Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 - 2014 Fundraising Campaign Partners

Every year curators from the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network begins its fundraising by contracting professional artists, art coordinators, community based organizations supporting the arts, and other consultants to research and jointly apply for grant opportunities.  


This year we have the opportunity to form partnerships with the African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley, the Visual Arts Development Project, and the Placer Arts Council a State and Local Partner in California.


The Phantom Gallery Chicago Network is registered under both the Charitable Trust and the Solicitation for Charity Act, and is assigned a registration number, CO#- 01063500.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tarble Museum Artist in Residency

"Art is Business"

Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education, at South Shore Cultural Center

The Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, is applying for an Illinois Arts Council AIE grant to host artist Alpha Bruton for a four-week visual art residency focusing on textile arts and a collaborative installation. The core group, meeting at the Tarble Arts Center, will have a more in-depth exploration of textiles arts and will collaborate with Bruton on her installation at the Tarble. The core group will be youths in grades 6-12. If space allows, older community members may attend core group sessions as well, allowing for intergenerational exchanges.

Crystal City Virginia, Workshop during Art-O-matic . 2012

The Tarble has offered numerous activities involving professional artists in the past three years: exhibitions of contemporary art, artist residencies in area schools (most recent IAC funded residency was fall 2012) and co-sponsorship of artists’ lectures with the E.I.U. Art Department.  

Other arts programming offered at the Center include the three annual Enrichment Programs for area schools, professional development opportunities for teachers, docent-led tours of exhibitions, and year-round community art instruction led by practicing artists. The Tarble also hosts Charleston Community Theatre productions, Embarras Valley Film Festival events co-sponsored with the E.I.U. College of Arts and Humanities, and poetry and fiction readings co-sponsored with the E.I.U. English Department.

Arts in Health Care, Oak Forest Hospital AIR. 2002
The proposed fall 2013 residency will enhance visual arts programming in area schools by hosting Bruton to work with a variety of populations (students, teachers, and community members) in individual textile projects and a collaborative installation. Hands-on studio experiences involving professional artists, teachers, students, and others address the Tarble’s ongoing mission to provide unique arts education programs engaging rural area school populations and the community.
Beidler Elementary CPS, AIR Stagecraft, 2010
A residency involving area schools and community members was included in the Tarble’s education plan for the fall 2013 schedule. In consultation between Curator of Education Kit Morice and the Steering Committee, Alpha Bruton was selected from the AIE Artists Roster to serve as artist-in-residence. Her vast experience facilitating collaborations between professional artists and a variety of populations made her a good fit for the site.
The Steering Committee is comprised of Kit Morice, Tarble Curator of Education, teachers Dirk Muffler/Pathways; Penny Hess/Jefferson School, Kris Marsland/Windsor Jr.-Sr. High School, Judith Hagen, Principal/TLC, Humboldt (On-Site Coordinators, non-core groups); Shannon Johnson, Fine Arts Chair, Coles County Arts Council (Community Coordinator); Amy Borregine (parent volunteer) and Lydia McCollum (student).
Newberry Math and Science Academy, AIR 8th Grade Students 2012
Bruton was selected because she has involved communities in collaborative projects with exciting results. Residency activities will complement and enhance the art curricula in the co-sponsoring schools and complement the Tarble’s long-range plan by encouraging the active involvement of arts organizations, schools, and community members with the Tarble, expanding and enriching the existing arts education programs. The residency also provides continuing education opportunities for teachers through the Teacher In-Service as well as the core and non-core classroom activities.
 Chicago Public Library, SAIC Textile Fiber Arts Department and Community Artists

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


 Reposted article written by Samuel Thompson

View album

TRAILBLAZER:  one word to describe Renée Baker.   The words “polyproductive” and “prolific” can also be used to describe Ms. Baker, founder and music director of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project.  During the final months of the 2012/2013 season Ms. Baker conducted the premieres of three original compositions inspired by the life and work of Mark Rothko and recently received the Charles E. Walton Black Music Month Award from Chicago’s Vivian G. Harsh Society. 

 Renee Baker is a very active figure in the cultural life of Chicago, having been a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 1987 and having appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician throughout Chicago, including a Ravinia debut as viola soloist in Strauss’ Don Quixote, partnering with John Sharp, cellist of Chicago Symphony Orchestra.     In tandem with her career performing “traditional classical music”, Ms. Baker has been making great strides both as a conductor and as a composer of modern music.   

Ms. Baker is a person who maintains a deep sense of reverence to those who were influential in her development as an artist.   “I am incredibly grateful to Paul Freeman for serving as a stalwart mentor to me as a conductor, composer and musician,” she said.   “I was groomed over 25 years in the Chicago Sinfonietta – Paul first hired me as a violist in the orchestra in 1987 when it was founded, and was the first conductor both to ask for and premiere two symphonies that I had written.”  

