Tarell Alvin McCraney Set as Keynote Speaker for Arts Alliance Illinois' Benefit Luncheon, 6/2

Tarell Alvin McCraney Set as Keynote Speaker for Arts Alliance Illinois' Benefit Luncheon, 6/2

The second annual Arts Alliance Illinois "Voices of a Creative State" benefit luncheon features MacArthur Fellow and American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney as the keynote speaker on Monday, June 2, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago (17 E. Monroe). Celebrating the powerful role that the arts can and should play in the civic life of Illinois, the benefit will also honor long-time arts supporters Richard and Susan Kiphart with the Citizen Advocate Award in recognition of their vision and civic leadership in providing heightened visibility to the value of the arts.

The annual luncheon-led by Honorary Co-Chairs David Hawkanson, Executive Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company and last year's Citizen Advocate Award honoree Fay Hartog-Levin; Benefit Co-Chairs Ken Pigott and Sylvia Neil; and Event Planning Committee Chair Julie Schmidt-benefits Arts Alliance Illinois, the state's leading arts advocacy organization. In 2013, 500 creative, corporate, and civic leaders gathered together for an afternoon to celebrate the strength and diversity of Illinois' cultural sector. Proceeds from the event help Arts Alliance Illinois promote widespread support for the arts throughout the state. Some of the programs and initiatives that benefit from the luncheon include advocacy efforts in support of arts-friendly policy change, research on the economic impact of the state's arts and culture industry, and the development and implementation of policy improvement agenda to advance arts education access, equity and quality in Illinois.

At 32, Tarell Alvin McCraney can already add a list of titles and awards including MacArthur "Genius" to his name. Actor turned playwright, McCraney uses the written word to speak to others through a universal language-one of feeling and expression. McCraney understands the importance of not only the arts but of arts education and will speak about the responsibility of artists and arts organizations to connect with their communities and engage as active citizens.

"Growing up knowing that the arts are what gave me a true sense of community fueled my passion for not only creating influential work but instilling that sense of community and artistic expression in others, said Tarell Alvin McCraney. It's the arts that allow us to have an ongoing, open dialogue about the world we live in today. Arts Alliance Illinois continues to create and push innovative initiatives that fuel that ongoing conversation-helping to make Illinois one of the most thriving artistic states in the nation and perhaps the world."

The event will also feature the presentation of Arts Alliance Illinois' Citizen Advocate Award, to Richard and Susan Kiphart. Presenting the award will be President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia College Chicago Kwang-Wu Kim, D.M.A.

"It is impossible to separate the arts from the holistic process of becoming human, said Richard and Susan Kiphart. "All people - and certainly all children - need, deserve, and must have access to the arts. That is why we support Arts Alliance Illinois and thank them for all they have done to promote the arts in our state. We are honored by this recognition and in turn honor all those who bring the arts to the people."

The benefit begins at 11:30 am with a VIP networking reception in the Red Lacquer Room. At noon, guests enter the Grand Ballroom for lunch and the benefit program.

Individual tickets are $350 with a limited supply of $150-level tickets available exclusively for artists, arts organizations staff and students. Sponsorship packages for tables of 10 start at $3,500. Reservations are strictly limited. To purchase tickets, tables and sponsorships, visit www.artsalliance.org/luncheon or call 312.855.3105 x13.

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