Artists in Conversation:

Sid Yiddish

Improvisation, Offbeat Instrumentation, and 'America's Got Talent': A Conversation with Sid Yiddish

Sid Yiddish has been involved in the arts in Chicago and elsewhere for decades and is truly a modern day renaissance man. His involvement extends from music and poetry to performance art and painting, from theatre to film and so on.

Rebeca Mojica

Rebeca Mojica - Chainmaille Artist

On Surviving an Audit by the I.R.S.

The words “audit” and “IRS” can strike terror in the hearts of many Americans, individuals and business owners alike. It’s hard not to have visions of a monstrous institution filled with agents dressed like characters in a Dick Tracy comic, waiting in rooms with interrogation lamps and you with your box of crumpled receipts.

Dina Rabadi

Global Alliance of Artists: Where Art Meets Action

Groves of olive trees, Russian tanks, and radio broadcasts in Arabic—these are some of the things I think of when I think of “childhood,” but they're also things I think about everyday, even now, at 37.

I don’t believe in some sharp divide between “childhood” and “adulthood”—some cliff that, once surpassed, remains there

Charles Joseph Smith

My Yearlong Celebration of Franz Liszt


2011 marked the bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt, the 19th-century Hungarian composer who claimed to have invented the solo piano recital. Charles Joseph Smith, a Chicago-based classical pianist, shared with CAR how he paid homage to Liszt this year.

Steven Fischer

Old School New School: Exploring the Nature of Creativity

I’m in the Hollywood home of William Fraker, the six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer of such legendary movies as Rosemary’s Baby, Bullitt, and WarGames. My crew is shooting our conversation for Old School New School, a documentary on the nature of creativity.

Chris McAvoy - Awesome Foundation

Philanthropic Micro-granting for the Arts

The Awesome Foundation was founded in 2009 as an alternative to conventional forms of philanthropy. The basic idea is simple: ten trustees commit to a pool of $1000 per month. The trustees give away the $1000 as a grant to an "awesome"project.

David Safran - Singer/Songwriter

Love-Song of Extended Childhood

A self-released song will never suddenly be a hit. It will shamble through the universe for a while. It will be ignored. It will be dismissed. It will be embraced. With “Adult Things,” I tried to position myself for luck.

Jackie Samuel

Using the Arts to Strengthen Neighborhoods

Last week, I was contacted by one of our art partners from the South Chicago community who had noticed a fallen tree in a vacant lot near the 92nd Street Bridge, the site of the earliest European settlement (established in 1813). This person sent me an email suggesting or asking about the possibility of preserving a fallen tree limb because it looked like South Chicago emerging from the earth, revitalizing itself.

Orbert Davis

Creative Breakthrough in Music and Composition -- 2011 One State in the Arts Conference Presenter

Acclaimed trumpeter and composer Orbert Davis is co-founder, artistic director, and conductor of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, an orchestra that bridges gaps in genre, artistry, and diversity and asks its audience, “Is it classical? Is it jazz? You decide!” He is also clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and works with at-risk children through his music education curriculum, JazzAlive!

Promoting Disability Arts + Culture, 2011 One State in the Arts

Dr. Carrie Sandahl -- Conference Presenter

Dr. Carrie Sandahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the head of the new Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, which is devoted to research on and the creation of disability art.  Beginning in 2010, this program is the new administrative home for Chicago’s Bodies of Work, an organization that supports city-wide disability arts festivals and that promotes disability arts and culture year-round.

Christopher Morgan

The Value of Wearing Many Hats

I'm both a “starving artist” and a musician who wears many hats: multi-instrumentalist, arranger, songwriter, and composer. I've been involved in music for more than 22 years. At the age of six, I started my musical "hat collection" by studying classical piano, and then, at age 12, discovering the trumpet. As an up-and-coming trumpeter and arranger, I unknowingly grew into some familiar shoes, having discovered more recently that I'm a relative of legendary jazz trumpeter and mouthpiece designer Charlie Allen.

Conrad Freiburg

What's the story about how I, as a sculptor, came to play music?

Story? I don't have a story. I have a storage unit where I keep all the pieces of my silly life. In among boxes of books are nestled boxes of wood fragments- my own material resource of my own broken things. There is a bit of catapult in with a piece of roller coaster, an unopened letter on a sideways table saw. An inverted Plexiglas vitrine with miniature tree houses and small houseplant stump.

Gigi Rosenberg, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing

How Artists Can Find Funds

In your book, you write that "A proposal is a creative act like any other." Can you expand upon this comment?

Proposal writing takes time away from all the other things you should be doing like making art, marketing, and grocery shopping. For this reason, I encourage my students to ensure they will benefit from the process of writing a proposal or grant application, even if they don’t win.

A Sustainable Model for Arts Partnerships

Joanne Vena, Director of School Partnerships, CCAP

How can an artist combine his or her art practice with giving back to the community and, at the same time, make a living? It’s a question many artists face, and it's one answered by few organizations.

Shilpa Bavikatte

Bridging Two Identities: My Career as a Musician and Philanthropist

Growing up, I always felt like I was living in two different worlds. I was born and brought up in Iowa, the child of Indian immigrants who, although they appreciated my natural talent for singing, never wanted their youngest to become a musician. Instead, they hoped I'd become something more practical—perhaps a doctor, lawyer, or young wife and mother.

Lindsay Obermeyer

Err with Caution: Why I Carry Insurance


Disasters occur everyday: rivers overflow, buildings burn to the ground, earthquakes happen... You think you are immune to them until you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of one.  

In summer of 2010, after a particularly heavy rainstorm, the sewers backed up throughout much of Chicago. Four inches of soupy brown water with bits of this and that sprinkled throughout filled my studio.

Karla “FyreMouff” Armour, T'izm Sound Productions

Creating Chicago's First Urban Recording Label

I own a record label. Those five words are impressive to almost any person I've uttered them to, and yet I inwardly cringe despite my confident delivery of this statement. Maybe it's because constantly writing music and shooting out electronic press kits (EPKs) are difficult tasks that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy—if I had one.

Josh Chicoine

Achieving Balance in an Evolving Art Career

There’s this great quote from Wallace Shawn at the beginning of My Dinner with Andre: “When I was ten years old, I was rich, I was an aristocrat, riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now I’m 36, and all I think about is money.” 

I am no aristocrat, but there was a time in my mid 20s, right around 1999, that Chicago was full of artistic promise and possibility.

Paddy Noonan, IMRadio

Launching the Internet's First Open-Source Music Station

IMRadio is an Internet radio station based in Chicago that plays more than 50,000 songs from 10,000 musicians and has one full-time employee: that’s me, Paddy Noonan. It's my job to schedule all of these songs on more than 400 streams of music. I also help artists use IMRadio to promote their music,

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