Those premieres include the October 2010 world premiere of Ms. Baker’s “Sundown’s Promise” - a thirteen section work inspired by the Japanese rice harvest and spotlighted by Japanese Taiko drums – and the May 2011 premiere of “Divertimento Notte blu” for Orchestra and six jazz soloists.   Commissioned by the Chicago Sinfonietta, both works received great critical acclaim, and the May 2011 premiere of “Divertimento Notte blu” marked another high point in Ms. Baker’s steadily growing career, as it was in that performance that she made her Symphony Center debut as a conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta.

To have been the recipient of such a tremendous opportunity from a mentor was indescribable for Ms. Baker, as both premieres took place during Maestro Freeman’s final season as music director of the orchestra that he founded.    Symbolically, one could refer to that season as Mr. Freeman’s “passing the baton” to an emerging visionary.    It was also during the 2010/2011 season that Ms. Baker was hailed as    

“the latest AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) visionary” by  Downbeat Magazine. 

Renee Baker is definitely riding a wave, becoming one of the influential and important proponents of modern music of the twenty-first century.  In recent years, new music ensembles including Washington DC’s Great Noise Ensemble, the International Contemporary Ensemble and three-time Grammy Award winning Eighth Blackbird (also based in Chicago) have captured the attention of concertgoers and musicians worldwide.   Renee Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project are soon to join the ranks of the aforementioned ensembles, as CMOP is now positioned to establish a true international presence and reputation the go-to orchestra both for new music and for composers of color.


The reverence that Ms. Baker holds for her mentors is in tandem with her insatiable curiosity.   “About seven years ago I started looking at both the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the American Composers Orchestra, as I wondered if both those groups and orchestras that were programming ‘traditional classical music’ were attracting audiences for modern music.”   Continuing, she shared that in the formative years of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project she purposefully sought out people who were at the top of their game and who had an authentic interest in what she was trying to learn.  “These people, some of the most foremost jazz and creative musicians - including composer and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient Anthony Braxton and flutist/composer and Doris Duke artist Nicole Mitchell - were able to answer the questions that I had.”


The Chicago Modern Orchestra Project is a special ensemble in many ways.   “I believe in inclusion,” Renee said, “and many of these people are people that I have been grooming since 1991.   We have managed to marry the best of traditional classical musicians and the best of the avant-garde jazz players in Chicago, and we’re rapidly increasing our reach outside of the United States.   CMOP’s roster includes musicians who are also members of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and freelance with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, Chicago Opera Theatre, Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and many other fine ensembles.   This is why we can do absolutely authentic presentations of classical music, jazz and modern concert music.   I am able to get a flavor that most ensembles are not able to.”   With CMOP, Ms. Baker has shown herself to be a leader in developing true orchestral diversity, as no other orchestra in the United States can boast the authentic inclusiveness of the ensemble in both musical expertise and demographic:   in addition to being an awesome mix of classical and jazz musicians, CMOP membership is a true reflection of our nation’s ethnic diversity.

 “During our first season, we presented a total of fifteen concerts including both large ensemble concerts and smaller community concerts.     The ensemble has performed at both Dominican University and the South Shore Cultural Center, and our first ‘laboratory’ was held at Velvet Lounge.”   Ms. Baker’s belief in inclusion pervades the work of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, as CMOP has since its inception premiered an average of ten works each season, including compositions by Ms. Baker and others received through the ensemble’s open score project.    “It is truly wonderful not only to have created an opportunity to continuously hone my skills as a composer, but also to constantly introduce fresh music to our audience.”

 Ms. Baker’s reach as composer has grown steadily over many years.    Her works have been performed by groups including the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble, Southeast Symphony

(Los Angeles), DanceWright Project (San Francisco), Great Black Music Ensemble /AACM(premiered in Umbria, Italy, 2009) and presented both by the Joffrey Ballet Chamber Series and the Museum of Contemporary Art/Chicago.   Ms. Baker continues to secure performances of her works both nationally and internationally, including the upcoming 2014 premiere of “blu Samsara” in Zolle (Netherlands) and the anticipated premiere of “Sunyata” in 2015.

In recent years, CMOP has garnered attention from many people and organizations dedicated to the composition and performance of modern music, and the 2013-14 season will mark the beginning of a three-year period of great expansion.    Between 2013 and 2016 the ensemble is slated to present an exciting assortment of new works by some of the most interesting and innovative composers working  today.  

“Our 2013/2014 season begins with the premiere of my Simple Consciousness:  Painted Scores Exploratorium at Chicago’s Out of Line Gallery,” Ms. Baker said, “and during that season we shall also give the Chicago premiere of Nicole Mitchell’s When Life's Door Opens for Chamber Orchestra and 3 Vocalists.   This piece was commissioned and premiered in New York by the Tri-Centric Orchestra and Nicole, having very deep roots in Chicago, offered us the chance to give the Chicago Premiere.”   The organization New Music USA has also paired CMOP with 2008 Rome Prize finalist Gregg Wramage for a series of premieres to take place between January 2014 and May 2015.    The three year period 2013-2016 also includes works by UK-based composers Mark Yeats (who has recently become Composer-In-Association with Atlanta’s Chamber Cartel) and Alistair Zaldua.

