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Valuing Peer Knowledge

The Arts Work fund does not require formal written reports for THINK or EXPLORE grants. Our new approach to grant reporting is SHARE – sharing and learning with the sector so that the benefits of your work go beyond your organization. This approach is new for us, and we are excited to experiment with several ways that grantees can SHARE:

In Conversation: Live one-hour Zoom conversations between groups of organizations focused on similar issues or working on similar projects. These casual conversations take place over morning coffee. In addition to being conducted “live,” we will record and distill the conversation for posting on our website and use the conversation to pose questions generated by the conversation to the AWFConnect listserv to spark broader conversation.

On Site: One-on-one recorded interviews about the grant-funded work. Interviews will be developed into short videos, an article for the website, and posted to the AWFConnect listserv to prompt broader conversation about the issue or focus topic.

On Topic: Grantees write about their project work and learning on the AWFConnect listserv, generally following a format of focused questions.

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AWF Pod: Radicalized Accessibility: The 3Arts/Bodies of Work Disability Culture Leadership Initiative

2nd Story's Artistic Director Amanda Delheimer joins Esther Grimm and Andy Slater from 3Arts.
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Recap: Sisters in Cinema on Long-term Sustainability

While Sisters in Cinema was focused on developing sustainable practices in 2021, the nation was reckoning with the legacy of systematic racism in a deeper way.
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On Site: An Urban Pilgrimage with Theatre Y

The Arts Work Fund check's in with Melissa Lorraine and Theatre Y about YOU ARE HERE: The Emerald Camino Project. A performance designed to celebrate our shared humanity and the walkable, beautiful urban environment of Chicago. "For me, the oxygen was the companion that you would encounter along the road." -- Melissa Lorraine
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On Site: Chicago Film Archive

The Arts Work Fund and TrueStar Media check in with Nancy Watrous of the Chicago Film Archive at the 2021 Home Movie Day to discuss a home movie projection project overlooking the 43rd Street CTA station. Nancy shares, "An picture is worth a thousand words. An installation is worth a million words."
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AWF Pod: Bridging The Gap: A Conversation with About Face Theatre

2nd Story's Artistic Director Amanda Delheimer joins Logan Jones and Kirsten Baity from About Face Theatre for the premiere episode of the AWF Podcast.
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Recap: A.B.L.E. Creative Associates

A.B.L.E. - Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations on launching The Creative Associates initiative
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Recap: Walls Turned Sideways

The Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project shares the outcomes of community-based research designed to imagine and create an art gallery + community center dedicated to artists and communities impacted by incarceration.
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On Topic: Building a Thriving Teaching Artist Community While Surviving a Pandemic

AWF Interviewing Alicia Vega and Joanne Vena from Changing Worlds Read More...

On Topic: Becoming an Anti-Racist Company

AWF Interviewing Tara Mallen: Founder & Artistic Director, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Read More...

On Topic: Longterm Artist Development Through Shorts

AWF Interviewing Eugene Park : Executive Director - Full Spectrum Features Read More...

In Conversation: Addressing Trauma and Healing in Arts Nonprofits

A conversation with three AWF grantees working to provide holistic supports and address trauma within their communities. Read More...

Emergency Relief Fund

From the beginning, it was clear that COVID-19 would have a devastating impact on the arts and cultural sectors and that Arts Work Fund needed to pivot to provide unrestricted, immediate support to arts organizations as they grappled with the fallout. In short order, a robust collaborative was formed between Arts Work Fund, 3Arts, Arts Alliance Illinois, the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the local philanthropic community, and individual donors. Called the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, Arts Alliance Illinois administered the fund, 3Arts leveraged its expertise to make grants available to artists, and the Arts Work Fund focused on grants to nonprofit arts organizations. Read More...

Reaching Forward

Throughout 2019, the Arts Work Fund AWF partnered with 21 African American, Latinx, Arab American, Asian American, and Native American arts leaders to co-design a new grant program and refine our grantmaking criteria and processes. COVID-19 interrupted the launch of our new grant program as we shifted to respond to emergency relief efforts. But we have instituted the grant making refinements that emerged from this process. Read More...