Who We Are

HCL STAFF

SHARON HOYER

SHARON HOYER

DIRECTOR

Sharon is a Chicago-based writer, manager, maker and dancer, who brings a decade of experience at the helm of the Dill Pickle Food Co-op, a consumer-owned cooperative in the City of Chicago. In 2017, Sharon led the co-op's successful expansion/relocation to a facility ten times the size of the original store, coordinating financing, design, construction, community input and partnerships, marketing, store setup and staffing for the project. Sharon also serves as the Dance Editor for Newcity Magazine, covering Chicago's vibrant dance, movement-based and performance art scene for the last 15 years.

SHARON HOYER

DIRECTOR

YOLANDA CURSACH

YOLANDA CURSACH

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Yolanda is an Independent Curator of contemporary theater, dance and music and has earned recognition for her leadership and insight during her recent tenures as Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and service as panelist and advisor for various agencies. Her work is constitutionally defined by a sustained interest in the diversity of cultural practices in the US and abroad and commitment to equity. She is a nationally recognized knowledge leader about theater and dance artists in Ibero-Latin America, Northern and Southern Europe, and North and Central Africa. She has served as Chair of Programming and Structure of the Chicago Bodies of Work International Festival of Disability Arts and Culture and is a Facilitator for Forward Dialogues, a program for emerging artists at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (2017-2019); U.S. Curator and Tour Producer for Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

YOLANDA CURSACH

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

Co-Chair

For more than a decade, Kevin Simmons has worked in Chicago and abroad as a program strategist, project designer, and consultant for diverse cultural, environmental, and philanthropic initiatives. A former AmeriCorps*VISTA member and Site Director for LIFT, he studied housing and education policy at Princeton University, Russian language and Slavic literature at the Nevsky Institute in St. Petersburg, holds a certificate in Conservation Finance from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, and is an NAI-certified interpretive guide and naturalist. Institutions for which he has worked in development, communications, or program management capacities include the UNDP/Global Environment Facility, Audubon Society, ANAI, ArtBasel (Basel), and the BioMuseo, in collaboration Frank Gehry, Bruce Mau, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). He is a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and serves on the boards of Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak, Opera Omnia, and is the Board Chair of Opera Cabal.

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

Co-Chair

PETER TAUB

PETER TAUB

Co-Chair

Peter Taub is a curator and arts manager with over 30 years of experience in developing and producing artist-centered projects. Currently working on a project basis, he was the founding director of the performing arts program at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 1996 – 2016. He steered its development as a leading presenter of multidisciplinary dance, theater and music, and established the MCA Stage New Works Initiative to support artists with creative residencies and commissions. He cofounded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum to support artistic exploration and advancement for Chicago-based choreographers, and as executive director of Randolph Street Gallery, he led its growth into a nationally recognized artist-run center.

PETER TAUB

Co-Chair

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Secretary

Angelique Grandone is an arts manager focusing on contemporary circus on the stage and in the streets. With a background in theatre making and social justice, she draws upon skills acquired in a wide variety of settings including work as a performer, a doula, a health educator, a community organizer and a production manager. She currently works with the Chicago Park District as the Program and Event Coordinator for Theatre and Performing Arts and the Managing Director of Theater on the Lake Summer Theater Festival.

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Secretary

ROBYN TREM

ROBYN TREM

Treasurer

Robyn is a Researcher at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2015 as an assistant to its Arts and Culture in Chicago program, before joining the Research Team in early 2016. Her work and research has focused on overcoming racism and inequity, with a focus in the arts. Previously, Robyn served as grants manager for INTUIT: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, an arts organization that works to break down the traditional boundaries of art. Robyn is a Steering Committee member of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Chicago Chapter, and the Secretary of the Board of Directors for High Concept Labs. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds a master's degree from the University of Chicago. Robyn is a life-long student of the arts.

ROBYN TREM

Treasurer

Linnea Carlson

Linnea Carlson

Linnea is the Front Office Manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Over more than six years with the Four Seasons, she has worked Front Desk, Reservations, and Housekeeping at properties in Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, and Whistler, and helped open the property in Anguilla. Linnea started the Women in Leadership group at the Dallas property before bringing the initiative to Chicago. She has a B.A. from Carleton College, where she double majored in Economics and Art. There, her studio practice included woodworking and film photography. Today, Linnea continues to enjoy photography and exploring Chicago.

