Opera-Matic's events are produced with the help of countless Community Partners, Collaborators, Artists, Musicians, Technicians, and Volunteers, including:
Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Latin United Community Housing Association
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
Mozart Park Elementary
Chicago Park District
Illinois Arborist Association
En Las Tablas
West Town Bikes
Moos Elementary School
North-Grand High School
Lowell Elementary School Band
Block Club Federation
Friends and Fans of Maggie Martinez
Humboldt Park Advisory Committee
Current and Past Collaborating Artists:
Alejandro T. Acierto is an artist and musician that works with the breath as material and concept. He has performed and shown his work internationally including shows at the Film Society of the Lincoln Center in New York, Institute für Alles Mogliche in Berlin, MCA Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. He has completed residencies and programs at Skowhegan, VCCA, the Banff Centre, and HATCH Projects at CAC. He is currently a Center Program artist at Hyde Park Art Center and is a founding member of Ensemble Dal Niente. Acierto holds an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago, an MM from Manhattan School of Music, and a BM from DePaul University. alejandroacierto.com
Charly Barbera, director of Arawak'Opia, is a percussionist dedicated to Afro-Caribbean musical traditions. He has extensively studied the folkloric music of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia. He is also dedicated to preserving and developing these cultural art forms and bringing them to education programs in universities, schools, and community centers. Charly is a musician in several musical groups including Africaribe, EE, and Crystal Gravy.
Emmy Bean is a singer, theater artist and teacher living in Chicago. Recent performance work includes: Alice with Upended Productions, Baudelaire in a Box: The King of Rain with Theatre Oobleck, Rung with Curious Theater Branch, SOS: A Summer Clown Cruise with Theater Oobleck, The Carter Family Family Show with the Neo-Futurists, and Caught: The Woods with the Fifth House Ensemble. She writes songs and performs with Chris Schoen and T-Roy Martin in the trio 80 Foots Per Minute. Other performance work includes “Mary and Sarah and You and Me” with Naima Lowe, with appearances at the Parlor in Philadelphia and Judson Church in New York City, “The Long Christmas Ride Home” at Studio Theater in Washington DC; “The Snow Queen” at Sandglass Theater in Putney, VT; “Flood” and “Stiles Under Sky” with Company of Strangers. She has toured with Amanda Maddock’s play “Mrs. Wright’s Escape” and co-created the “Three Piggy Opera” at Links Hall in Chicago (with Barbara Whitney and Merrill Garbus). Since 2008, she has worked as an Associate Curator at the Great Small Works International Toy Theater Festival in New York City. She holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a B.A. in Religion from Vassar College, with a concentration in Music and Culture. Find out more at beansome.com.
Molly Brennan (Co-creator of POP WAITS) is an actor, singer and clown, playing the Red Queen in Lookingglass Theatre’s Lookingglass Alice, an Accessible Lesbian in The Second City’s American Mixtape and as Madam Barker in Red Tape’ Theatre’s The Life and Death of Madam Barker. Other credits include The Second City’s Guide to the Opera at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Peter Pan: A Play at Lookingglass Theatre, Animal Crackers at Goodman Theatre,Theatrical Essays at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and 500 Clown Macbeth and 500 Clown Frankenstein in multiple venues in Chicago and the United States. On the variety/cabaret/storytelling front, Molly has appeared at the Chicago Humanities Festival, MCA Chicago, Salonathon, Davenport’s, Followspot, The Paper Machete, and You’re Being Ridiculous. She has hosted The Moth Chicago and is a co-creator/curator of The Kinky Butch Witching Hour. Molly served as Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys for three years. Molly was named Chicago’s “Queen of Mischief and Make Believe” by American Theatre Magazine, February 2015. She’s also got a couple Jeff prizes for being an acting winner.
Mars Caulton is a lyricist, vocalist, and producer who sings rock, classical, and jazz, as well as spoken word. Her producing skills include beat-programming, field recording, mix/mastering, and a crazy love of found sound multi-tracking.
