Unfolding Disability Futures – A New Concept

Unfolding, Credit Justin Cooper
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Unfolding Disability Futures is a multi-organization, site-specific dance and visual art event organized by local disabled artists and held throughout The Plant, a former meatpacking facility in the Back of the Yards/New City Neighborhood. Over the past decade, The Plant has been renovated with a focus on importance of sustainable agriculture and community collaboration. Unfolding Disability Futures embraces the importance of sustainability and community care in artistic practice. Performances and installations unfold throughout the space, highlighting how The Plant has been redeveloped to make the building accessible in ways that are both functional and beautiful, proposing access not as a drain but a plentiful resource in and of itself.

Unfolding Disability Futures takes place over four events on June 4-5 & 11-12. Each performance cycle, audiences will be guided through The Plant in groups of ten, experiencing five original dance works set in various locations throughout the building, as well as the five visual artist spotlights. Performance cycles begin every half hour over the duration of all four events with a total of five performances per event. Each performance cycle runs about an hour. This set up is intended to build in the flexibility needed to respond to current COVID protocols to ensure the safety of audiences and dancers while simultaneously allowing audiences to fully experience the architecture, performances and visual art exhibits throughout The Plant.

Event Flyer

The project’s aim is to provide a space where the experiences of disabled artists are at the center of the work. It seeks to situate these experiences, often deemed disposable, as not only valuable but in fact as essential and plentiful source of knowledge and creativity. The small and relaxed performances invite the community to experience and talk about the pieces with their neighbors, building connections within and between Chicago’s disability arts community and The Plant’s home in Back of the Yards. 

Unfolding, Credit Kennedy Healy and Marley Molkentin

The first performance cycle on June 4 and 11 will begin at 6:30pm and the first performance cycle on June 5 and 12 will begin at 2:00pm. Additionally, we will host a post-show artist talk after the final performance cycle concludes at 5pm on Sunday, June 5. ASL interpreters will be available for all events on Sunday, June 5 and Saturday, June 11. Audio description will be available for all performances. All events are pay what you can.

Co-Artistic Directors: Maggie Bridger and Sydney Erlikh
Curator: Amanda Lautermilch
Choreographers/Directors: Alison Kopit, Joseph Lefthand, Andy Slater
Dancers: Erin Compton, Mia Coulter, Ladonna Friedheim, Shireen Hamza, Maypril Kruzkowzki, Ginger Lane, Kris Lenzo, Alex Neil-Sevier, Stefanie Piatkiewicz, Lauren Sheely, Vincent Tufano, Robby Lee Williams
Visual Artists: Matt Bodett, Kennedy Healy, Euree Kim, Thai Lu, Marley Molkentin, Katie L O’Neill

This project is partially supported by Neighborhood Access Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. Access support funded in part by Bodies of Work in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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