Linnea Carlson

Kimberly Davis

Kimberly Davis

Kimberly Davis has more than 18 years experience as a movement practitioner, dance instructor and dance administrator and has written the curriculum for several dance studios in the Chicago area. As Director of various dance departments, Davis has served as Artistic Director and Executive Producer of programs serving more than 1000 students weekly, multiple performance groups, pre-professional theatrical productions encompassing casts of more than 100 actors, and numerous special events and she also has performed with Prairie Spirits Dance Theater and Valerie Alpert Dance Company (VADCO). Davis is currently writing her dissertation to complete her Doctorate of Philosophy from The Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a Master of Science from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College of Missouri. Currently, she is the Director of Education and the Program Manager for Dance & Movement at the Old Town School of Folk Music, the largest community school of the arts in the nation.

Kimberly Davis

JENNIFER NEIMAN

JENNIFER NEIMAN

Astellas Pharma

Jennifer brings to HCL’s Board more than 15 years of commercial experience spanning marketing, market research, strategic planning and forecasting. Currently, she leads U.S marketing for a new cancer drug for a global pharmaceutical company. Jennifer has a MBA from Columbia University, a MS from Northwestern University and a BA from the University of Michigan. She has been a lifelong participant in the arts.

JENNIFER NEIMAN

Astellas Pharma

Janet Weiss

Janet Weiss

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (former)

Janet is a highly accomplished marketing and branding executive, with over twenty years of experience developing successful campaigns and strategies for cultural, art and entertainment organizations. Janet has extensive non-profit experience, including as the Head of Marketing for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where she oversaw branding, ad creative, media planning, marketing partnerships, sponsorship, special events and digital/mobile and social media. During her tenure, Janet led an organization-wide rebranding of the Academy, launched the Academy's social and digital platforms, generated millions of dollars in new revenue streams and increased total Oscar® viewership. Prior to joining the Academy, Janet developed a national branding and corporate sponsorship program for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and their 200+ member zoos and aquariums throughout North America. Throughout her career, Janet has produced successful marketing campaigns for a wide range of programs and properties, across all consumer marketing channels. She is currently consulting for a number of media and entertainment clients, providing marketing strategy and business development. A native of Chicago, Janet studied filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and began her career in film production before turning her attention to marketing. Janet recently relocated to her hometown, where she lives with her husband, who is a musician and composer.

Janet Weiss

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (former)

Izabella Redsisz

Izabella Redsisz

Melvin J. Mayster & Co. Floral Nightshade Design

Izabella is an attorney currently practicing at a private firm in the areas of tax and estate planning. She earned a certificate in Art and Museum Law from the DePaul University College of Law, where her studies focused particularly on authentication and repatriation. During her time at DePaul, Izabella wrote for and edited the Journal of Art, Technology, and Intellectual Property Law. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Film studies. As a second job, Izabella co-owns Nightshade Floral Design, where she is able to exercise her creative side by designing floral arrangements for events all around the Chicago area.

Izabella Redsisz

Melvin J. Mayster & Co. Floral Nightshade Design

ARTISTIC ADVISORY COUNCIL

High Concept Labs’ Artistic Advisory Council (AAC) is composed of an experienced panel of arts practitioners, critics, writers, and thinkers who work with our staff to guide the artistic direction of our programs. The AAC is instrumental in the selection and growth of the Sponsored Artist Program, making HCL a prime resource for artists who lack the support structures of Chicago’s larger cultural institutions. Council members also recommend artists to the program, devise creative methods and partnerships, and support occasional large-scale creative projects. The AAC provides invaluable contributions in support of HCL’s mission to support working artists and audiences.

ELIZA BANGERT

ELIZA BANGERT

Music

Flutist Eliza Bangert is an orchestral player, chamber musician, and new music interpreter. She's a member of the Southwest Michigan and South Bend symphony orchestras as well as the Chicago Philharmonic, and freelances with many other Chicago-area orchestras, including the CSO and the Grant Park Symphony. Since 2012 Eliza has been a core member of a.pe.ri.od.ic, which took part in the High Concept Labs Sponsored Artist program in the fall of 2016. She has also performed with the Palomar Ensemble, International Chamber Artists, Fonema Consort, and Ensemble Dal Niente.