When asked how she manages such an involved, diverse and innovative career, Renee answered in very simple yet profound manner:   “You find time to eat, right?  For the things that are vital to our existence – that we identify as vital – we find time.   This is all about quality of life – a life filled with art, and creativity.   If you are a cultural creative, everything is open to you.”  

 As they stand on the precipice of tremendous growth, everything is definitely open both for Renee Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project – a woman and an organization that stand for growth, discovery, inclusion, and true openness.

-Samuel Thompson


Monday, June 10, 2013

"The Artist's Life" Jazz Opera Workshop by Artist George Herms

 I found myself in Hollywood on Saturday night, at the Hollywood Bowl, Opera Andrea Bocelli, with the LA Philharmonic what a wonderful concert in the best box seats life is such an adventure. The Artist's Life" one big unfolding spectrum of art, music, and theatre. Let's see how the Phantom Gallery Chicago artists can work in collaboration with musicians this Fall during Chicago Artists Month 2013. I will be working in partnership with Renee Baker, director of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, in presenting new compositions, created during her international tour. Place and location to be determined, look for us in North Center.

"Art is Business"

18th annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM),

"Art is Business"

Chicago Artists Month October 2013
Dear Chicago Artists + Arts Organizations,
You are invited to participate in the 18th annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM), the citywide celebration of our vibrant and diverse arts community.
What is CAM?
Chicago Artists Month is an open call to individual artists and organizations for events that feature Chicago-based artists, in a public venue in Chicago, during the month of October. A marketing initiative of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, CAM showcases the work of Chicago's independent artists and arts organizations, highlights arts activity in Chicago neighborhoods, drives tourism, encourages collaboration and provides opportunities for creative expression and education for all Chicagoans.
Who Can Apply to Participate?
CAM welcomes program submissions from Chicago-based organizations and individuals that:
  • Feature one or more professional Chicago-based artists. "Artists" encompasses visual, culinary, performing, design, film, fashion, literary and spoken word artists.
  • Take place in October at a public venue in Chicago. Individual artist studios are not considered public venues unless they are part of a neighborhood art walk, studio building tour, or otherwise used as part of a larger public event or program.
Event categories include: Exhibition, Performance, Open Studio, Art Walk and Learning / Making.
CAM In the Neighborhoods
The theme for 2013 is "In the Neighborhoods." As in year's past, Chicago Artists Month is an open call for city-wide events. In addition, this year CAM will provide added focus on several "Featured Neighborhoods." While events in any neighborhood of the City of Chicago are eligible to be part of CAM, special emphasis will be placed on those that take place in these areas and times:
  • Edgewater / Uptown - Sept. 28 & 29
  • Portage Park - Oct. 4,5 & 6
  • South Shore / South Chicago - Oct. 11, 12 & 13
  • Pilsen - Oct. 18, 19 & 20
  • East Garfield Park - Oct. 24, 25 & 26
Applicants are responsible for securing their own venues in these neighborhoods. Should you primarily live/work in another Chicago neighborhood, but wish to perform/show your work in one of the Featured Neighborhoods, you are welcome to attend a networking session June 20 to meet artists or representatives from Featured Neighborhoods. See details below.
How to Submit a Proposal
Proposals are accepted online only. Please apply at
Deadline for applications is 5pm, July 15, 2013.
The online application requires: Contact Information, Date/Time, Program Description, Neighborhood/Ward, any related events, and the name and website of 2 participating Chicago Artists.
Accepted proposals will be notified and provided further instructions. If you wish to submit multiple proposals, you must complete a form for each. DCASE will provide marketing support for all accepted proposals.
Ideas for Your Proposal
  • Highlight local artists, crafters and arts nonprofits
  • Highlight emerging young artists, current art students and recent grads
  • POP-UP Marketplace for local art schools
  • Identify empty spaces / storefronts where people can show their work
  • Showcase ways to develop a community's interest in having original art in their home / work
  • Add performance - local musicians, circus, theater, dancers
  • Participatory performance - dance (stepping, square, salsa, etc.), karaoke, rap, etc.
  • Participatory making -- sidewalk chalk-drawing, yarn bombing, decorated bike parade, knitting circle, poetry slam, etc.
  • Open studios in arts buildings
  • Collaborate with libraries and park district facilities
  • Pop-up exhibits, classes, markets in vacant storefronts
  • Encourage unique collaborations - like restaurants featuring fashion + food
  • Mural Tours or creating a new mural
  • Trolley Tours
  • House / Garden Tours in the neighborhood
  • Bicycle Tours of the neighborhood
  • Sculpture walks
  • Trunk shows featuring local designers
  • Seminar on buying art, an art auction
  • Leverage other cultural activities in your neighborhood throughout the year
  • Activate CTA stops
  • Make a day/night of it
Join us for a networking session June 20
Meet other prospective CAM participants and representatives from the 2013 Featured Neighborhoods at a networking session at 6pm on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at the Chicago Cultural Center. An overview of the event will be presented followed by Q + A.
City Seal, Mayor Rahm Emanuel  DCASE logo

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events | Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 4th Floor | Chicago | IL | 60602