Audience Architects' Moving Canvas project. Photo by Philamonjaro

Chicago-based nonprofit dance service organization, Audience Architects, has announced the launch of Dance: A Moving Canvas, part of the multi-year Dance/USA national project, Engaging Dance Audiences: Round II (EDA), made possible with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Dance:A Moving Canvas features four live, interactive gallery showings of visual art and dance works augmented by audience participation, educational materials and lively post-event discussions.

For the new series, Audience Architects will serve as the lead project administrator, bolstered by supporting partnerships with the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC), and FlySpace, which will serve as lead choreographic collaborator. Audience Architects was awarded $54,000 to cultivate a group of 50-75 culturally curious participants and over the course of a year, enable them to deeply engage in the process of making dance through interactive gallery settings, web-based learning and post-performance conversation. Cultivated audience members include either volunteers for arts organizations as part of the A&BC Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) program, or, are visual arts fans and collectors as part of the CAC “Collectors Circle” membership program. By working with members of partner organizations who are demographically highly inclined towards dance appreciation, the program serves a core tenet of Audience Architect’s mission: to build dance audiences for the Chicago dance field.

“We are thrilled to work with such a terrific group of partner organizations for this program,” says Heather Hartley, executive director of Audience Architects. “Additionally, we are deeply grateful to Dance/USA and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for supporting a program that fosters experimentation, innovation and collaboration in audience building.”

Moving Canvaseventswill take place October 16, 2013, January 22, April 16, and June 4, 2014 at the Chicago Artists Coalition gallery, located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
At each Moving Canvasevent, a moderator will guide the dialogue between the choreographer and exhibiting visual artist about their processes, the work they are sharing that evening, and the similarities in the construction or content of both the visual and kinesthetic work. The participating visual artists will be selected via CAC’s Hatch project residency, which itself promotes experimentation and collaboration among emerging artists and curators. Short sections of the dance work will then be performed, followed by a conversation with participants comparing and contrasting the choreographic elements and aspects of the visual work.

A key point in each evening will come when audience members will have an opportunity to offer suggestions for changing the live work. Dance artists will have 15 minutes to respond, retool and then show a revised segment incorporating audience suggestions. By creating the opportunity to participate – in real time – in the choreographic process, organizers look to lift the veil that separates audiences from the act of making choreography, creating a greater understanding of the complexity and the exhilaration of dance-making.

Moving Canvasevents will be supported by Musings, a collection of educational material, videos, and critical essays, collected/edited by Chicago Tribune veteran chief dance critic Sid Smith. Material will be housed online on a dedicated section of the website and CAC’s Chicago Artist Resource (CAR) website (

For more information or for tickets to Dance: A Moving Canvas, visit

Audience Architects Presenting Dynamic "Moving Canvas"