ELIZA BANGERT

Music

MEGHAN MOE BEITIKS

MEGHAN MOE BEITIKS

Video, Performance, Installation

Meghan Moe Beitiks works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that examines relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation. She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied playwriting, acting, movement and scenic design. She has an MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Bio Art, Social Practice, Environmental Chemistry, and performance methodologies. She has presented work in California, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia, Australia and Russia. She has been a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, an OxBow LeRoy Neiman Fellow, a Bemis Artist in Residence, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s recipient for the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.

MEGHAN MOE BEITIKS

Video, Performance, Installation

MAJEL CONNERY

MAJEL CONNERY

Music

Majel Connery is co-founder and Executive & Artistic Director of Opera Cabal, an arts think tank for the conjunction of academic and creative work on opera. Connery is a scholar, vocalist, actress, and stage director, and has performed with Opera Cabal and other ensembles. Current and recent collaborations include the world stage premiere of G.F. Haas’s ATTHIS with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (The Kitchen); Hong Kong Graft, co-created with Ken Ueno and Thomas Tsang (recently presented by High Concept Labs); stage direction for Kurt Rohde’s Death With Interruptions; Hecuba and Passionate Pilgrim, albums in progress co-created with Alexander Overington and Oracle Hysterical (Doug and Brad Balliett, and Elliot Cole); and the recent commission of a new opera by Sarah Kirkland Snider for Shara Worden. As a scholar, Connery holds degrees from Princeton University and from the University of Chicago. She recently served as Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, where she was also a fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and at the Art Research Center. Connery is pleased to serve on the Artistic Advisory Council for High Concept Labs, which has headquartered many of Opera Cabal’s past and current commissions, including works by Caroline Shaw, Lewis Nielson, Elliot Cole, Phyllis Chen, Ken Ueno, Teddy Rankin-Parker, and Alexander Overington.

MAJEL CONNERY

Music

Jenn Freeman

Jenn Freeman

Dance

Hell bent on creating a repertoire that sparked conversations regarding notions of gender, sexual prowess, and race, Jenn Freeman made her debut as burlesque artist Po’Chop in 2010. With over a decade of dance training including studying at Columbia College Chicago, Po'Chop uses elements of dance, storytelling, and striptease to create performances that are described by Chicago critics as "...the most provocative symbol of might onstage...It was as if Po'Chop had captured lightning in a bottle and the bottle was herself." Since Po's debut she has seared across many US stages. From New Orleans, New York, where she performed at the Brooklyn Museum in Brown Girls Burlesque’s Bodyspeak, and St. Louis. Though any opportunity to perform is met with an indescribable ferocity, Po' relishes and considers being a Jeezy Juke Joint board member and creating and performing, Chicago Reader Recommended, Black As Eye Wanna Be career highlights. Po’Chop has been a recipient of the Chances Dances Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant, a participant in the 2016 RDDI Chicago Dance Lab, and a recent CO-Mission resident at Links Hall CO-Mission. Needless to say, Po’Chop is the meat so, sweet even vegetarians want to take a bite!

Jenn Freeman

Dance

Sarah Frye

Sarah Frye

Dance, Theater

Sarah Frye is Programs Manager at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC), a service organization that provides board and management support to local nonprofit arts and cultural groups. In her role at A&BC, she is responsible for forging institutional partnerships, consulting with clients, training consultants, developing core programs, setting strategic goals and evaluating program success. Sarah has been at A&BC since 2014, first as a Programs Assistant, then as Coordinator and now in her current position. She has experience in many sectors, formerly working in Government Affairs at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. She received her B.A. from Southern Illinois University with a major in Political Science and a post-baccalaureate degree in Dance at Columbia College Chicago. Sarah is a children’s dance teacher, avid reader, fearless traveler, arts advocate and lover of nature.

Sarah Frye

Dance, Theater

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

Performance

Mark Joseph Jeffery currently serves as Assistant Professor, Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jeffery co-founded and directs Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r), a collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance and emerging technologies. The work is concerned with revealing the reality of the computationally mediated body and in foregrounding queer histories of computing. Jeffrey has exhibited internationally, including Nightjar/Lincoln Performing Arts Center, UK; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Landmark, Bergen, Norway; Performance Studies International, Zagreb, Croatia; National Review Live Art, Glasgow; House World Culture, Berlin; Eurokaz, Zagreb, Croatia; Venice Biennale. Jefferey holds a BA in Visual Performance, 1994, Dartington College of Arts.