Robin Cline is a writer, educator, and performer, and is particularly interested in public participatory experiences. She was recently promoted to Executive Director of Opera-Matic, and also serves as the Assistant Director of NeighborSpace, where she plays a leadership role in creative stewardship development and implementation. She has developed systems that assist community land managers more effectively engage in their public space stewardship, such as resource attainment, creative community networking, and conflict management. She served on Chicago Wilderness' No Child Left Behind Education Committee for 5 years, where she developed and presented early childhood nature play workshops to environmental educators throughout the Chicago Region. She currently co-leads Opera-Matic's engagement initiatives for the 2016 season.
Alyssa Coyle is a production designer, a styling assistant with Silver Lining Digital, and freelance teaching artist/maker with Opera-Matic and others.
Laura Crotte, hailing from Mexico where she developed a career as a theater actress, stage director, and educator touring national and internationally with original work, puppets, and staged readings, has been in Chicago since 1999 working as performer, vocalist, art-culture-education consultant and trainer, community organizer, and bi-national cultural exchange promoter. She has performed at and with Goodman, Teatrovista, Chicago Children´s, Steppenwolf, 16th Street, Silk Road Rising, Chicago Dramatists, FWD, Chopin, Raven, Aguijón, Colectivo El Pozo theaters in Chicago, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Canada, and extensively in Mexico. As vocalist she has been featured at Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall, House of Blues, Hot House, Old Town School, UIC Latino Cultural Center with Sones de Mexico, her own ensembles, and virtuoso bayanist Stas Venglevski. Produced as adapter, director, and designer by Goodman´s Latino Theater Festival, and her work in films featured at Chicago Latino Film Festival with Alquimia, Out of Love, and Maydays. Her solo or ensemble performances and storytelling tour schools, libraries, and community centers state wide. She is an Old Town School of Folk Music teacher and created a cultural exchange experience for Mc Arthur Foundation International Connections program. Laura has enjoyed collaborating with Opera-Matic´s outdoor experiences of public singing.
Lily Emerson is a multifaceted performer, producer, collaborator, and all-around creative weirdo. She currently serves as Artistic Director for Opera-Matic. You can find her every month moonlighting as Lily Night in "Mr. and Mrs. Wednesday-Night," Chicago's premiere mostly-improvised variety show. She is also the co-creator of Adventure Sandwich, which produces family-friendly video, music, live performances and events, and previously founded Lucid Street Theatre, a performance collective that created original works from 2007-2011. Lily has performed throughout the US and Europe, worked with children as a teaching artist for more than 10 years, and has been recognized with various awards and residencies, including the Lisa Dershin LinkUP Residency, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum's Artist in Residence, and the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund. More information about Lily can be found at creative-weirdo.com.
Stacy Rene Erenberg is a vocalist, activist, healer, songwriter and storyteller hailing from the north side of Chicago. Musically she seamlessly blends improvisational and traditional genres with sultry sweet vocals that create an inventive interpretation of jazz and blues. Stacy believes in the power of storytelling through music. Her original lyrics tell stories of love, struggle and resistance in movements for social change.www.stacyrene.com
Whitney Flanigan: My artwork is a visual reflection of the intersubjective experiences by which I shape my world and it shapes me. I use art to connect with myself and to connect with others. In this way my artist/art therapist identity and practice are one and the same. Through the use of ethnography and art making I am able to diminish the power dynamics in the client/therapist relationship. Art allows me to communicate and form trusting relationships with the people I work with; I see them as artists while we create art alongside each other in the open studio and I see myself as a collaborator and a facilitator. At the same time, practicing from a postmodern feminist approach, I am constantly aware of the power and privilege I have as an art therapist and the impact it has on others. Visit http://www.wflanigan.com/ for more.
