Lucky Plush Productions Receives Prestigious MacArthur Award
for Extraordinary Creativity and Effectiveness
Big congrats to our friends over at Lucky Plush Productions! Here at ChiIL Live Shows & ChiIL Mama we've been fans of the creative dance stylings of Lucky Plush for years. We're thrilled to announce they were just awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
Through this award, the MacArthur Foundation recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations that demonstrate creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants.
Led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads, Lucky Plush Productions creates a hybrid form of dance theater that blends nuanced dialogue, lush choreography, and unexpected humor. The company has premiered more than 30 original works, including 13 evening-length dance theater productions, and has built a national reputation for work that is both thought provoking and relatable. The company has performed in more than 40 venues, nationally and internationally, in just the past five seasons.
"Receiving the MacArthur Award is both an honor and a financial grace for Lucky Plush Productions. It validates over 15 years of dedicated risk-taking, inspires a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose in fulfilling our mission, and will deepen our efforts to create a sustainable model for our work," said Julia Rhoads, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Lucky Plush Productions.
Lucky Plush is committed to moving the dance field forward through risk taking and innovation, coupled with consistently responsible administrative and financial practice. It collaborates widely with performance arts groups and presenters and it consistently hires and collaborates with the city's most highly sought-after talent.
In 2009, well before it was a regular practice, Lucky Plush began inviting audiences into the creative process by building a website where people could comment, donate material, and engage in conversations about the work's content.
In addition, Lucky Plush also led the effort to establish Creative Partners, a collaborative effort with eighth blackbird and Blair Thomas and Company to provide for a shared full time development staff to drive growth and generate new resources.
Lucky Plush also is the first Chicago dance company that the Harris Theater for Music and Dance has both commissioned and fully presented. In just two weeks at the Harris, Lucky Plush debuts Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
In SuperStrip, the ensemble plays a group of washed up superheroes whom attempt to reinvent themselves as a non-profit think tank, complete with comic book graphics, sound effects and immersive video. For tickets and information, visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org or call (312) 334-7777.
In addition to Julia Rhoads, the company manager of Lucky Plush is Kim Goldman, and the current ensemble includes Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Daniel Gibson, Marc Macaranas, Elizabeth Luse, Melinda Jean Myers, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson.
More about The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions
The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions has been presented annually since 2006 to organizations across the country and around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. Lucky Plush Productions will use the $200,000 that accompanies its MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to increase its reserve fund, with a small portion earmarked for technology upgrades and marketing.
This year's 14 recipients are drawn exclusively from Chicago's diverse arts and culture community in order to strengthen the city's vibrant cultural life and underscore the Foundation's commitment to its hometown.
"These superbly imaginative organizations exemplify Chicago's thriving arts and culture community, which is vibrant and economically vital to the region," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. "Support for these diverse and leading organizations reflects our enduring commitment to Chicago and to its cultural life that enriches us all."
According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. For these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur's core programs.
Each year, MacArthur supports more than 300 arts and culture group in Chicago, awarding more than $10 million in grants, mostly through general operating support. Additional information about this year's MacArthur Awards is at macfound.org/MacAward.