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

Performance

DAMON LOCKS

DAMON LOCKS

Visual Arts, Music

Damon Locks is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The Art Institute in Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. He teaches with art as a part of Prisons and Neighborhood Arts Project as well as ArtReach Chicago. Damon has done sound design for theater as a part of Free Street Theater. He is a 2015 recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and participated in The New Quorum music residency in New Orleans. He was a 2016 MAKER Grant awardee and a 2017 Soros Justice Fellowship recipient. He is currently a part of the Hyde Part Art Center’s Public-Engaged Residency as well as an artist with the SPACE program through the Museum of Contemporary Arts, introducing civically engaged art into the curriculum at the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy.

DAMON LOCKS

Visual Arts, Music

MEIDA MCNEAL

MEIDA MCNEAL

Performance

Meida McNeal is an Independent Artist and Scholar of performance studies, dance and critical ethnography. Dr. McNeal works with the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager supporting partnerships and programming initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers. She is also faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education. Recent performance projects with Honey Pot Performance (Sponsored Artists at High Concept Labs in 2014) include The Ladies Ring Shout, The Sweet Goddess Project, Price Point, and Juke Cry Hand Clap: A People’s History of House & Chicago Social Culture. HPP’s newest work, Ma(s)king Her, will premiere in April 2016 at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and is supported through residencies with the Arts & Public Life Initiative/University of Chicago and Propeller Fund.

MEIDA MCNEAL

Performance

JULIA A. MILLER

JULIA A. MILLER

Music

Julia A. Miller is a guitarist, composer, improvisor, sound artist, visual artist, curator, and educator. In 2013, Julia received the Meier Achievement Award, an unrestricted grant given for the work of a significant mid­career artist. Since 2014, Julia Miller and Volcano Radar have collaborated with painter Lewis Achenbach on multiple iterations of his Jazz Occurrence Series. In 2015, Julia initiated the Art of the Guitar concert series. Art of the Guitar spans the history of the modern guitar and related instruments from the Renaissance to the present, with a particular focus on the avant­ garde. Art of the Guitar is particularly concerned with a synthesis of styles and techniques, and cross pollination. Julia is pleased to serve on the Curatorial Board of the Ragdale Foundation and on the Advisory Board for High Concept Labs. Julia is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and is Guitar Professor at Carthage College in Kenosha. Julia received a DMA in composition from Northwestern University in 2005.

JULIA A. MILLER

Music

STEPHAN MOORE

STEPHAN MOORE

Music, Sound

Stephan Moore's creative work is primarily concerned with the creation and perception of sonic environments, encompassing practices in field recording, physical programming, studio production, audio spatialization, loudspeaker construction and interactive software design, manifesting as sound installations, sound designs and scores for dance and theater productions, solo and group performance works and improvisations, and recordings. As a musician and sound engineer, he toured with the Merce Cunningham Dance company from 2004 to 2010. He was given a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for his score to choreographer Yanira Castro’s Dark Horse/Black Forest, and a 2013 nomination for his score to The People To Come. He is the President of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, a member of the Wingspace Design Collective, and an active curator, most recently of the exhibition In the Garden of Sonic Delights at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. Moore holds an MFA in Electronic Art from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D in Electronic Music and Multimedia Composition from Brown University.

STEPHAN MOORE

Music, Sound

SETH PARKER WOODS

SETH PARKER WOODS

Music

Critiqued as “a cellist of power and grace” (The Guardian) and possessing “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” Seth Parker Woods has established a reputation as a versatile artist straddling several genres. Outside of solo performances, he has performed with the Chineke! Orchestra (UK), Ictus Ensemble (Brussels, BE), Ensemble L’Arsenal (IT), zone Experimental (CH) Basel Sinfonietta (CH), New York City Ballet, Ensemble LPR and Orchestra of St. Luke's (US). A fierce advocate for contemporary arts, he has collaborated and worked with a wide range of artists from the likes of Louis Andriessen, Elliott Carter, Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann, and Liza Lim to Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lou Reed, Dame Shirley Bassey, Rachael Yamagata, as well as visual/performance artists Ron Athey, Vanessa Beecroft, Aldo Tambellini, Jack Early and Adam Pendleton. Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Huddersfield, his principal teachers were Thomas Demenga, Lucas Fels, Frederik Zlotkin, and Daniel Morganstern. In recent years he has given talks, workshops and performances at Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms), Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain (FR), Le Poisson Rouge and the Bohemian National Hall (USA), Cafe OTO (London, UK), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Klang Festival (Durham, UK), INTER/ actions Symposium (Wales), ICMC-SMS Conference (Athens, GR), NIME Conference (London), Sound and Body Festival (Lille, Brussels), Instalakcje Festival (PL), Virgin

