Susan A. Manning, professor of English with appointments in theatre, dance and performance studies at Northwestern University, has received the 2005 City of Evanston Mayor's Award for the Arts.
Each year, the Mayor's Award is presented to one Evanston individual and one Evanston organization for their contributions to the community. Recipients are selected from nominations from the public.
Manning, a board member of the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), was recognized for a wide range of her foundation activities that are strengthening Evanston as an extraordinary arts community.
Together with her husband, Doug Doetsch, Manning established the Arts in Community Fund so that the foundation can further develop its support of the arts through a fund dedicated to this purpose. Inspired by other conversations the foundation has held around issues of community concern, Manning organized and led a task force (of foundation board and community arts people) that explored challenges and opportunities within Evanston's arts community.
Conversations with artists and representatives of arts organizations, other foundations and arts advocacy groups resulted in a successful proposal to the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for $12,500 to commission the “Working Together” partnership with the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation (IAAF). The IAAF encourages support of the arts and highlights the arts' impact on Illinois communities by providing research, public education, programs and information to enhance the health of nonprofit arts organizations.
The IAAF's “Working Together” initiative in Evanston, led by Manning, assesses arts resources and needs in the Evanston community. The project has developed an extensive list of artists and arts organizations, swelling the ranks of known arts community participants. The findings (to be released on March 23) will reveal the economic impact of Evanston arts and artists and provide a wealth of information for dialogue on the relationships among the arts, business, local government and philanthropy.
“'Working Together' is, in effect, a first grant from Arts In Community to benefit the entire community,” said Sara Schastok, executive director of the Evanston Community Foundation, “and findings from the research will inform the leadership activities that the foundation undertakes and the grant making that we do.”
ECF's Schastok stressed that Manning's advocacy, dedication of time and personal giving are not only generating new funds for the arts in Evanston. “Her efforts also are encouraging collaborations that will benefit the arts community and its audiences,” she said.
“The Northwestern community and the larger Evanston community have greatly benefited from Susan Manning's enthusiastic advocacy for the arts,” said Jeff Cory, director of Cultural Arts for the City of Evanston.“ And we owe her much gratitude for her organization of the 'Working Together' survey, which will serve as a valuable catalyst to enhance the impact of the arts in Evanston.“
The City of Evanston Cultural Arts Division and the Evanston Chamber of Commerce sponsor the Major's Award for the Arts. Manning was honored during the recent State of the City luncheon held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Orrington and sponsored by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.
Manning's teaching at Northwestern cuts across diverse genres of 20th century theatrical performance, and her research focuses on the cultural politics of modern dance.
Manning is the author of “Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman” (1993) and “Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion” (2004). She currently serves as convener of the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance and as president of the Society of Dance History Scholars.