DePaul MFA graduate appointed Deputy Director of Grants and Partnerships at Joffrey Ballet
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, few industries lost their identity as quickly as the performing arts. Virtual performances have taken over all forms of the arts, putting artists and industry players in a strange position. Persevering, people like Edward McCreary, DePaul MFA Arts Leadership 2020 graduate, have sailed through the changing tides.
âI was definitely having anxieties about graduating in the performing arts,â said McCreary. âBut one of the things that drew me to Chicago was the sheer scale of the vibrant cultural landscape. I was convinced that with such a resilient art form, and in what I had seen from some of the arts organizations that I connected with, that things would come back.
McCreary worked as an Artistic Leadership Fellow at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater during his graduate studies, a program that goes hand in hand with DePaul. Previously, he worked as an actor in his hometown Atlanta for five years after graduating from the University of Georgia with a double major in theater and economics. In April, he landed a job that used these two studies: Assistant Director of Grants and Partnerships at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.
It may sound like a lot, writing grant applications and seeking funding and partnerships, especially in an uncertain economy. Yet McCreary finds that the passion for the arts overwhelms all anxieties.
âWhile it can be intimidating at times, it’s also very exciting, because a big part of the answer you get is finding people who recognize the intrinsic value of art and who have a huge willingness to support it generously. “, did he declare.
He will focus on fundraising for the Joffrey, which works with businesses, foundations and government to receive funds. The pandemic has put an end to live performances and major productions, but the Joffrey has recently started returning to in-person classes as well as virtual after-school programs for young Chicago students. The attention from community that McCreary sees is part of what drew him to this position, more than just the reputation of the art.
âI honestly think this is the future of a lot of arts organizations,â he said. “Not only really connecting with the communities they serve, but also creating inspiration for the art form for future audiences.”
With over 70% of seniors vaccinated in Illinois, the state can begin to settle Bridge phase of reopening, where theaters and the performing arts can open at 60 percent of their capacity. If the vaccination rate continues to climb and cases and hospitalizations decline, the return to no capacity limits and a normal artistic landscape will be reasonable, especially in the fall and winter.
âThere will be not only hopefully the opportunity for us to open up, but enthusiasm on the part of artistic creators and our audience,â said McCreary. âThat’s what we really hope is that everyone is as ready to go out as we are. So our enthusiasm to come back on stage with the excitement of our audience to come back, we hope, will converge on a successful season.