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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 ten seasons, the Theater’s original group of 12 resident companies has grown to include 35 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.
The Harris Theater is committed to advancing access to and appreciation of the performing arts for Chicago residents of all ages and communities through the Family Series, Eat to the Beat lunchtime series, and engagement programs. Through the Access Tickets Program and arts education initiatives, the Harris Theater has provided over 7,300 complimentary tickets to 36 schools, community arts organizations and health and human services partners working with under-served constituencies. The Theater also provides opportunities for children, teens and families to connect with the world-class artists who appear on the Harris stage through master classes, artist discussions and other enrichment activities.