Writers’ Theatre and Village of Glencoe receive $100,000 grant
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:35AM
GLENCOE — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that Writers’ Theatre and the Village of Glencoe have been selected to receive an Our Town grant of $100,000 to support the design of a new theatre center in Glencoe.
The Writers’ Theatre/Village of Glencoe grant is one of eighty to be awarded during the 2012 grant cycle, and the only recipient in the Chicago area this year.
The grant will support the design of a new permanent home for Writers’ Theatre at the site of the Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe, which will be a cultural arts destination for patrons from throughout the Chicago area and across the country.
Through the Our Town grant, inaugurated in 2011, the NEA recognizes and supports communities that are working in partnership with non-profit arts organizations to create cultural destinations that encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and revitalize local economies.
The new theatre center, being designed by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang and Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects (SGA), will be a 21st century landmark for Chicago’s North Shore cultural corridor, expanding access to the arts for residents and attracting visitors from greater Chicagoland and across the nation.
SGA will pursue a U.S. Green Building Council LEED designation for the “theatre in the park,” where Writers; Theatre’s nationally-recognized theatre productions and classes, education programs, workshops and lectures will take place.
Writers’ Theatre and the Village of Glencoe worked with US Senators Richard J. Durbin and Mark Kirk; US Representatives Robert Dold (R-10th District) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th District); and Illinois State Senator Susan Garrett, all of whom provided vital endorsements of the project. “When a community invests in the arts, we know that it renews a vitality and energy across all demographics,” says Congressman Dold, a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus.
“I know that this project will not only serve as a performing arts center for today, bringing revitalized commerce as it grows; it will also serve as a symbol of hope for the future as well.”
Writers’ Theatre Executive Director Kathryn Lipuma comments, “To have this important project recognized by the NEA, and to be working with such wonderful partners toward our new theatre center, is truly an honor. We look forward to the next stage of planning and to bringing the arts to even more people when the center is completed.”
“A guiding principle of our Village Comprehensive Plan is to establish Downtown Glencoe as ‘a place at the heart of our community’s daily life,’” writes Glencoe Village President Scott Feldman, “The [Village and Writers’ Theatre] partnership is working to build a strong sense of place and community to attract new visitors to outdoor events, restaurants, shops, open spaces, and street life.”
The Village of Glencoe, Writers’ Theatre, and the Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe have been planning together for the new facility for the past four years.
Writers’ Theatre is grateful to the Glencoe Park District, the Glencoe Public Schools, the Glencoe Public Library, the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce, Communities in Schools of Chicago, and Do North Partners — the Chicago Botanic Gardens, the Ravinia Festival, and the Kohl Children’s Museum — who have all expressed support for the project. Writers’ Theatre is a founding member of Do North, a consortium of world-class cultural organizations on Chicago’s North Shore committed to strengthening the area’s cultural corridor through cooperative marketing, programming, and events.
“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts — both literally and figuratively — into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders.”
The eighty Our Town grant awards represents the NEA’s latest investment in creative placemaking, totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia. Combined with grants from 2011, the NEA has invested $11.58 million in Our Town projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three panels: Arts engagement, Cultural planning and design and Non-metro and tribal communities.