Chicago’s Luminarts Supports Artists with 10-Year Commitment
During the lockdown early in the pandemic, Americans turned to the arts, consuming music, books, movies and more in record numbers.
Despite the increased attention, venues and theaters were closed during the quarantine, causing concerts, plays, etc. to dry up and performing artists to lose a significant portion of their income. For many others, side gigs disappeared as restaurants and bars temporarily closed, and the “starving artist” stereotype applied more literally than ever before in America.
Underestimating the importance of the work of groups like the Chicago-based group. Luminarts Cultural FoundationDeveloped out of Chicago’s Union League clubs, the foundation’s roots date back to 1949 and have supported the arts for over 70 years.
Currently, Luminarts funds approximately 20 artists per year.
“In a nutshell, Luminarts is the largest funder of amazing emerging artists in the Chicago area. These fellows are involved in the fields of visual arts, creative writing, jazz, classical music, fashion, ballet, and architecture.We identify them and give them unlimited fellowship grants ranging from $10,000 to $15,000. “Once they are named Luminarts Fellows, they will come back to the Foundation for the next 10 years from that point on, and they will be given specific projects and career development opportunities,” he said. You can request up to $2,500 per year to support us.”
One of the most impressive elements of the Foundation’s continued support of the arts is its ten-year commitment to fellows. This gives Fellows a unique opportunity to establish an artistic identity, build a viable career path, and develop each one over a decade. .
In addition to its 10-year commitment, Luminarts also offers fellows performance opportunities, job showcases, mentorship, and professional development.
While Americans have focused on storytelling and visual arts during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to take for granted that many aspects of everyday life are directly informed by art.
“I was leading a regional arts council in Michigan, and there were multiple gallery spaces. ” explained Karajainen. “At one point, I did an exhibition titled ‘Everyday Art.’ In the center of the gallery was a motorcycle. “It could be a graphic designer, an industrial designer, or an automotive designer. The applied arts and the hands that artists have in so many of our lives are always present,” he said. .
“I think art has become a window into another world because of the containment that we’ve all faced,” he continued. You could take the subway, but that was no longer the case, so it became very important to be able to access other ideas, other cultures, entertainment and information through art, through books, music or movies. And I saw people really realize the importance of it, and I think it resonated with people.”
The elected Fellows live near Chicago, but the Foundation’s influence reverberates nationally and internationally, with musicians performing in Madrid, Taiwan and Japan, and ballet dancers performing in Germany.
Alexander Hirsch A fourth-generation string player specializing in the cello, Hirsch has been an aspiring musician since the age of five, receiving a Luminarz Fellowship in 2017. He honed his craft in both Chicago and Boston, and also had the opportunity to study and perform in Berlin. He is in one of the most famous cities for classical music and has virtually unparalleled opportunities.
“Luminarts is honestly on a level of its own. There are very few organizations in the country doing what Luminarts does,” said Hersh. “I think this is a very good model for other institutions and organizations. They really support artists. We have these project grants that allow us to market and keep the creativity going. is.”
Harsh, 29, co-founded Nexus Chamber Music five years ago. Its purpose is a very specific goal to create a new paradigm for the dissemination of classical music.
“Nexus Chamber Music A group of musicians.I am the co-artistic director of [with Brian Hong]And basically every year we have a two-week Summer Chamber Music Festival in Chicago,” said the cellist. “Throughout the year we have several tours, university and college residencies and commissions. The overall mission of Nexus is to make chamber music more culturally relevant. We do so through these high-production music videos and live concerts,” Hersh said.
“I worry about future audiences moving this thing forward. It’s been hundreds of years and has stood the test of time, but I want this thing to be relevant.” I don’t want this on the fringes of society,” he said. “Many of these artforms fail to market themselves in ways that are relevant to new audiences. So one of my passions is finding ways to combine short films with classical music,” said the cellist. “started YouTube channel We are in the midst of a pandemic and are looking for creative ways to use technology to our advantage to try to reach new audiences using it instead of undermining art. I think it’s a thing. ”
Hirsch was able to get Nexus Chamber music off the ground thanks to a grant from Luminarts that essentially doubled the seed money.
Since then, Hersh’s passion for engaging young audiences in the world of classical music has manifested itself in many ways, with programs such as “Haydn’s Favorite Pizza” being an integral part of it.
“It’s a way of introducing chamber music to community music students. Nexus is launching it. But these concerts are free and open to students and their families. They’re on weeknights.” Haydn is one of the most experimental composers of all time, as he invented the string quartet, but he lived 300 years ago. End with a free pizza party for I’m just trying to figure out how to make [classical music] Make it fun and accessible to people. ”
I am preparing the release of a new project titled absintheexplores music written before the infamous Spirit was banned in the early 1900s and showcases Hersh’s creativity through a series of related short films. The cellist is also gearing up for his debut recital at Carnegie Hall in New York on November 30th.
Although now he is able to gig and tour regularly again, Hersh has been forced to find new means of self-expression and income over the past two years.
For Karajainen, Luminarz’s ability to provide some form of support to his allies quickly became important.
“One of the things we did very quickly was keep in touch, I think by the end of March, if not early April 2020. I reached out to and said ‘tell me about a paid performance or gig’ or if any scheduled opportunities were canceled within the next 6 months, I would send them a check in full. We can’t cover it, but we hope it helps a little in offsetting the loss of income you’ve faced. “We wanted to make sure that the loss of income didn’t affect them completely negatively,” the director said. I think it made us aware of the fragility of our world, in the sense that we are in it.
Fellowship applications are now open Luminarts website For the rest of 2022, the Cultural Foundation typically narrows the list of just 20 Luminarts Fellows out of 500 applicants. This is a unique opportunity for artists in the Chicagoland area with broad cultural interests.
“My festival, Nexus Chamber Music – it’s wild for me to play all the stories in my head,” recalled Hersh. “I’m a kid at heart. But I had this idea. And I’m very ambitious. And I said, ‘I want to start my own chamber music festival, this is the mission… ’ and they accepted it!” said the cellist. “What was so important at that stage in my life was the validation and confidence they gave me. Few people want to be the first to endorse an idea. I took the chance and they put so much faith in their artists that I am forever indebted to them.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimryan1/2022/10/07/chicagos-luminarts-supports-artists-with-10-year-commitment/ Chicago’s Luminarts Supports Artists with 10-Year Commitment