Artists in Conversation:

Julia Rhoads

How do appropriation and copyright inform your work?

I founded Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) in 1999 as a platform for movement research, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and performance experiments. With the passing of this first milestone anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about my original goals, as well as the countless inquiries that subsequently propelled me forward. The work that I have created in collaboration with LPP’s various dedicated ensembles has challenged my assumptions about the body

Julie Mayo

What Is Dance?

am an artist whose medium is dance and who also has a strong tendency towards
philosophical musings. As a sort of thought experiment, taking place both in
and out of the studio, I am looking at the question “What is dance?” I am referring to dance here as a performance art. I am
finding that along with my inquiry comes also what dance is not. Of course there are no hard and
fast rules or regulating body that defines what dance is, and surely

Scott Aiello

Group 41: Mid-Career Actor Going Back to School

About two years ago, I began to grow restless as a Chicago actor. My career resembled that of many others in the city. I was working regularly at the smaller houses and, on occasion, was invited to play by the bigger Equity companies.  I had an agent, but was only booking about one or two well paying gigs per year.  In other words, I was doing better than some,
but worse than many.

Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography

photographers have no idea how much work curators view on a regular
basis.  I think they would be astonished.  Nor do they realize how
competitive it is.  There are so many artists who do compelling and
intriguing work.  The three curators at the Museum of Contemporary
Photography (MoCP) travel to photo festivals, meet artists, participate
in portfolio reviews all across the country and abroad, and serve on
juries.  We all see new work constantly, in person and online too.

Susan Heiserman, PianoForte Foundation

Standing Out as a New, Small Non-profit Music Organization

It’s probably a cliché to say that I didn’t choose music, it chose me.  But it’s true. Throughout most of my formative years, I planned to go into science or medicine. In fact, my high school class even voted me “Most Likely to Discover a Cure for Cancer.” 

Kate Lorenz, Hyde Park Art Center

Planning is essential, plans are useless.

Like most good things in life, my career in the arts has happened largely by accident.  When asked to give advice on how to get a job in the arts, I usually tell people to find ways to spend time doing what interests them and opportunities will present themselves.

Mark Sutton

Trying to Use Up All The Funny

You know how some people seem to always have really ridiculous things happen to them?  Do comedians have different experiences than normal …. or do they just see normal things in a different way?

I’ve joked with other improv actors that we see the same thing other people see, but

Darrell Jones

Balancing physical and conceptual realms

Interview with Rachel Thorne Germond.

I started dancing in my room with the door closed to Madonna as a child at the age of 12 or 13. My family lived in Tallahassee (FL), and I did gymnastics growing up. When I went to the University of Florida I studied Psychology. I was always interested in dance, so I took my first dance class there. I fell in love with it. It was something that I always wanted to do but I had been a little scared to try.

Scott Illingworth

What happens next? Transitioning from the classroom to the profession.

I finished graduate school this past spring. It was great. I loved it. I also couldn’t be happier to be done. Does finishing make me a professional director? Not really. Instead it puts me in this weird purgatory. The puberty of a directing career – exciting, but awkward.

Directors spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get from one place to another. How do we travel from an intimate scene in a kitchen to a busy street corner in 30 seconds? How can we instantly move from one scene to the next? How can I coax this actor from the hard and resistant read on this scene to a softer more open performance? It is, in no small part, our job to manage the ongoing transformations within a play and the people making it.

Dawoud Bey

What advice do you have for emerging artists?

Make good work! Be self-critical and informed enough to know if the work you are doing stacks up to the work you would like to be hanging next to. Through constant engagement with work that is being shown, know where and if your work fits into a particular area of current discourse. Nothing else matters more than this, and nothing else will make up for this if you are not doing it.

Rob Miller, Bloodshot Records

So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star - Then Listen Now To What I Say

Since you've asked me, the owner of the lowly but scrappy Bloodshot Records what we look for in a new artist, and not David Geffen or the CEO-of-the-month at DynaMusic

Stephanie Clemens

Why did you start re-staging historical works of choreography and how did you choose the works you reconstruct?

My company, MOMENTA
began doing historical works in 1988 when we decided to celebrate the life and work of Doris Humphrey who was born in Oak Park in 1895. We began by going to the Dance Notation Bureau and did the first two works from labanotated
scores, with a reconstructor.

Winifred Haun

Who are the choreographers in your collective Circle in the Square and how do you pick who the invited artists will be?

In the fall of 2005
we started as a collective of three arts organizations who each selected one
invited artist. The first year we had seven artists present new work (one of
the organizations had two artists present work).

Shirley Mordine, Mordine & Company Dance Theater

How did you found the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago?

Accidentally! I moved here from Minneapolis in 1968 where I had been teaching at the University of Minnesota. To make a living I taught in several locations--sometimes five in one day. One of my students recommended me to the theatre director at Columbia who invited me to teach a dance class.

Michael Zerang

Describe your career in sound and performance work in Chicago and internationally

An Interview with CAR Dance Researcher Rachel Thorne Germond

I have been working a lot internationally for the past 10-15 years. But before that I was a Chicago artist working mostly in Chicago and in the United States. I mean, it took a while to get to the level where I can travel as much as I do. I have been doing this now for 33 years. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, all of this traveling I have been doing.

Dan Merlo

How did you decide to start photographing dance?

An interview with CAR Researcher Rachel Thorne Germond

I took slides of the plays at the Station Theater in Champaign, IL. One of the plays featured a dance professor at the University of Illinois. She liked me and the work I'd done for the Station Theater, so she introduced me to the dance department. I had taken modern dance for fun during school, but I'd never photographed dance or even considered it until she asked me.

Seth Boustead, Accessible Contemporary Music

What advice do you have for starting a non-profit?

For someone wanting to start a non-profit, the first step would be to make sure there is a need for your services and that someone else is not already doing it, or at least not already doing it in the same geographical area.

Joyce Owens, Curator and Artist

How does curating and organizing an arts space affect your identity as an artist? What is the biggest challenge to organizing and curating art exhibitions and events?

Flexibility has turned out to be one of the most important attributes
I possess. Seeing multiple sides of issues is tough when it comes to making
decisions, and sometimes when it comes to making art, but I have learned
to appreciate my ability to see many possibilities at once and having an open

Richard Moskal

Profile: Chicago Film Office

Rich Moskal of DCASE Surveys the Field

Chicago filmmaking has seen windfall years before and, unfortunately, they’re often followed by crippling drought.

Steve Scott - Goodman Theatre

How Has Your Past Experience and Training in Theater Prepared You for Your Role as an Associate Producer?

I began working for the
Goodman Theatre on my 30th birthday, in the late summer of
1980. For the first few years, I was the director of our education
and outreach programs, and led workshops for such varied groups as
high school students, senior citizens in nursing homes, and inmates
(more correctly known as “residents”) of Stateville
Correctional Center. I continued in this position when Robert Falls
became the artistic director of the Goodman in 1986; the following
year, he asked me to take on the duties of Associate Producer, and
I’ve held that job ever since.
Initially, Bob wanted me to take on that position because he wanted to be free