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Goodman Theatre's Alice Rapoport Center For Education And Engagement Is Now Complete

Goodman Theatre's Alice Rapoport Center For Education And Engagement Is Now Complete Goodman Theatre proudly announces the completed expansion of its Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement-a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified, 10,000 square-foot community arts center in the heart of downtown Chicago, accessible within the Goodman facility. Designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects with Lead Architect Chris-Annemarie Spencer, the Alice Center is the new home for the Goodman's myriad programs for youth, educators and lifelong learners. Newly-opened spaces-the Northern Trust Lab, Efroymson and Hamid Family Lobby, Sabl Conference Room and a library, kitchen and restroom facilities, including one gender-neutral restroom, funded by Linda Hutson-join the Clifford Family Lobby, Roger and Julie Baskes Rotunda, Walter Family Foundation Lab and Pritzker Foundation I.T. Hub. Prince Charitable Trusts/Patrick and Meredith Wood Prince are the Supporters of LEED Certification in the Alice. Chicago civic leader Michael Sachs named the Center in honor of his late wife, Alice B. Rapoport-a Goodman Trustee and 15-year champion of the theater's Education and Engagement outreach efforts.

Audiences can experience the Alice Center this weekend with a free discussion in conjunction with Robert Falls' production of An Enemy of the People. "Arts in Action: The Future of Chicago's Waters" with David St. Pierre of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) takes place tomorrow (Saturday, April 7) at 5pm. Like the Norwegian spa town in Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Chicago's water supply is a vital natural resource and a major economic engine. St. Pierre retraces the history of water in Chicago and describes the cutting edge technologies and zero-waste practices that MWRD is developing to manage and protect the region's water supply into the future.

"As Chair of the Goodman Board of Trustees, I could not be more proud than to see the completion of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement," said David Fox, President, Global Family and Private Investment Offices of Northern Trust. "Northern Trust has been a dedicated supporter of the Goodman for more than three decades, with a focus on community and education. We are very pleased to have supported this project, and to name a space that will be so well utilized by those who participate in the Goodman's programs. It also gives me great pleasure to acknowledge my predecessor, Immediate Past Chair Joan Clifford, who led the fundraising campaign to build the Alice Center. All of us at the Goodman are grateful for her leadership, and also for the generosity of her and her husband, Robert Clifford, and the generosity of all the donors to this campaign."

The Alice Center launches the next phase in the Goodman's decades-long commitment to using its art towards a better Chicago. All of the programs for youth, educators and lifelong learners are funded by contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals, offered year-round and free of charge. An estimated eighty-five percent of the Goodman's youth program participants come from underserved communities.

"Of our many achievements, on stage and off, none is more important to me than the tremendous impact the Goodman has made through our Education and Engagement programs," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "Under the leadership of artist, educator and activist Willa J. Taylor, these experiential and training opportunities flourish."

Taylor and her team aim to build models of innovative artist/community partnerships to better understand how arts and culture can contribute to community problem-solving and growth-from violence prevention to the quality of schools.

"We subscribe to the idea of arts as education-using the tools of our profession to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices," said Walter Director of Education and Engagement Willa J. Taylor. "In partnership with schools, our focus on professional development with teachers hones their abilities to activate student learning. With both adults and youth, our exploration of authentic voice leads to conversations about identity and commonalities in shared experience."

New partnerships the Alice Center enables include "Disney Musicals in Schools" (DMIS), an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced elementary schools. The Goodman partners with five Chicago public elementary schools, who receive performance rights to a Disney musical of their choice, at no cost. Selected schools include: Gillespie Elementary School (Chatham) performing The Lion King KIDS; Mozart Elementary School (Logan Square) performing Aladdin KIDS; Providence Englewood Charter School (Englewood) performing The Lion King KIDS; William G. Hibbard Elementary School (Albany Park) performing 101 Dalmatians KIDS and Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School (Pilsen) performing Aladdin KIDS.

In addition, the Alice Center allows the Goodman to deepen and expand existing programming-such as Stage Chemistry, the Goodman's STEM standards-based curriculum; Musical Theater Intensive, a summer skills development program for the "Broadway starts of tomorrow;" GeNarrations, an adult personal narrative performance piece program; and its flagship School Matinee Series.

"Envisioned as a space that quietly underscores the natural world in the heart of the city, the design of the Alice Center supports artistic development by giving users license to explore, expand and empower through the transformative processes of the theater arts," said Lead Architect Chris-Annemarie Spencer of Wheeler Kearns Architects. "A modern aesthetic and neutral palette-reflective of Alice Rapoport's connection to nature and love for the outdoors-allows theatrical activity to color the spaces."

Spencer, Jamaican by birth, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in architectural studies from the Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of Technology in 1998. Shortly after receiving her degree, her family relocated to Massachusetts and in 2001 she moved to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. During her studies, Spencer spent a semester in Rome studying historical design and its application to contemporary design. During graduate school, she interned at Xavier Vendrell Studio and Worn Jerabek Architects working on single family residences and landscape projects. Before graduating in 2004 with a Masters Degree of architecture, she was awarded several design and academic merit scholarships, a teaching assistantship position and was nominated for the SOM and Schiff Foundation fellowships. In 2004, she was awarded the Martin Roche Fellowship for Independent Study which allowed her to travel to and continue her studies of urban and housing strategies for South African cities. Spencer has served as project architect for renovations of residences in Glencoe and Chicago. She recently completed an award-winning project for Inspiration Kitchens and the Chicago region's only high school for students with learning differences. In 2008, Spencer and her husband Grant Gibson, an architect at Garafolo Architects won third place in the White House Redux Competition. In 2012, she was recognized as a local innovator by the Chicago Urban League during their Economic Empowerment Summit. Most recently, she received the 2015 AIA Chicago Dubin Family Young Architect Award. Currently she is Project Architect for a new Noble Charter High School and the Chicago Urban League.

Wheeler Kearns Architects is devoted to a critical pursuit and practice of architecture. We believe in the search for spaces which define a full, rich and dignified life. Kept purposefully small, our office endeavors to focus attention on every detail throughout a project, no matter how small. Exercising this discipline is essential to the creation of architecture. Relying on the participatory atmosphere of a studio, our process involves clients, engineers, consultants and contractors in the development of structures which respond to desire, function and budget. After devoting our efforts to finding the "emotional center" of a project early on, we collaborate to develop solutions that reinforce it. Simple, direct solutions are held in high esteem. Our work ranges in scale and type; from the design of a door lever to a theater arts center for a college; from an elementary school to an indoor ice rink; from a children's museum to a painter's studio. Our work includes residences of various scales, programs and budgets for all walks of life. We remain committed to the optimistic pursuit of architecture in the design of buildings, interiors, landscapes, furniture and urban design to ensure the realization of unified projects, regardless of their magnitude.

ABOUT Goodman Theatre

AMERICA'S "BEST REGIONAL THEATRE" (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater's artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls' productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson's "American Century Cycle" and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman's Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater's ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago's cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family's legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth's family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre's Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women's Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

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