Artists in Conversation:

Sarah Best

Artist Sarah Best on Fiscal Sponsorship

An ambitious project is realized via Links Hall

Realizing my vision was priceless. It was crucial in my transition from an emerging artist to something more.

Julie Ganey

Going Solo: Taking Control of Your Art

Tips on writing and performing your own solo show

You’re an actor, sitting with a bunch of other actors in a theatre lobby waiting for your audition. People are silently studying their sides or mouthing monologues to themselves.

Micki LeSeuer

Enraptured and Intimidated: Building a Creative Community

Micki LeSueur, founder of Fictlicious, on running a reading series

Since no one hacked into my computer to read the stories I wasn’t submitting or peered through my living room window in the hopes of finding some insecure writer slugging it out with her laptop, the only way I was going to participate in a live reading series was if I bum-rushed the stage. Or started my own.

Suzanne Clores

Writing the Book that Comes to You

Trusting Your Gut with Intuitive Research

I didn’t plan to write this book. I had been planning and drafting and revising another book—a novel about a fake Intuitive Medium—for the better part of ten years. That book remains in progress. The new one took over, and it came to me in a flash.

Deb R. Lewis

Tips for Queer Artists in Chicago

No tantrums, return the favor and ask for what you want

Your art may have a lot a meaning for the queer community. This is one kind of success. Just as queer folk don’t devour strictly queer fare, neither should your art feed only the queer set. You will get further, faster, if you have something to say to the broader audience.

Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant

One Part Plant

Using both brains: changing your diet to improve productivity

The gut contains more neurotransmitters than the brain. Food is information, not just calories. When I was feeding my gut with crappy Sour Patch Kids and Big Gulps, I was sending a message to my brain to feel like crap, too. When I started treating my belly with the same care as my brain, powerful productivity changes happened.

Derek Harmening

Derek Harmening: Writer, Indie Book Store Staff

How I learned to stop worrying and love the books

The Book Cellar sells books at list price, as it must. But for that extra five-to-ten dollars per book, you’re treated to an entire world: a space for weekly book clubs, for children’s story time, for local authors to come read and sign their work.

Suzanne Clores, author

Suzanne Clores - On Finishing

Eight tips for writers approaching the finish line

I won't suggest that you write at the same time every day, decorate your writing area, or drink enough water. The end of any large work is as physical as it is psychological, so in addition to maintaining workout routines, therapy appointments and sleep schedules, approach the end of your book, essay or story collection with authenticity and grace.

Ryan Singleton

WordPlaySound

Exploring the other side of literature

I want to hear a fire in authors’ voices today. Writers create work not only because it has meaning on a page; the sound of the words has meaning on its own. I want us all to hear their words as writers hear them internally.

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra: Teacher, Storyteller, Mom

Juggle what?

I am often asked how I juggle it all. How do I juggle being a writer and a mom, a teacher and a mom, a working mom, a mom? Submitting my writing, marketing my writing, performing my writing, writing? Teaching students, teaching teachers to teach students ‘cause, really: what the hell do I know?

Nick Keenan

Function and Form

Getting a website that works for you

Although his design work has made him one of the most sought-after sound designers in the city, Nick Keenan has also become something of a guru for arts organizations looking to expand or improve their web presence.

Lindsay Olson

How to Invent Your Own Residency

In 2008, a series of events unfolded that eventually led me to the artistic opportunity of a lifetime. I'm a teacher at Columbia College Chicago and until recently, the Artist in Residence at the Oak Park Police Department. Competition for traditional residencies is fierce and wanting to find meaningful work that interested me, I thought about how to use my art to contribute to my community.

Lauren Levato

How An Artist Transitioned from Textual to Visual Language

I am always a storyteller first. Some stories are better told with language, some with images, some in non-linear, poetic formats. It's about choosing the format that best fits the narrative, even if it’s a non-narrative.

Halfway There

Using the mid-year review to assess the state of your art

Well everyone it was a great and extremely hot summer, and unfortunately it’s coming to an end. Your band has played at a music fest or two, you’ve sold some art at a few craft fairs or your film premiered at a film festival, all and all it has been a very busy and very productive summer.

Julia Haw

On the Marriage of Art and Writing

I’ve had a diary since I was in the fourth grade. My first one had cats on it and had ivory pages and wide-rules lines. I felt absolutely compelled to relay every minute detail.... “After recess I had lunch.  I had a hot dog, a salad and some chocolate milk. After lunch we went back to class and did some work. Then we went to computer and music. Then I went to Diane’s house. There’s a girl named Alice there.  She’s mean.  It was another boring day.” At times it felt like my writing was a duty. I HAD to report this - whatever happened in my life. 

Cultivating Arts Partnerships with the Chicago Park District


Opportunities for Artists in Chicago's Parks and How You Can Get Involved

The Chicago Park District offers arts programming in two forms: cultural events and instructional programs. Carol J. Mayer discusses the CPD's Arts Partners in Residence Program as well as other opportunities for artists in Chicago's parks and explains how you can get involved.

Rebecca Makkai: Author

Reclaiming my Chicago identity

For a chunk of my early twenties, I had Brooklyn envy. The narrative in my head went something like I this: a “real” writer goes from college to a fascinating year abroad then returns to earn her MFA at Iowa. After a year in California as a Stegner Fellow, she moves to Brooklyn.

Arts & Culture Promote Economic Development in Low-Wealth Communities

Highlights from The Grantmakers Concerned with Poverty and Arts & Culture Funders Group Panel

As cities and communities make plans for economic development and poverty alleviation in the aftermath of the Great Recession, there is growing interest in how public and private investments in the arts and cultural initiatives can develop human capital, promote economic development, and create vibrant communities, especially in low-wealth areas.

Benjamin van Loon

Why I started a small publishing business in an age of economic turmoil


The short answer of why I started Anobium, an independent publishing venture, is because I was anxious. Anxiety is a predecessor to boredom, and I wasn't ready to give up so easily as that. It was the fall of 2010.

Corey Hall

Expressions From Englewood

My motivation for creating Expressions From Englewood came in part from the late griot, singer, and entertainer Oscar Brown, Jr. In 1982, Mr. Brown looked at Chicago's Cabrini-Green Housing Development, stepped inside, and saw what very few people, if any, knew existed: true talent just waiting to be explored.

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