Katie Kurcz

September 24, 1982 – May 12, 2017

“Katie dedicated her career to building awareness for arts organizations and cared deeply about the role of artists in our world. We are so happy in this moment to be able to honor her memory by supporting the work of four amazing Snow City Arts Teaching Artists who are making a difference in the lives of young patients in Chicago.”

~Alex Cohan and Allison Green, on behalf of the Katie Kurcz Memorial Fund

2020 Review Panel

Amy Bossov
Alex Cohan
Mary Kurcz
Mikey Peterson
Carrie Spitler
Veronica Stein
Mai Vukcevich

In 2019, the Katie Kurcz Memorial Fund at Snow City Arts was established to be utilized to enrich the artistic development of Snow City Arts’ Teaching Artists and ultimately the children and youth they engage, to honor the legacy of one of the co-founders of our Auxiliary Board. The Fund will be used to encourage artists to intentionally reach outside of the hospital environment and across disciplines through professional development activities or the development of projects with other artists or organizations to enhance their artistic practice and to impact their work in the hospital setting. The Fund will also support the showcasing of these endeavors on a regular basis at SCA’s annual Gallery Night, in other displays, or through print documentation.

Snow City Arts, the Review Panel and Katie’s family and friends wish to thank each and every one of the hundreds of people who contributed to the Fund, as well as those who have given in her honor prior to its establishment.

Due to the overwhelming generosity of the many founding contributors to the Fund, as well as the quality of the initial proposals from Snow City Arts’ Teaching Artists this year, the Review Panel has made the extraordinary choice to award not one, but three grants in 2020.  We are thrilled to announce that 2020 Katie Kurcz grantees are: Jonathan Stein, Lenny Zieben and the team of Emmy Bean and Dan Kerr-Hobert.  Each $2,500 award will be disbursed at a time when the impact of artist support is more intense than ever.  The decision to invest in 40% of Snow City Arts’ Teaching Artists during a pandemic year is intentional and aligned with the organization’s overall approach to leaning into our values and our creative capacity as we develop and begin delivering a plethora of new programming to our students virtually.

Though the winning proposals are project-based and will move Snow City Arts’ mission forward, the hope of the Review Panel is that the Katie Kurcz Memorial Fund awards will empower these individuals with time and mental space to engage in the deep work behind visible outcomes with the same thoughtfulness, calm and sense of play that they display when working directly with our students in the hospital.

The three awarded projects these four Teaching Artists will be researching and developing are as follows:

Emmy Bean and Dan Kerr-Hobert 

We will develop and curate live and televised arts programming that showcases Snow City Arts student artwork and performance to the hospital communities at Rush, Lurie, and UIC, as well as to the public. Our focus is on live performance, whether mediated by television or experienced in person. This may take the form of a variety show, an interview, a poetry reading, musical performance, and/or re-performances of works by other artists (including Snow City student artists). A central focus of our project is to involve students in the curation, direction, and production of live performance events. 

This Award will create new possibilities for arts learning in a clinical setting as a laboratory for public performance. Through the funding of this project, students will have a chance to create towards an attainable goal, envisioning a life for their work outside the hospital while protecting the integrity of their process within the hospital walls. This project involves community partners in theater and television whose presence contributes to and facilitates the conversation between youth artist and audience. This project will also help students understand histories of representation and artistic intervention in television, live performance, and theater that they can participate in and interpret as curators and performers. 

A series of live televised events to be piloted at Lurie’s Skylight TV and then CAN TV as restrictions permit, with a live performance event in 2021.

Jonathan Stein

I will examine climate change research, how that information is formed into statistics and graphs, and bring what I discover into workshops with students. We will pair our mutual discoveries with the language of hard-edged geometric abstraction, using visual tools to make area graphs and action plans. In my 13 years of experience at Snow City Arts, STEAM workshops have always been a winning approach to learning, and can be implemented in virtual and live workshops.

My approach in these projects will be to engage students in conversations on climate change to identify an area that interests them. Together we will research this area of concern, discuss the findings, organize them, and choose to illustrate the findings or make an action plan. These statistics and plans might often manifest in the form of area graphs that could resemble contemporary hard-edged abstraction, although the student could create any mode of communication of advocacy they choose.

Potential partners include The American Indian Center Of Chicago, The Field Museum Of Chicago’s Keller Science Action Center, and the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago.

Lenny Zieben 

I will experiment with new music technology platforms and tools in response to the tremendous student thirst for playing electronic music tactilely. Software functionality has peaked in this realm, so the next step is to interface with instruments and tools that give students and teachers a more flexible relationship with making music.  This award will afford me time not just to gain a better understanding of a group of new tools, but to begin exploring and implementing ways to play electronic instruments in tactile way that doesn’t bury a music maker in a laptop screen. My focus will be divided between nuts and bolts technical learning and integration of these tools into a performative, classroom, compositional and individual teaching environments for Snow City Arts, including in workshops available through our new Virtual Learning initiative.

