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Artists & Elders Digital Gallery

After Court Theatre’s production of The Lady from the Sea closed due to COVID-19, Court teamed up with the Experimental Performance Initiative, Lady from the Sea choreographer Erika Chong Shuch and her colleagues from For You to connect ten artists with ten elders in Chicago. Drawing on dramaturgy from director Shana Cooper’s vision for the play, these artists looked for beacons of hope in their connections with strangers. As a form of creative mutual aid, this project offered artists and elders the chance to connect while sheltering in place, create an artistic exchange in the spirit of gift-giving and inspire new forms of distant socializing.

On December 10, 2020, we hosted a virtual conversation to mark the culmination of our collaboration with For You on Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift. Speakers at the online event offered insight and stories from their time collaborating on Artists & Elders. Featured speakers and topics included Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson discussing his work expanding community engagement at Court; Sarah Curran on the Experimental Performance Initiative at University of Chicago; Ryan Tacata and Rowena Richie from For You; Shana Cooper on how artists are shifting roles to meet the current moment; and several participants reflecting on their creative process.

View the Conversation

Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift Digital Gallery

Sheldon Brown & Larry Wolf

Ben LaMar Gay & Sophia Watson

Darling Shear & Efé McWorter

Emily Hooper Lansana & Shaila Small

Christopher Mad Dog Thomas & Brenda Butler

Kelvin Roston Jr. & Delia Jolly Gray

Michael Pogue & Karen I. Hirsch

Mark Jeffery, Kevin J. Shannon, & Sarah E. Lauzen

Kelli Simpkins & Vanissa James

Melissa DuPrey, Gina & Karl Freed

As A Lighthouse

For You

Erika Chong Shuch, Rowena Richie, & Ryan Tacata

Court Theatre

Shana Cooper, Director, The Lady from the Sea
Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director
Charlie Newell, Artistic Director
Aaron Mays, Community Programs Manager
Kelcie Beene, Associate Production Manager
Becca McCracken, Casting Director
Ron OJ Parson, Resident Artist
Brent Ervin-Eickhoff, Associate Director of Marketing for Content Creation

University of Chicago Experimental Performance Initiative

Sarah Curran, Curator

Hyde Park Art Center

Gregory Smith, Director of Partnerships


Sheldon D. Brown
Brenda Butler
Melissa DuPrey
Gina Freed
Benjamin Lamar Gay
Delia Gray
Karen Hirsch
Vanissa James
Mark Jeffrey
Emily Hooper Lansana
Sarah Lauzen
Efé McWorter
Michael Pogue
Kelvin Roston Jr.
Darling Shear
Kelli Simpkins
Shaila Small
Christopher Mad Dog Thomas
Sophia Watson
Larry Wolf

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