Andrea Jablonski is a Polish born, multidisciplinary artist, residing in Chicago. Among other merits, Jablonski was named a Tribune Millennium Artist in 2000, one of the Chicago Reader’s 2011 People of the Year and the Featured Artist for East Garfield Park Chicago Artists’ Month 2013. Jablonski has over a decade long career of commercial painting, murals, set designs and installations. Her personal work includes a wide range of mediums, techniques and themes that focus on site specific installations, portraits, and using repurposed materials ( wood, canvas, metal etc. ). She initiated a recycled materials vacant lot sculpture project with peers in her own neighborhood. Jablonski has completed several interesting artist residencies including working with Arts of Life (collaborating with one of their artists ) and Valley of the Vapors Music and Art Festival ( Hot Springs AK ) bringing her Prayer Flag Project - which was also showcased at Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago Green Technology Center. She works with several not for profits including Elastic Arts, having been their Sound and Vision Gallery curator for a couple seasons and Operamatic – a community based arts program in Humboldt Park. She lectures and workshops on a regular basis and is a well respected musician in her community. Find out more at andreajablonski.blogspot.com
Ronnie Kuller is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, teaching artist, and the Artistic Director of Mucca Pazza. She has written music for Mucca Pazza, Theater Oobleck, The Cambrians, and the Actor’s Gym, as well as Opera-Matic. Since 2006, she’s been an Artist-in-Residence at Snow City Arts, where she teaches music to pediatric inpatients at Stroger Hospital of Cook County and Rush Children’s Hospital. One of her compositions was recorded onto wax cylinder at Edison National Historical Park, and was also featured on the TV showTransparent. She is the accompanist and arranger for Mister Tom Musick; they perform every first and third Thursday at Weegee's Lounge. Ronnie is a 2013 3Arts Awardee and a 2015 3Arts Ragdale Fellow.
Joshua Lantzy is a designer, educator, maker and artist dedicated to using design and art to empower people of all ages to participate in their communities. Joshua holds a Masters in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design where his collaborative degree project focused on articulating the creative process, the space of musical practice and ideas of community-centered performance. He currently works as a draftsman and maker of objects in the Chicago area.
Candice Latimer has been a teaching artist at the Hyde Park Art Center since 2004, when she began working in our darkroom, which she continues to manage to this day. In addition, she now assists in the ceramics studio, as well as teaches youth courses in a variety of media. Candice has exhibited installations in Built Festival, Art on Track, and the South Shore Art Festival. Currently she’s got a handful of artist books traveling the country as a part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. Candice received her BFA from SAIC in 2011, and is an Innovation Fellow with the MSI/NSF Art of Science Learning
Cynthia Main is a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on relating to land as part of an integral view of a more sustainable society. Cynthia's strong background in woodworking and traditional craft surfaces in most of her projects, work that often blurs the line between public and private practice. Projects include collaborative off-grid immersions, homesteading projects, performance collaborations and appropriate technology projects in Chicago, North Carolina and Missouri. She currently lives at Sandhill Farm, an intentional community and organic farm near Rutledge, Missouri
Charlie Malave is an artist, multi-instrumentalist, and D-I-Y video producer. He plays with Mucca Pazza, an interdisciplinary instrumental music and performance ensemble based in Chicago, which has been featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Tiny Desk. He is also the founder of Schwinntonation, a band which creates and performs music using bicycles and bicycle parts that has been featured on Chicago Public Radio's Re:Sound and WNYC’s The Takeaway.. Charlie is also the lead designer and head of tech for Adventure Sandwich. He’s composed music for Redmoon and Lucid Street Theatre, among others, and has toured the US and the United Kingdom with Al Scorch’s Country Soul Ensemble. Samples of his work can be found at charlieuniverse.bandcamp.com
Rebecca McNamara is a writer and director in Chicago. She has devised with Theater Uspeakable on Superman 2050 (Mercy) and on the first two iterations of Murder on the Midwest Express (Randy Davies, Penelope). She currently teaches at the Piven Theater Workshop in Evanston, IL.
Mark Messing is a performer, composer, and collaborator in interdisciplinary arts groups. He co-founded Mucca Pazza, a performance collaborative combining music, clowning, and devised theater. He has led the group across country from performing arts venues, schools, music festivals, and community events. He has co-founded a number of artist-initiated projects including The Human Television Network, The All American Anti-War Marching Band, and commercial music and sound design company Maestro-Matic. He is the co-Founder of Opera-Matic, NFP and currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Laura Miracle is a sculptor and mixed-media production artist. She makes interactive objects that explore patterns in nature as well as the nature of human-object interaction. She has shared a love for making things with makers across the city: she teaches woodworking at Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center, managed the build shop and internship program for Redmoon Theater, served as a teaching artist for Marwen, Hyde Park Art Center, the Art Institute, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and is a state-certified elementary art teacher.
