This morning, Albany Park Theater Project was named a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. All of us at APTP – the youth ensemble, alumni, staff, and board of directors – are honored and overjoyed to celebrate this monumental news with the friends, audience members, donors, and partners who have nurtured our creative community over the past 19 years.
Our MacArthur Award comes with a one-time grant of $400,000, the largest in our history. APTP will use its MacArthur Award to establish a reserve fund, ensuring the long-term stability of our mission as we approach our 20th anniversary in 2017.
We are also launching an Innovation Fund that will allow the youth artists of Albany Park Theater Project to envision and craft some of the most innovative creative journeys ever undertaken by a youth theater.
We refer to our APTP teens as distance travelers. In their years with APTP, they undertake transformational journeys through which they recognize their power, envision purposeful lives for themselves and a better world for all, and develop the skills to make their dreams a reality.
As artists, APTP youth also take their audiences – up to 10,000 of us each year – on transformational journeys into worlds beyond our own lived experience. We emerge inspired and invigorated and with greater understanding of the values, struggles, hopes and humanity of others. APTP audiences are also distance travelers.
With the MacArthur Award, APTP has the seed funding to embark on ambitious new journeys. In the year ahead, we’ll announce groundbreaking collaborations between our teen ensemble and some of our favorite local, national, and international artists. These collaborations will broaden the horizons of APTP youth and create audience experiences that reimagine what theater can be and the role the arts can play in society.
The MacArthur Foundation has presented the MacArthur Award annually since 2006 to organizations across the country and around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. You can’t apply for the MacArthur Award; like recipients of MacArthur’s famous “genius grants,” we received a call out of the blue telling us that we had been selected.
This year’s 14 MacArthur Award recipients are all drawn from Chicago’s arts and culture community. We could not be prouder to be included in such inspiring company, we congratulate our fellow awardees, and we look forward to the ways they will continue to contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of Chicago’s cultural life.
Most of all, today we are grateful. To the MacArthur Foundation for its investment in the imagination and vision of our youth. And to everyone who has embraced APTP’s mission during our first (almost) two decades.