Arts Alliance Luncheon to Honor James and Kay Mabie June 10

The fourth annual Arts Alliance Illinois Voices of a Creative State benefit luncheon will take place Friday, June 10, 2016 at Fairmont Chicago (200 N. Columbus Dr.). The luncheon will feature a discussion highlighting the life-altering impact of the arts as a catalyst for social change, addressing urgent issues. The conversation will feature the award-winning director of the acclaimed documentary “The Homestretch,” Kirsten Kelly, and Roque Sanchez, who was featured in the film. The event will also pay tribute to James W. and Kay Mabie, long-time supporters of a multitude of arts organizations and education institutions in Illinois, who will be presented the Citizen Advocate Award.The annual luncheon raises critically needed funds to support the work of Arts Alliance Illinois, the state’s leading arts advocacy organization. This year, the event is expected to attract 500 of the state’s foremost arts leaders and advocates, providing a forum to discuss the role and importance of the arts in Illinois and celebrate the vitality and diversity of the state’s cultural sector. Proceeds raised from the event will support arts advocacy throughout the state; initiatives to foster and grow arts organizations statewide as a vehicle for economic growth and quality-of-life improvements; advocacy in support of arts-related policy change; and the development and implementation of policies that drive access to quality arts education in every area of Illinois.

“It has been a remarkable year for Arts Alliance Illinois. One of our longstanding goals is to ensure that every public school student has access to a high-quality arts education, and we are proud to have led a statewide effort to update Illinois’ arts learning standards for the first time since 1997,” said Arts Alliance Illinois Board Chair Kassie Davis. “On the heels of this success, it is particularly fitting that we will celebrate the Mabies at our luncheon, given their focus on supporting the training and education of young artists.”

The benefit co-chairs are Susan and Richard Kiphart, Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.) and Daniel Levin, Julie and Daniel Schmidt, and Allstate’s David Woolwine. The planning committee chair isBrooke Flanagan.

The luncheon will begin with a networking reception. The program will feature a tribute to Jim and Kay Mabie as Citizen Advocates for their continuous dedication and contributions to the arts and arts education. The award is given to individuals whose vision and civic leadership is rooted in benefiting the arts. The Mabies dedicated their lives to bettering arts awareness and education, and supported a multitude of the organizations including Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Music Institute of Chicago, Urban Gateways, WBEZ, WFMT and WTTW.

The highlight of the program will be a panel discussion between Roque Sanchez and filmmaker Kirsten Kelly, bringing to life the immense power of the arts to transform lives. Kelly first encountered Sanchez, then a homeless teen, when he was a sophomore in the Chicago Public Schools and was chosen to be the subject of a documentary she was directing and producing entitled “The Homestretch.” At that time, Sanchez had been struggling in school and unclear on the direction of his future. A dedicated teacher took Sanchez under her wing and introduced him to Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s CPS Shakespeare!Ensemble (a program recognized in 2012 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award), At Chicago Shakespeare, Sanchez discovered a love for theater, and through it a pathway to academic achievement and social and emotional growth. Thanks to his participation in the program, Sanchez graduated from High School and is now a student at Northeastern Illinois University. His story is a shining example of the transformative power of the arts to uplift individuals, address crucial social issues and improve lives. The film, which was supported by the MacArthur Foundation and Sundance Institute, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and is part of the White House Initiative for Excellence in African American Education.

“The Homestretch” is a co-production of Spargel Productions LLC, Kartemquin Educational Films and Independent Television Service, with funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Allstate is the Premier Sponsor of the Voices of a Creative State luncheon.

Ticket, Table and Sponsorship Information

Individual tickets are $350 and $500 with a limited number of $150-level tickets available exclusively for artists, arts administrators and students. Sponsorship packages for tables of 10 start at $3,500. Voices of a Creative State begins at 11:15 a.m. with a networking reception. At noon, lunch and the benefit program begins. To purchase tickets, tables and sponsorships, visit or call312.855.3105 x13.

About Arts Alliance Illinois

Incorporated in 1982, Arts Alliance Illinois is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts advocacy and service organization promoting the value of the arts to all residents of Illinois. With nearly 30,000 advocates and hundreds of member organizations, the Alliance is the largest statewide arts advocacy network in the country and the only organization in Illinois that represents artists and cultural organizations across all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic areas.

Arts Alliance Illinois works to amplify the collective voice of the arts sector through legislative and grassroots action, close collaboration with policymakers and public agencies, and a robust online and social media presence. The Alliance ensures that the arts are central and indispensable to Illinois by empowering arts and culture stakeholders with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to be active participants in the policymaking process and the civic life of their communities; by proving data-driven evidence on the impact, assets, and needs of the arts and creative industries in Illinois; and by connecting and supporting leaders across multiple sectors around common goals and shared