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Serving Dance in Chicago: A Planning Process for Small to Mid-sized Companies and Independent Artists

by Suzanne Callahan with Brooke Belott
May 2005
Funded by The Chicago Community Trust

This is a knockout report… one of the best things we’ve read…It is an incredible resource and gives us a road map to act. We are blown away by it.

—Bonnie Brooks
Former Presenting Series Director, Dance Center of Columbia College

—Laura Samson
Former Executive Director, Alphawood Foundation

Regarding strategic planning process for the Chicago Dance Community

The documents below report on a planning process that was designed to study and respond to the needs of the Chicago dance community for service provision, with a focus on Small to Mid-sized companies and Independent artists in Dance (referred to in this study as SMID). The Planning Process was co-directed by three artists whose companies and ways of working fall into the categories of independent and small/mid-size: Julia Rhoads, of Lucky Plush Productions; Eduardo Vilaro, then of Luna Negra Dance Theater; and Ginger Farley, independent artist. The process benefited from the advice of a steering committee and the Dance Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to the Chicago Community Trust.

Final Report (2 MB PDF)
This document states the purpose of and methodology for the study, followed by the findings from the extensive research that was conducted, including:

  • rich discussion from four focus groups of artists about their careers and needs
  • interviews with service providers in Chicago and New York
  • a comparative document of services available to artists in Chicago
  • the consultants’ recommendations

Executive Summary (374 KB PDF)

Comparative Document of Services Available to Artists (359 KB PDF)
Includes descriptions of services offered by organizations, eligibility and membership requirements, and fees at the time. Information was gathered in fall 2004 by a review of materials, followed up by interviews with most service providers in winter 2004-05.