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Awards Provide Support for 10 Projects by Chicago Area Dance Companies and Artists

CHICAGO, IL — Audience Architects (AA), a non-profit, dance service organization in Chicago, announced the 2013-2014 grant recipients for the MetLife New Stages for Dance initiative (NSD). A total of $37,500 will be re-granted to 10 projects by Chicago dance companies and artists and will provide affordable access to quality venues. This grant is a continuation of the program that occurred in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco in 2011-2012. Audience Architects is excited to once again be a national partner on this program with Dance/USA, with lead support by the MetLife Foundation.

“New Stages for Dance helps Chicago dance artists and companies secure new access to larger venues and enables many to expand their home seasons. By partnering with these venues, the grantees have the opportunity to reach new audiences, while enjoying the valuable byproduct of enhanced production values. Grantees also receive in-kind marketing services from the venues and Audience Architects, thereby reducing the risk of self-producing,” notes Audience Architects Executive Director Heather Hartley. “The benefits from this program are supported by survey data from NSD 2011-2012 grantees, and we are so grateful for the support from Dance/USA and pleased that the MetLife Foundation recognizes the immense benefits of NSD.”

For 2013-2014, Audience Architects received a record number of applications, which were considered by a five-member panel of dance community leaders from Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisc. The panel awarded 10 projects with grant support in the range of $1,700 to $6,000. Awards were based on a variety of criteria including artistic merit, the quality of the applicant’s audience development and marketing plan and proportionate percentages of the venue rental costs.

Eligible projects for 2013-2014 grantees fell into one of three categories:

  1. Expansion of Engagement or Season at a Current Venue, defined as having at least one more performance than in the previous season;
  2. Performance(s) in a New Venue, if the company has never performed there or has not performed there for at least three years prior to the application date;
  3. Shared Bill Presentation: including two or more dance companies or artists.

Funded projects for 2013-2014 will take place at the following venues in the Chicago area between June 2013 and October 2014:

  • The Athenaeum Theatre; 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
  • Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University; Katten Landau Studio, 425 S. Wabash Ave., 4th Floor, Chicago
  • The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago; 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
  • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago; 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago/MCA Stage; 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago
  • North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie; 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie
  • The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn St., Chicago
  • Stage 773; 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

The 2013-2014 NSD grantees are as follows:

  • Aerial Dance Chicago with Elements Contemporary Ballet ($6,000, July 2014)
  • Audible Odyssey ($1,820, Fall 2014)
  • Chicago Moving Company with Guest Artists ($1,960, April 2014)
  • Ginger Krebs ($4,000, February 2014)
  • Hedwig Dances ($5,400, June 2013)
  • Khecari with The Humans ($4,400, Spring 2014)
  • RE|Dance Group ($1,720, July 2014)
  • Red Clay Dance ($4,200, October 2013)
  • Same Planet Different World with Peter Carpenter Performance Project ($4,000, October 2013)
  • The Seldoms ($4,000, October 2014).

An audience survey was designed to measure the impact of NSD’s 2011-2012 grants programs on audiences at funded dance performances in all three cities that received MetLife funding. Dance/USA tabulated the results from nearly 4,000 surveys. Highlights from the surveys tabulated in Chicago in 2011-2012 include:

  • 59% of audience members said they were seeing the artists/companies for the first time.
  • 47% of audience members were attending a performance in a venue that was new to them.

New Stages for Dance II is administered by Dance/USA in partnership with Audience Architects. Leadership Support for the New Stages for Dance II Initiative is provided by MetLife Foundation.

About Audience Architects is a dance service organization whose mission is to build and engage dance audiences in Chicago and advocate for Chicago dance. AA exists to provide Chicago dance companies with increased visibility, expansive resources, and additional forums to showcase and share their talents.

Audience Architects grew out of The Chicago Community Trust’s five-year Dance Initiative, which, among other things, funded a multi-year market research study on how to build dance audiences. One of the resultant projects was SeeChicagoDance.com, an audience development website, which launched in 2005 and drives ticket sales for dance in Chicago. With its comprehensive calendar, discount ticket sales program, email newsletter and database of proven dance patrons, the site quickly proved to be a success. It was clear that it needed to continue beyond the duration of the Dance Initiative, and Audience Architects was formed to ensure its longevity. Beyond the tremendous growth of the sites, AA has substantially built its programs to become a more robust service organization, becoming the go-to organization for the Chicago dance community to assist with and advocate for the broader needs of the field. Additional services include quarterly convenings for the Chicago dance community, attendance and exposure at regional and national conferences, newly launched public engagement programs such as “Moving Dialogs,” and regranting programs such as MetLife New Stages for Dance. For more information please visit audiencearchitects.com.

For additional information about Audience Architects contact Executive Director Heather Hartley at 312-846-6357 or heather@audiencearchitects.com.

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