The exciting richness and diversity of the arts are found throughout Chicago. They entertain us, stimulate our imagination, and challenge our perceptions. The arts reflect the many distinct heritages and ambitions of Chicago’s residents.
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation works to sustain the arts and cultural activities that already exist, and provide support and encouragement for new generations of art makers and for new artistic and cultural expression. We focus our funding on some of the smallest organizations in the city, understanding that, along with being the most financially challenged groups in the art world, these organizations provide a training ground for new and emerging talent.
While a significant portion of our arts funding supports performing arts organizations, we fund across artistic disciplines including both organizations, mostly for general operating support, and individual artists. Since 2002, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has contributed the funding for a generous portion of our arts and culture grant making. All of MacArthur’s funding support organizations that reside in the Chicago metropolitan area. The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation makes grants to small arts organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $500,000. It funds dance, music, theater, visual and media arts, literary arts, interdisciplinary arts, special projects, museums, and service, policy or advocacy groups. The Small Theater & Dance Funding Program (underwritten by both the MacArthur and Driehaus foundations) contributes to professional theater and dance companies with budgets of less than $150,000. These small and timely grants give professionals the chance to create dance and theater when they might otherwise have little support to do so. Another MacArthur supported program--the PAV Fund-primarily seeks to help small and mid-sized theaters and performance spaces meet the City of Chicago’s licensing code; the PAV Fund also helps dance companies improve the quality and safety of their dance floors.
Finally, MacArthur Foundation funding helps us to support the professional development of both artistic and administrative staff of our grant recipients.
Our attention to museums stems from our interest in historic preservation and landmarks. We believe that museums can be powerful forums in which to learn from history and engage in conversation about current issues. We make grants, usually through coalitions and alliances, to encourage programming designed to broaden civic participation in cultural and site museums.