What Have Artists Got To Do With It?: Artists Respond to the New Cultural Plan

November 6, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington St.

With Lynn Basa, Martin Atkins, Halena Kays, Onye Ozuzu, and Laura Shaeffer

The new Chicago Cultural Plan identifies "creativity and innovation" among its top concerns. In doing so, Chicago joins a crowd of cities and businesses that have embraced these buzzwords, and for good reason: they resonate at the level of the individual, the neighborhood, and the city as a whole; and they include dimensions that are instrumental (e.g., spurring the economy), intrinsic (e.g., allowing for greater personal expression), and sometimes both. But the relationship between "creativity" and "innovation" is a complicated one. In this workshop, a panel of artists will help us explore the links between fostering creativity and promoting innovation in the urban context, how those links can be strengthened, and what the consequences might be for individuals, communities, and cities.

Lynn Basa (moderator) is an artist living in Chicago. In addition to having completed numerous public art commissions, she is a painter. She teaches in the Sculpture department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is the author of The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions. She owns an artist live/work building on Milwaukee Avenue in Avondale and is involved with helping other property owners with vacant storefronts to connect with artists who are looking for space.

Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors, his 30+ years in the music business spans across genres and borders and industries. He was a member of Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke. He founded industrial supergroup Pigface, The Damage Manual, and Murder Inc., and has contributed to Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. He is the owner of Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios (est. 1988). He is the author of Tour:Smart and Welcome to the Music Business You're Fucked, a syndicated blogger, and teaches at Madison Media Institute. Martin is a producer, drummer, documentary filmmaker, DJ, and father of four.

Halena Kays is the artistic director of The Hypocrites theater company where she both performs and directs. She is the co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys where she created and directed the majority of their public performances including their critically acclaimed long-running show: That's Weird, Grandma, called "the best reason to live in Chicago on a Monday night" by Time Out Chicago. She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad and a former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit.

Onye Ozuzu, Chair of Columbia College Chicago's Dance Center, is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator and researcher. Her work has been notable for its balance of visionary and practical progress in the arenas of curricular, artistic and community development of diversity, collaboration and interdisciplinary performance arts. Her work has been seen at The Joyce Soho (New York, N.Y.), Kaay Fecc Festival De Toutes les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, D.C.), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans), and many locations worldwide. She was a 2010 recipient of the Innovative Seed Grant, University of Colorado's most prestigious research grant, for her ethnographic research project ADADIA African Drum and Dance in America: the Oral History Archive.

Laura Shaeffer is an artist, mother, wife, and teacher, interested in social activism, community organisation and alternative pedagogy. Founder of theOp Shop, a temporary nomadic cultural center in Hyde Park, and co-director of Home Gallery, a series of contemporary art exhibits in a domestic setting. In addition to serving as artistic director of SHOP and a member of the curatorial committee, Laura will work as the co-director of exhibitions and events for the HPK, Community Museum at SHOP. Laura will also facilitate and teach many workshops and classes throughout the year with kids and adults.