The Crusader Newspaper Group

Arts Alliance Illinois to celebrate three distinguished honorees

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

The Arts Alliance Illinois, under the leadership of Executive Director Claire Rice and Board Chair Brooke Flanagan, managing director for Development and External Affairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, will welcome artistic, business, creative, and philanthropic leaders from across Illinois to the organization’s Sixth Annual Benefit Luncheon, Monday, May 21, 2018 at the new Marriott Marquis Chicago (2121 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago). The event begins at 11:00 a.m., with a networking reception followed by a seated luncheon including a candid conversation with artist Nick Cave and more.

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Nick Cave. Photo by Sandro.

Renowned multimedia artist Nick Cave, spearhead of the Graduate Program of the Fashion Department at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, will attend and accept the Alliance’s Creative Voice Award presented by Marilyn and Larry Fields. Chicago-based collectors and philanthropists Denise and Gary Gardner will receive the Alliance’s 2018 Citizen Advocate Award presented by artist and professor Candida Alvarez. Cave and the Gardners join an esteemed list of past Benefit Luncheon honorees including internationally acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, actor John C. Reilly, David Hawkanson and Martha Lavey of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and cultural leaders Richard P. and Susan R. Kiphart, Jim and Kay Mabie, and Janet Carl Smith and Mel Smith.

Author and journalist Natalie Moore, poet Rapheal Mathis, and
others to be featured at the new Marriott Marquis Chicago

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Natalie Moore (Photo by David Pierini)

Cave will be interviewed live onstage by journalist and South Side Reporter for WBEZ 91.5FM Chicago. Natalie Moore is also the author of “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” recognized with a 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction, and named among the Best Nonfiction Books of 2016 by BuzzFeed. In October 2017, Moore was presented with the 21st Century Award for Outstanding Recent Achievement from the Chicago Public Library Foundation at its Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner. Additional special presentations will include a recitation by Rapheal Mathis, Illinois State Champion and National Finalist at Poetry Out Loud 2013, and young artists from the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center performing Hiplet.

Says Claire Rice, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois: “It’s all too rare that the people who contribute to arts and cultural communities across Illinois have the chance to gather and to celebrate their achievements as a sector. In the multidisciplinary spirit of Nick’s incredible work, we see this spring’s Benefit Luncheon, in particular, as a unique opportunity to draw connections between visual art and other creative practices including dance, media, music, poetry, theater, and more. I like to think of this unique event as a way for us all to look around as we look forward, as well as to applaud the innumerable accomplishments of our many Alliance members.”

Individual tickets to the Sixth Annual Benefit Luncheon are available now at $350–$500, with tables of ten available at $3,500 and up. A limited number of individual tickets are available at $150, reserved for artists, arts administrators, and students. Reservations are requested by Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Friday, May 4 is the deadline for inclusion in the printed program.

For more information regarding the Sixth Annual Benefit Luncheon, including sponsorship and visibility opportunities, visit or contact Sangini Brahmbhatt, Development Director at [email protected] or by phone at 312-855-3105 ext. 13.

Sponsors of the Arts Alliance Illinois Sixth Annual Benefit Luncheon are Allstate and Denise and Gary Gardner; Benefit Committee Co-Chairs Michelle T. Boone, Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer at Navy Pier, Inc., and Deana Haggag, President and CEO at United States Artists; Benefit Committee members Kassie Davis, Chris Jabin, Tony Karman, Dana Rice, Heather Ireland Robinson, Scott Silberstein, and Janet Carl Smith; Host Committee members Cheryl Cooke, Marilyn and Larry Fields, E. Brooke Flanagan, Lori Healey, Roche Schulfer, and Steve Solomon; Patron Sponsors Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Exelon Corporation, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Goodman Theatre, and Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority; Partner Sponsors The Field Foundation of Illinois, Ingenuity, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Navy Pier, Inc., The Poetry Foundation, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Diane Spradlin; and Media Sponsor Modern Luxury.


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