated in 2015 with three libraries and has seen steady growth to include 33 libraries during the 2022-23 season.
- Salt Creek Ballet (Salt Creek, Ill.): This grant will support the ballet’s Arts for All—a community engagement project that partners with schools and organizations to provide lecture demonstrations, mini-performances and arts-centric programming to over 3,000 students and adults annually. They plan to reach new and diverse audiences by exposing under-served individuals to classical ballet and dance and to be actively inclusive of and accessible to the communities they serve.
- Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University (University Park, Ill.): This grant will support the center’s Creating Compassionate Communities series project. The center plans to showcase a hip-hop ballet and develop bilingual marketing materials to build relationships in the Latinx community. These connections will transfer into consecutive seasons, increasing first-time cultural attendance, engagement, and participation by minority populations and families.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.