Issue 7 / December 1, 2023

In this issue:

 IACA's Final Listening Tour Destination of 2023: Evanston

Arts Midwest GIG Fund Grant Recipients

 The Chicago Architecture Biennial


Artist Fellowship Spotlight: Geof Bradfield

Attendees included IACA board members, Rhoda Pierce, Anne Kaplan, Nora Daley and Henry Godinez

IACA's Final Listening Tour Destination of 2023: Evanston

Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston

Meeting Attendees

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss

The last Illinois Arts Council Agency Listening Tour this year, was held on November 14 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston. The discussion was led by IACA Chair, Nora Daley; Executive Director, Joshua Davis-Ruperto; Deputy Director, Encarnacion Teruel; and Director of Strategic Partnerships, Teresa Davis.

We give our sincere thanks to Evanston Mayor, Daniel Biss, the Evanston Arts Council's Melissa Raman Molitor, Kristen Fabian DeCastro, Joyy Norris, BJ Jones, James Deeb, & Yancey Hughes. Additional thanks to Piven Theatre's Tim Rhoze & Angela Allyn, Art Encounter's Lea Pinsky, Evanston Made & 1100 Florence Gallery's Founder/Curator, Lisa Degliantoni, and amazing artists Sholo Beverly, Beth Adler and Ben Blount.

Finally, the IACA thanks the Evanston community members that attended and contributed to these important conversations. Through the listening tours completed this year, we received critical insights that will help the Illinois Arts Council Agency better serve all Illinois communities. The agency is excited to share these improvements in the new year!

The IACA congratulates 13 Illinois organizations that received the latest round of Arts Midwest GIG Fund awards! These grants will support creative projects and educational events in 2024.

Artspace 304, Carbondale: $3,000

Black Alphabet Nfp, Chicago: $4,000

Burst Into Books, Chicago: $3,000

Catfish Jazz Society, East Moline: $2,500

Centralia Cultural Society, Centralia: $4,000

ChiMOP, Chicago: $2,800

Evanston Symphony Orchestra Association, Evanston: $2,500

Guarneri Hall Nfp, Chicago: $4,000

KPAC, Chicago: $4,000

Still Inspired, Chicago: $4,000

Subtext Studio TC, Warrenville: $4,000

The Wasteshed, Chicago $4,000

UCIMC, Urbana: $4,000

For a full list of grant recipients and to learn more about the GIG Fund, visit Arts Midwest:

The Chicago Architecture Biennial

On November 1, the fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) opened to the public, bringing together more than 80 Participants—from architecture studios and artist collectives to urban farmers and landscape designers—as well as 100+ Cultural Partners. Titled "This is a Rehearsal", the 2023 biennial explores how contemporary environmental, political, and economic issues are shared across national boundaries but are addressed differently around the world through art, architecture, infrastructure, and civic participation.

CAB 5 will feature a robust series of exhibitions and installations at indoor sites such as the Chicago Cultural Center (pictured below), the James R. Thompson Center, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Chicago Architecture Center.

IACA grant recipients and Fellows featured in CAB include Deb Sokolow, 2022 Artist Fellowship recipient; Red Clay Dance Company, 2023 General Operating Support recipient; Project Onward, 2022 General Operating Support recipient; Jeff Carter, 2019, Individual Artists Support recipient; Chris Bradley, 2020 Artist Fellowship recipient; and Amanda Williams, 2020 Artist Fellowship recipient.


Through grants and peer learning opportunities, ArtsHERE invests in organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to equity within their practices and programming, with the goal of increasing arts participation for underserved groups/communities, and sharing insights that may inform similar funding programs in the future. Grants range from $65,000 to $130,000 each.

Statement of Interest Due January 19

ArtsHERE is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with South Arts and in collaboration with the other five U.S. Regional Arts Organizations.

Artist Fellowship Spotlight:

Geof Bradfield

Geof Bradfield’s work as a composer and performer on saxophones and clarinets focuses on intersections of modern jazz and other streams of African Diaspora music, drawing inspiration from Charlie Parker, Melba Liston, Lead Belly, Shona mbira music, and Gullah spirituals. Born in Houston, TX, Bradfield has performed throughout North America, Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, sharing the stage with artists such as Randy Weston, Dana Hall, Clark Sommers, Brian Blade,

Anna Webber, Orrin Evans, Jeff Parker, Matt Ulery, and Ryan Cohan. His work is featured on 50+ CDs including eight albums as a leader that have garnered critical accolades from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and NPR.

This year, Geof founded a new record label, Calligram Records, with friend Chad McCullough. Details can be found in a Downbeat Magazine interview with Geof this past month. The label released eight new recordings of mostly Chicago-based jazz artists. Included in them is a recording of Geof's new quintet, entitled "Quaver".

Geof is currently in the process of completing a large ensemble project/recording made possible through the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and DCASE esteemed artist grants. Says Geof, "we performed at the Frequency Series at Constellation this summer and a studio record will be out on Calligram next summer/fall."

When asked about future plans, Geof says, "I’ve been studying mbira, the national instrument of Zimbabwe, for the last few years and am incorporating it into my recent work. With the funding provided by IACA and other sources I’ll be traveling to Zimbabwe next summer to study traditional Shona music with several master musicians." 

Geof is a professor of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. He appears at Constellation on Friday, December 8 @8:30 pm with Chicago Yestet.

Recent Announcements...

November 30, 2023 - An Opportunity for Artists: Art-In-Architecture RFQ

November 28, 2023 - Reminder: IACA FY24 Summer Youth Employment in the Arts Deadline is December 6

November 27, 2023 - Reminder: IACA FY24 Arts & Foreign Language Education Planning Assistance Grant Deadline is December 5, 2023

November 17, 2023 - Reminder: IACA FY24 Master/Apprentice Program Deadline is December 1, 2023

The Muse, The Illinois Arts Council Newsletter, is published bi-monthly. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission of the Illinois Arts Council is strictly prohibited. The Muse is distributed free of charge. Contributions from our readers are welcome. The Illinois Arts Council Agency reserves the right to edit or reject any material.