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Thought-Provokers: North Side

Chicago has always had an artistic soul. The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous debt to the arts community. Supporting local art is something we care deeply about and we’d like to do everything we can to help the local arts community thrive. Unfortunately, too often media attention is monopolized by corporate interests and tabloid gossip – but culture doesn’t come from a focus on celebrity breakups it comes from a focus on the arts.

Below, you’ll find some incredible artists from in and around the North Side that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Hot Crowd

Hot Crowd is a young, modern dance company that formed in January 2017 by Founder/Artistic Director Emily Ashburn. Creating her own dance company had been an aspiration of Ashburn’s for years and after exploring the Chicago dance scene, felt it was time to get busy creating something new. Read more>>

Max Bender

When I was a kid I used to draw all the time, a lot of it was pokemon. I would cover a whole notebook full of pokemon drawings. As I got older I explored painting and more finer illustrations but I never felt like I could do that as a job. Read more>>

Julianne Quaas, Jeff Mills, Egan Franke

When Julianne Q was halfway through her senior of college, she had a choice to make: follow her heart and pursue music, or follow the theatre path she had laid out for herself through her college career. She chose to follow the best advice ever given to her: “do what you would regret more not doing”. Read more>>

Melissa Ferrara

I’m not one of those people that were gifted a camera by a relative at a young age and destined to be a photographer when I grew up. I picked up photography as a hobby in college while working towards a degree in advertising. On top of the classes I took to gain the technical and compositional skills, I worked at a portrait studio and spent my free time taking photos of everything I could. Read more>>

Michelle Lytle

When I was in High School I had an amazing art teacher who turned me onto the works of Scott Mutter and Jerry Uelsmann. I had always liked capturing candid photos of people on my digital camera (which was new technology at the time) but I never considered it a serious career. Being exposed to these artists blended two of my interests (photography and Photoshop) and from there I started looking at attending an art school after I graduated. Read more>>

Shawn Finley

I’m originally from a small town in Ohio, where I grew up spending many hours writing and drawing comics and stories. Years later I attended art school in the suburbs of Chicago, and later moved into the big city to pursue a life as an artist. Read more>>

Forte Chicago , Susan Payne O’Brien, Sarah Bendix, Heidi Joosten

Forte Chicago began in February of 2015 when a group of female opera singers, a violinist and a cellist assembled to perform operatic improve for the Piven Theatre Workshop’s Improv Fest. The experiment revealed to us the joy of giving the female voice freedom inside of old forms. Read more>>

Cassandra Knox

Making art and writing helped me through many rough times in my early adolescence and teenage years. Art helped me keep focus, rather than be consumed by anything chaotic happening around me. Read more>>

Shaina Matos

I wasn’t the best student, I couldn’t do anything better than anyone else. One of my old time girlfriends broke me out of my shell, and finally got me behind the camera at a photoshoot. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and the opportunity that started my journey as a model. Read more>>

Dana Armstrong

I moved to Chicago from Arizona after completing my Master’s degree in Theatre Education and Outreach. I was working with a company here in Chicago for a few years when our boss took off with a whole lot of money in tuition, our salaries, and equipment. We found ourselves unemployed with a lot of disappointed students and parents looking to us. Read more>>

The Accidentals

We started performing around our hometown of Traverse City, MI, and after graduating high school in 2014 decided to jump pursue music as a career. Since then we’ve collaborated with orchestras, scored a film, arranged and recorded strings for some of our favorite artists, toured for 4 years, and recently released our 4th studio album and debut under Sony Masterworks! Read more>>

Genevieve Custer Weeks

Now that I am a part of introducing music and movement in general – and ballet specifically – to our young students at Tutu School, I still feel like that is the best way to describe what we do: We make a space in children’s lives where they too can climb inside of music, get lost in movement, and hopefully learn a great deal about themselves in the process. Read more>>

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