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Harris Theater for Music and Dance
The Harris Theater’s mission is to partner with an array of Chicago’s emerging and mid-sized performing arts organizations to help them build the resources and infrastructure necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability. The Theater supports this mission by providing these partner organizations subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support, thus allowing the organizations to focus on what they do best – bringing the finest music and dance to the public.
Opened on November 8, 2003, the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park was the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the downtown Chicago area since 1929. Today, the non-profit theater features the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, hosting the city’s most acclaimed music and dance institutions as well as world-renowned national and international artists and ensembles through its Harris Theater Presents series.
A core component of the Harris Theater’s mission is to partner and collaborate with an array of Chicago’s emerging and mid-sized performing arts organizations to help them build the resources and capacity necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability. In addition to providing subsidized rental, technical expertise and marketing support, the Harris Theater also offers ongoing professional development opportunities to its resident companies, including the innovative Learning Lab Initiative, which was recently endorsed by the National Endowment for the Arts with an Access to Artistic Excellence grant.
In just nine seasons, the Theater’s original group of 12 resident companies has grown to include 40 diverse and exceptionally talented performing arts organizations. Through these partnerships the Harris Theater has earned national recognition as a unique model of collaboration between the philanthropic community, a performance venue, and its artistic community in residence.
Through the Harris Theater Presents series, the Theater has achieved widespread recognition as a vital cultural anchor in the city. Paris Opéra Ballet, Renée Fleming, Daniel Barenboim, San Francisco Ballet, Stephen Sondheim, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Lang Lang, the New York City Ballet and many other world renowned artists and ensembles have all graced the Harris’s stage through this series. The Harris Theater is committed to presenting internationally acclaimed music and dance organizations in order to maintain its reputation as a venue of growing importance as well as to help build audiences for the Theater’s resident companies.
Lastly, the Harris Theater maintains a commitment to community engagement for children, teens and adults. Programs are designed to advance the access to and the understanding of the performing arts for Chicago residents of all ages and communities and include the popular matinee Family Series and the lunchtime Eat to the Beat series. Collaborating with 30 health and human service agencies who work with underserved children and families coping with disabilities or life-threatening illnesses, the Harris Theater provides over 1,000 complimentary performance tickets through its Access Tickets Program each year. Additionally, through the Teen Arts Project the Theater partners with public and private schools and community-based arts organizations to provide teens with “behind the scenes” access to the world-class artists who perform at the Theater through master classes, artist discussions, and complimentary performance tickets.