Interview with LUMA8 President & CEO SHARENE SHARIATZADEH

Sharene Shariatzadeh discusses producing Chicago’s fourth annual ARTS IN THE DARK parade as well as the continuing mission of LUMA8, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating Chicago as a focal point of artistic innovation to enrich the lives of its citizens and create economic impact. This free family-friendly event will be held October 20, 2018 from 6pm-9pm. For more information, visit www.ArtsintheDark.org

About LUMA8

LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts) is an independent not-for-profit dedicated to creating conversations about Chicago that are heard around the world. This is achieved through unique cultural events and experiences, often using light and scale as tools, and by developing innovative ways to amplify the effect of existing arts initiatives. It coordinates the work of public agencies, arts organizations and artists to elevate the cultural life of the city, attract visitors, and ultimately generate economic impact.

ARTS IN THE DARK

LUMA8, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Chicago Park District and their newest sponsor, theChicago Loop Alliance, is pleased to announce Arts in the Dark, a festive and enchanting nighttime Halloween Parade along the iconic State St. on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 6 PM – 8 PM, that will showcase the creativity of Chicago’s diverse cultural community and activate Halloween as the “artist’s holiday.”

The annual event is produced by LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts), a nonprofit dedicated to elevating Chicago as a focal point of artistic innovation to enrich the lives of its citizens and create economic impact. Sharene Shariatzadeh, President and CEO of the nonprofit, looks forward to the new aspects of the parade this year.

“The LUMA8 team is proud to produce Arts in the Dark with such great partners, and we are particularly delighted to welcome the Chicago Loop Alliance as a major sponsor of the parade this year,” Shariatzadeh says. “The move to historic State Street represents the launch of an exciting new phase in the life of the parade, and will make this dynamic event even more accessible to both locals and visitors to the city. The architectural walls that line either side of State Street will give the performances a more intimate feel, and also will allow us to play with lighting up some building facades – an area we hope to expand upon in the future.”

Arts in the Dark will begin marching on State Street at dusk, traveling south from Lake St. to Van Buren St. (In past years, it started on Columbus and moved north to Monroe.) This year’s procession will include more than 90 contingents ranging from notable organizations like Lookingglass Theatre Company and Second City, to guilds of artists like the film makers contingent organized by CineSpace Chicago/CineCares and the Chicago Film Office. The parade also offers an opportunity for established organizations like the Harris Theater and the Chicago Blackhawks to sponsor less-resourced cultural organizations and neighborhood groups who would not be able to participate without their support.

“We are thrilled to be a major sponsor of a parade that showcases Chicago’s incredible artistic and cultural community,” says Judie Greene, Chairman of the Chicago Loop Alliance. “Our recent study of the arts in the Loop revealed that the area has one of the world’s highest concentrations of arts and cultural offerings, resulting in an economic impact of $2.25 billion. Hosting Arts in the Dark in the heart of the Chicago Loop is a perfect way to honor the contribution that these cultural organizations make to the life and well-being of Chicago.”

The vision for Arts in the Dark was created by Mark Kelly, Chicago’s Commissioner of DCASE, who has declared this the “Year of Creative Youth.” This year, DCASE provided LUMA8 with a grant specifically to support youth contingents from across the city, including After School Matters’ 3D Arts Program, which will be featured on the opening float with giant raven lanterns.

“It’s time we give the younger generation a voice, and we are delighted that they will be able to use this curated nighttime parade to do so,” Kelly says. “This event will reach cultural community members of all ages in a magical moment to celebrate our creative spirit and the amazing contributions we make to this City.”

Parade participants include Chicago Children’s Museum, Envision Unlimited, Jabberwocky Marionettes, Colombian Fest Chicago, Comparsa Explosiva y Sus Chinelos Magicos and Kaotic Drumline . It will also feature large-scale lanterns of Chicago’s iconic buildings made by local artists.

Following the parade, DCASE will host a live DJ dance party at Cloud Gate (“the Bean”), and Maggie Daley Park will host a family-friendly movie, and a variety of activities for kids.

Sponsors/Partners:

LUMA8 presents Arts in the Dark in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District.

The Chicago Loop Alliance is the 2018 Major Sponsor.

Millennium Garages is the Official Parking Sponsor.

Other partners/sponsors include:  Arena Americas, Blue Plate Catering, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Free For All Fund, Choose Chicago, CineCares, Harris Theater, Macy’s, Mesirow Financial, and Revolution Brewing.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.ArtsintheDark.org

About LUMA8

LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts) is an independent not-for-profit dedicated to creating conversations about Chicago that are heard around the world. This is achieved through unique cultural events and experiences, often using light and scale as tools, and by developing innovative ways to amplify the effect of existing arts initiatives. It coordinates the work of public agencies, arts organizations and artists to elevate the cultural life of the city, attract visitors, and ultimately generate economic impact.

About the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.

About the Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,700 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 11 museums, two world-class conservatories, 15 cultural centers, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.

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