Amber M. Castañeda: I'm a Program Manager for the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center as well as a freelance digital content producer. I have a deep interest in media design and communications. Having worked as a digital media producer and instructor with various national/international organizations and companies, I have extensive knowledge in media communications and non-profit programming. My inspiration stems from cooking food, creating videos and documenting live performances that give a voice to societal and cultural stories.
Erik Newman is determined to create a landscape of his own technological devising. Since graduating with a BS Product Design, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in 1995 he has been engaged in a variety of design and craft projects. He has had his own workshop for over 20 years. He has been an instructor in the Designed Objects department at the School of the Art Institute Chicago since 2007. Erik has worked with The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Redmoon Theatre, Velaslavasay Panorama, The Neofuturists, as well as a range of private clients. He has developed a line of furniture that incorporates sustainable materials, frugal manufacturing, and efficient user assembly. Other work includes German submarines and human body slices. He drives and frequently repairs a 1980 Volk-swagen pickup truck.
Julie Pomerleau is a local musician--truly local, having lived 1 block away from beautiful Humboldt Park for the last 21 years. She is pleased to be able to walk over this evening and play violin on Ronnie Kuller's delightful and elegant compositions. The last time she played in Humboldt Park was for highly entertaining El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico/Theatre Oobleck in the summer of 2014. For the last 25 years, she has written, arranged and/or played on numerous recorded and live projects--both notable and obscure. But much of her musical life is spent performing as Monica Boubou, the semi-glamorous violinist and partner of Bobby Conn.
Laura Riebock has been dancing and teaching for over a decade. She also plays percussion and sings. She is well versed in Ballet, Jazz, Belly Dance, Puerto Rican Bomba, Cuban Rumba, Salsa, Merengue and more!!! She performs and teaches throughout the Chicago land area and internationally. Learn more at lauradances.com
cin salach, Poet of page and stage, has collaborated with musicians, video artists, dancers and photographers for over 25 years in such groups as The Loofah Method, Betty’s Mouth and ten tongues. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days, Brute Neighbors: An Urban Nature Anthology, and Poetry Speaks: Spoken Word Revolution. Her first book, Looking for a Soft Place to Land, was published by Tia Chucha Press. Her second, When I am Yes, was released in 2014 by JackLeg Press. Illinois Arts Council recipient, four-time Ragdale fellow, and Emmy nominee for voice-over and on-screen narration of the PBS documentary “From Schoolboy to Showgirl”. Her love of poetry, and her belief that it can change lives, has led her to create her business, poemgrown, helping people mark the most important occasions in their lives with poetry.
Joey Spilberg is a founding member of Lamajamal and is a regular fixture at the University of Chicago's Spring Festival of East European and Mediterranean Music and Dance. Joey is also the Research Program Manager at Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) which provides arts programming in over 50 Chicago public schools.
Veronica Stein facilitate's community art programs and partnerships for Youth Service Project, Opera-Matics partner organization. She is a Chicago-based educator, activist and mixed-media artist who works in the photography, textiles, installation, performance, sculpture, audio, and photography. Working within a restorative justice-based framework, she specializes in early elementary and high school art education. Veronica earned a Master of Arts in Art Education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has exhibited her work at galleries in Chicago and New York City.
Jamie Topper: I am a musician and educator working as a Teaching Artist in schools, hospitals and community settings for over 10 years. In schools, I design and carry out artist residencies using arts integration methodology as well as conventional arts education. In communities, I work with locals to design music projects that gracefully address an important community issue. I am a percussionist specializing in Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern rhythmic traditions. My background is in Anthropology and I come to this work from an applied ethnomusicological approach.
Omar Torres-Kortright is a musician, author, founder of the DJ collective Agúzate, and the Executive Director of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.
And many, many more! Thank you to every one of our Collaborators and Community Partners!