Targeted platforms include Ableton Live, Korg Volca, Makey Makey, and Teenage Engineering devices.

Katie Kurcz Memorial Fund
Founding Funders
(through May 15, 2020)

Francie Abramson
Mario Alberico
Andersonville Guesthouse
Claudia Arzeno
Assurant, Inc.
Charles and Nancy Baggett
Kimberly Baird
Karthik Balaji
Cherie Balan
Jim and Bev Ballor
Suzanne Bartlett
Brooke Benjamin
Peter and Paula Bergin
John Bierbusse
Rosalind Blaurock
Susan Bodine
Sumi Bose
Joel and Patricia Bright
Therese Brown
Arnold Bundy
Robin Canfield
Susan Carne
Karen Carpenter
Rene Carter
Phillip and Laura Cathlina
Carolyn Cecil
Michelle Chaitow
Anita Chakin and Ed Copelin
Barbara Charney
Chicago Cultural Alliance
Kathryn Cochill
Alex Cohan
Greta Cohan
Richard and Nina Cohan
David Cohen
Ronald Cohen
Zach Cohen
Anne Connolly
Richard and Chris Conrad
John Darguzas
Joseph and Christine Darguzas
Julia Dillon
Lorraine Dillon
Maggie Dillon
Jerry Donaldson
Karen and Doug Douglas
Maggie Douglas
Kate Dumbleton
James Ellis
Emily Farber
Linda and Sam Fisher
Erin Flatley
Amy Fleming
Sarah Frye
Noemi Garcia
Google, Inc.

Allison Green and Joseph Madison
D. Stewart Green
David and Susan Green
George and Sue Harding
Jackie Harman
Jessica Hathorn
Janet Havlik
Andreas and Ginger Hecht
Kirsten Hein
Michele and Douglas Helmuth
Elizabeth and Jeff Henderson
Cathy and Dan Hernandez
Andrew Holtz
Veronica and Scott Horbinski
Brian Inman
David and Mary Jackson
Daniel Jacobson
Jennifer Jansen
Rebecca Jensen
Steve Johnson
Shayna Jones
Martin Kappert
Kimberly Kavala
Joan Keiser
Lauren Kellar
Susan Kenn
Gary Ketner and Janice Clements
Liz Ketner
Amy Kieckhefer
Phil Kiracofe
Mary Kral
Lynnda Kratovil
Jessica Kull
Shara and Chris Kurcz
Tom and Mary Kurcz
Komloy Kutz
Monica Labelle
Kenneth and Judith Lamkin
Josephine Lamp
Cortney Lederer
Marcy Leonard
Bruce and Marilyn Levin
Doris Levy
Lesle Lewis
Ronald and Sachiko Lewis
Margaret LoSasso
Bob and Cindy Lowell
Tom and Laura Madison
Julie Mainelli
Scott and Kathleen Maizel
Jessica Martin
Shirley Massey
Jane McCann
Michael Morton
Eric Naumburg
Jesse Parmentier
Jim and Shirl Parmentier
Amy Peters
Judith Phibbs

The Pierce Family Foundation
Dianne Pitman
Patricia Polston
Sabrina Potterpin
Roberta Privette
Doug and Leslie Quint
Clarke Reddick
Paul and Laura Riger
Sarah Robinson
Deanna Roll
Anne Romens
Jamie Rooney
Shelley Roth
Ciara Rowley
Toby Sachs
Susan Sandler
Andrea Sanger
Emily Sawyer
Peter Schmitz and Bronwyn Poole
Daniel Schnur
Robert Schnur and Betty Karweick
Joan Schoenstene
Kate Sheehy
Tim and Trish Sinclair
Cathy Skala and Michael Hoover
Bruce and Kathie Smith
Frank Smith
Janis Smyers
Ginny Snyder
Mary Sova and Peter Handler
The Space Movement Project
Carrie Spitler
Sharon Spitzer
Carla Stevens
Mike Stevens
William Stevens
Laura Suozzo
Hannah Swartz
Kristen Teasdale
Elissa Tenny
Nicole Vioujas
Mai Vukcevich
Sally Vukcevich
Ashley Walter
Larrietta Ward
John and Donna Welp
Tracey Wentz
Francine Werdinger
Irene Whitaker
Laura Willis
Francesca Wilmott
Jennifer Wohl
Alison Woods
Paula and Elliott Woods
Diane Yamazaki
Marie Ziesat
Jackie Zorger

To learn more about Katie, the Fund or to join this ongoing effort by contributing, please read more here.

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