Christine Innamorato
Manager of Knowledge Services Communications
212 807-2575

Kelly Varian
Development & Communications Specialist
Sustain Arts
415 686-0924

Heather Hartley
Executive Director
See Chicago Dance
312 846-6357

Chicago, IL and New York, NY — March 20, 2019. A new report, Mapping the Dance Landscape in Chicagoland, released today by Candid (formerly Foundation Center and GuideStar), Sustain Arts, and See Chicago Dance demonstrates a 97% increase in the number of dance studios and schools and a 23% increase in the number of dance-makers from 2002 to 2016. The study revisits the seminal Dance/USA research published in 2002 and synthesizes data about dance organizations, funding, and participation.

“It’s not often that you use the words data and dance in the same sentence,” said Lawrence T. McGill, vice president of knowledge services at Candid. “This is the first analysis in 17 years to provide data-driven insights to assess the health and vitality of the Chicago area’s dance sector.”

Other key insights from this research funded by The Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Abby O’Neil, and Carroll Joynes:

  • Institutional philanthropic funding for dance grew 46% from 2006 to 2015, adjusted for inflation, despite a three-year decline from 2008 to 2011.
  • Funding tends to be directed to relatively few organizations. In 2015, 3 organizations (The Joffrey Ballet, Music and Dance Theater Chicago, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) received 56% of dollars; the top 20 recipients received 86%.
  • Public funding for Chicagoland dance is much smaller than private philanthropy. In 2015, where foundations and public charities gave $16.3 million, the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the City of Chicago provided a combined $714,425 specifically to dance organizations.
  • The funding picture must be viewed alongside other research demonstrating that 12% of the City of Chicago’s dancers and choreographers worked without pay, and nearly two-thirds earned less than $15,000 annually.

“By compiling new data alongside other available analysis, we’re able to see holistically the opportunities and vulnerabilities in the region’s dance sector,” said Heather Hartley, executive director of See Chicago Dance. “This report is just the starting point for conversations, questions, and ultimately changes needed to ensure that all dancers are fully and equitably supported and we continue to have a robust, diverse dance sector.”

Download Mapping the Dance Landscape in Chicagoland on IssueLab. This report is a complement to the online platform Sustain Arts: Chicagoland, a publicly accessible tool containing organizational profiles, funding data, and visualizations of Chicagoland’s arts and culture sector.


About Candid

Foundation Center and GuideStar joined forces in 2019 to become Candid, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid’s data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. Find out more at


About Sustain Arts

The mission of Sustain Arts is to connect detailed knowledge with specific networks, building the collective capacity of art and culture in America, one region at a time. The project equips communities with free, meaningful data resources that answer critical questions like: Where are arts and cultural organizations located? Who participates? Where does funding come from? How do organizations maintain relevancy over time? Program leaders, artists, private foundations, public agencies, and others access this data through Sustain Arts’ online platforms. By combining innovative technology and on-the-ground capacity building, the project arms stakeholders with resources that assist in data-driven decision making, strategic collaborations, and broad community engagement.


About See Chicago Dance

See Chicago Dance (SCD), founded initially as the nonprofit Audience Architects in 2006, is a dance service organization with a mission to advocate for the dance field and strengthen a diverse range of dance organizations and artists through services and programs that build and engage audiences. SCD provides Chicago dance organizations and artists with increased visibility, expansive resources, and forums to showcase and share their talents. Its flagship program, the audience development website, drives ticket sales and has grown to become the most comprehensive source of information on dance in Chicago, offering feature stories and reviews, discount ticket offers, and in-depth information on more than 250 dance companies and organizations. See Chicago Dance also hosts professional development workshops for artists, convenes the dance industry quarterly for networking and shared learning opportunities, and hosts numerous events, artist discussions, and showings to educate and inform the public about Chicago’s vibrant and diverse dance scene. Learn more at