SETH PARKER WOODS

Music

VERSHAWN SANDERS-WARD

VERSHAWN SANDERS-WARD

Dance

Vershawn Sanders-Ward is a movement artivist, Founder and Artistic Director of Red Clay Dance Company based in Chicago, IL. A native of Chicago, Sanders-Ward holds a MFA in Dance from New York University and is the first BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been presented at festivals in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Kalamazoo, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, Toronto, Dakar, and Kampala. She is a 2017 Dance/USA Leadership Fellow, a 2013 3Arts awardee and recipient of a 2009 Choreography Award from Harlem Stage NYC for the creation of her solo work, “New World Afrikan”, which premiered at the Dance Transmissions Festival in Kampala, Uganda. She has served as an adjunct faculty member, facilitated residencies, and received choreographic commissions from Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Knox College, City Colleges of Chicago, AS220, and the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda. In 2018 & 2015, NewCity Magazine selected Ward as one of the “Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago”. Vershawn proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Enrich Chicago, a group of arts organizations and foundations that have made racial equity in the arts their primary focus. She is very pleased to be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of her company in their 2018-2019 season where she will premiere two new evening length works!

VERSHAWN SANDERS-WARD

Dance

KEMPE SCANLAN

KEMPE SCANLAN

Visual Art

As an accomplished designer, sculptor, and business owner, Kempe Scanlan seeks to address issues at the intersection of human behavior and empowerment through product design. He’s the president of KEMPE Clothing, a line of performance wear focused on healthy ways of gender expression for those who find themselves outside of the gender binary of male and female. He’s worked in marketing and nonprofit in Boston, publishing in Charleston, and conceptual design in Chicago. Kempe has a degree in economics from Skidmore College, and a master of design in designed objects from The School at the Art Institute of Chicago. He is from South Carolina and New York, but now calls the Windy City home.

KEMPE SCANLAN

Visual Art

Molly Shanahan

Molly Shanahan

Dance

Molly Shanahan is the Artistic Director of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, the Chicago-based company she founded in 1994 to support her research in choreography, performance, and collaboration. Through her career, Molly has developed a distinctively fluid vocabulary with a singular purpose: to find and express the most unbridled of inner impulses. She continues to deepen and hone her singular approach to movement and the body, which feeds her multi-modal collaborations and the public performance of her solo and ensemble dances. Shanahan's "trademark organicism" – equal parts movement laboratory, curiosity think-tank and spiritual practice – proceeds from getting lost in the wilderness of matter, imagery, and psyche, and creating a pathway of memory and relationship to find the way home. Shanahan's recent projects emphasized the capacity to be emotionally and kinetically raw in performance of both improvised and composed dances. The series tapped into the profound alchemical phenomenon of the audience/performer relationship. Molly is the recipient of two National Performance Network Creation Fund Awards, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, and an Illinois Arts Council fellowship for choreography, among others. Her critically-acclaimed evening-length solo My Name is a Blackbird was listed as one of the "top ten dance moments of the decade" by TimeOut Chicago. Shanahan was included in New City's 2010 feature "The Players, 50 people who really perform for Chicago: "dis

Molly Shanahan

Dance

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

Dance

Zachary Whittenburg spent ten years as a professional dancer with companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BJM Danse Montréal, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He then returned to Chicago to work as a freelance performer, choreographer, and teacher. As a reporter and critic, Whittenburg has written for numerous print and online publications, contributes regularly to Dance Magazine, is a panelist and guest speaker, and tweets @trailerpilot about contemporary culture and the performing arts. He returned to Hubbard Street in 2012 as manager of communication, currently represents the company on the Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium (CDF), is a member of the executive committee for the Chicago Dance History Project, and has hosted Cultural Conversations and CDF Works in Progress at High Concept Labs.

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

Dance