Hope and resilience in the new year | January 2021 Newsletter

Happy New Year

Image is of Ranky Tanky performing the night before the inauguration. They are from the Lowcountry of South Carolina and their music is inspired by Gullah traditions.

Last week’s peaceful transfer of power in our nation’s capital buoyed our spirits for this new year. Celebratory poetry and music remind us of

the power of the arts to both unite and inspire us. The diversity of voices at the podium encourage us to broaden the narratives about the past, present, and future of our two regions, as we seek to do in our revised Collections strategy. And the new administration has identified our changing climate as a top priority, coinciding with our aspiration to elevate land conservation as a key component of resilience.

New board and staff updates
We welcomed two new members to our board of directors last year – Dan Ray in the Lowcountry and Mark Templeton in Chicago. Bios for both are on our website. In March we’ll be joined by Laura Gates in the Lowcountry.

And congratulations to our staff members, Ellen Placey Wadey in Chicago and Ame Holcombe in Charleston, who started the new year with promotions! Ellen is now Program Director for Chicago Artistic Vitality and Collections and Ame is now Lowcountry Program Associate. Their bios are on our website.

New technology
In the coming weeks, we are launching our new grantee portal, along with 2021 application and report forms. Current grantees will receive instructions by email on how to set up a new account from Susan Clark, our Director, Grants and Communications.

We have two proposal deadlines in 2021 – Friday, March 26 and Friday, July 30.

Virtual launch of our new Chicago Land Conservation strategy

Image from Metropolitan Planning Council of greenspace created from landfill near Beaubien Woods Cook County Forest Preserve.

Our new Chicago Land Conservation strategy and guidelines are now live on our website. Join us on February 11 for an hour-long virtual launch of the updated strategy, which aims to encourage and support a range of innovative organizations and programs furthering land conservation across the Chicago Wilderness region.

The strategy focuses on four key goals: protection and stewardship of both natural and working lands; integrating climate resiliency; advancing policy advocacy; and providing benefits to diverse communities throughout the region.

To attend the virtual launch, please RSVP here by February 8th. A recording of the webinar will be made available after the event.

Our next proposal deadline for both regions is Friday, March 26, 2021. Please reach out now to discuss any new proposal ideas – details and contact information here.

Broadening Narratives in the news

Image from the College of Charleston’s Documenting LGBTQ Life in the Lowcountry Project, dedicated to preserving and documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender histories in South Carolina.

Our new Broadening Narratives strategy for collections has launched, to support the following goals:

– More organizations promote diverse narratives through their collections
– More public engagement with a broader array of diverse narratives
– More collecting organizations are operationally stronger

In its recent article “Seeking More Diverse Collections, an Arts Funder Looks Beyond Museums and Libraries,” Inside Philanthropy discussed our expansive definition of collections and the collaborative process through which we developed the strategy.

For more information or to discuss proposal ideas for our Friday, March 26, 2021 deadline, please visit our website.


Art to see virtually or outdoors

a collage of seven rectangles each with different people's smiling faces in them

Image is from 2nd Story’s virtual fundraiser in September 2020 – “The Statement Piece”.

With access to venues restricted for the past 10 months, our approach has been to continue providing general operating and technical assistance support at the same levels as prior years to our arts organizations, regardless of production limitations. This list of virtual and outdoor offerings from arts organizations in the Chicago region and Lowcountry is updated regularly. We applaud their determined efforts not only to survive but to continue producing work and supporting artists.

Our next proposal deadline is Friday, March 26, 2021. New organizations should reach out to our respective program staff before applying. Guidelines and contact information for Chicago can be found here and here for the Lowcountry.



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