Artists in Conversation:

Sarah and Joseph Belknap

The Artist Couple Shares Their Creative Journey

We began collaborating when we got married in the summer of 2008. We
realized in our own solo work that we weren’t taking many risks, so we
made a point to try anything and everything in our art making. We test
and experiment, and all of the failed ideas and projects drive our
practice to new levels.

Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap are Chicago-based artists

Vivian Visser

Gimme Shelter

I have been working with the concept of shelter, the vessel shape as a
retreat for the human spirit. The condition of this vessel speaks of the
condition of the spirit within. I believe we should look outside of
ourselves to better see within. I am inspired by trees and plants, nature and its various forms.

Lindsay Obermeyer

Why We Need Hope

Hope is the overriding theme of all my work. It is needed to endure the
daily bombardment of negative news—terrorism, recession, tsunamis,
global warming. Hope requires a leap of faith—a sustained belief in a
better world.

Lindsay Obermeyer
employs the history and metaphors surrounding textile practices to study issues as diverse as community development, environmentalism, medical ethics, and gender.

Anna Koh and Jeffrey Hanson Varilla

The Sculpture Team Works Realistically
We’ve lived in North Park since 1989 and are proud to have located our
new studio building there. We’ve been working with community leaders to
create a North Park Art Center that encourages and recognizes
creativity, adding to the neighborhood’s strengths.

Lorraine Peltz

The NYC-to-Chicago Transplant Describes Her Inspirations

I came to Chicago from New York for graduate school at the University of
Chicago and quickly found rewarding work teaching. I’ve had many
wonderful opportunities to exhibit at galleries here and find Chicago a
welcoming and sustaining city for an artist to work in. My work is inspired by the contemporary moment, history, literature, film, collective memory, and place.

David Jones

How the Director of Anchor Graphics Got His Start

In 1990, I founded Anchor Graphics (now a program of the A+D Department
at Columbia College Chicago) which strives to integrate education,
professional practice, creative excellence, and risk-taking with the
creation of fine art limited-edition prints. As director for more than 20
years, I have met and collaborated with some truly amazing people, and
this, in turn, has created unexpected opportunities.

Kathi Beste

The Flamenco Arts Center: Preserving History, Honoring the Source, Passing on Culture

Flamenco Arts Center was founded in Chicago in 2000 by dancer, actress, and educator Cynthia Rosario. It was her dream to set up an open meeting place in the city where anyone with an interest in flamenco music and dance could come to teach, learn, and share their love of the art form. Before 2000 there was no central location for flamenco where everyone was welcome.

Ingrid E. Albrecht

From Traveling Teacher to Professional Artist: Carving Out My Career

Little did I know at the age of four, when my grandmother placed a stick of pastel in my hands so I could paint alongside her in her kitchen, that today I would be a professional artist. She planted the seed in my mind at a tender age, but it wasn't until mid-life that it blossomed.

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.

Full Steam Ahead: Learning How to Tour as a Small Company

Marc Frost

A year and a half ago, I was sitting on a folding chair at my friend’s high-rise apartment in São Paulo, trying to determine the number of train stations in the U.S. My plan was to move back to Chicago, create a show about high-speed rail, and then tour it to every town with an active stop. Using Amtrak’s website,

Luke Hatton, Barrel of Monkeys

Putting Kids' Writing Centerstage

Luke Hatton is the Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys (BOM), a Chicago theater company that brings theatre to underserved school children, and brings the students’ theater to Chicago audiences. Unlike most theater companies, BOM’s educational mission is an integral part of its creative process.

Mayra C. Palafox

Community Environmental Youth Arts

I consider myself to be a reciprocal artist who draws inspiration from people, my surroundings, and nature. I have a strong passion to give back to the young people who are the future leaders of their communities, teaching them the importance of art in society as well as the responsibility of environmental conservation.

Stacy Ratner, Open Books

Sharing the Power and Joy of Literacy

You, reader, are looking at this sentence. You know the letters. You recognize the words. You understand the flow of the paragraph. By now, perhaps, you are wondering where it is going.

Because you can do all of these things, you are in the 47% of Chicago’s adult population who read at or above the fourth grade level.

Consider, for a moment, what it is like to be in the 53% that do not.

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.

Christopher Ashworth

Christopher Ashworth

Buliding My Company, Figure 53: A Creative, Artistic Adventure

Before he created QLab, one of the most widespread and highly praised pieces of theatrical software out there, Christopher Ashworth was an actor who dreamed of a full-time career on stage.

Kathryn Lamkey

Actors’ Equity: "We Really Aren’t the Culture of 'No'"

Kathryn V. Lamkey, Assistant Executive Director and Central Regional Director of Actors’ Equity Association, explains what non-Equity actors and non-Equity theatres should know about the union that represents more than 48,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Contrary to many struggling actors’ belief that Equity’s primary goal is to prevent them from fulfilling their dreams of becoming fully professional working artists, the aim of Equity, shares Lamkey, is to help actors get jobs

Dan Sinker

Entrepreneurial Journalism thru the Mobile Web

The creator of the notorious Twitter feed, @MayorEmanuel, Daniel Sinker is an Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago, where he has a focus in entrepreneurial journalism and the mobile web. A writer, designer, and programmer, he is  the founder and developer of the local election tracker

Tanya Saracho

Building Your Own Creative Community, 2011 One State in the Arts Conference Presenter

Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and moved to Texas in the late 80s. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Teatro Vista, a Goodman Theater Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Media, an artistic associate with AboutFace Theater, and the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Luna.

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.