Dance as a Learning Platform

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Funding Received: 2012
Chicago, IL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
June 7, 2013

Using dance as a learning platform for business, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is collaborating with more than 60 tech startups inhabiting 1871, a newly created co-working space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

ArtPlace spoke with Jason Palmquist, Hubbard Street’s Executive Director, about the project.

ARTPLACE: As you approach the end of your ArtPlace grant period, take a moment to think over the past year. What advice would you give to the new grantees?

PALMQUIST: 1871, Chicago’s home for technology entrepreneurs, began as an idea – but became a reality through the determination of a number of hardworking individuals – perhaps most importantly, Steve Collens of the Pritzker Group and Kevin Willer of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

When we first began to explore the use of dance as a platform for business learning, no one really knew what the final form would look like. But, once again, there were a number of impassioned individuals who were excited to make something happen, including business development teams from ClearSpace and Strategos, Scott Silberstein and his team at HMS Media, and the artists and artistic staff of HS2.

It’s been a dynamic year of creativity and creation – of site-specific work, of classroom curriculum, and of online experiences. In each, the final product was the result of determined work by the partners in the project. So, my best advice to the next round of ArtPlace grantees would be to pick your partners carefully and expect excellence.

A big reminder for us was that the only constant is change. Over the course of the grant period, we’ve had some interesting and unexpected modifications to the status quo. Taryn Kaschock Russell, the director of HS2 and a key creative leader of the project, left Hubbard Street in April. Terence Marling, a former Hubbard Street dancer and our rehearsal director, replaced her as a member of the project team. Kevin Willer and Una Pipic have both transitioned from the CEC and 1871, and others have picked up their advocacy of the project. Hopefully, the entrepreneurs who participated in Dance as a Learning Platform had seamless experiences, despite these changes.

Our target population at 1871 has also been evolving. Over the course of the year, many more startups have been added to the fold and others have left. When we designed the platform, we took this reality into account. Newcomers to 1871 have access to the videos we’ve created and we are also exploring the possibility of a second round of classroom experiences focused on the themes of COLLABORATE, GROW, INNOVATE and LEAD.

ARTPLACE: How would you encourage new grantees to leverage their ArtPlace grants for maximum effect?

PALMQUIST: We’re still working to answer that question. We’ve received funding from the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund to explore next steps, so we’re working with our partners to develop materials that will allow us to market the platform more broadly outside of the 1871 community. In the end, we hope to create a new stream of earned revenue for Hubbard Street – but the deep engagement of our partners as well as a number of entrepreneurs and their companies has already enriched our organization in countless ways.