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Still Point’s 2015 in Review

January 14, 2016

2015 was an exciting year for Still Point. For a small nonprofit founded in 1993, we continue to fulfill our mission and expand the scope of our work. Here’s a recap of Still Point happenings in 2015!

OUTREACH Regular performances are an integral part of Still Point’s Imagination Workshop for adults with developmental disabilities, and we are focusing more attention on this aspect as our programming expands. We are proud that our Imagination Workshop facilitation at Orchard Village has featured performances at the Skokie Theater and the Skokie Public Library this year. The group that meets at Ravenswood Presbyterian Church is open to public enrollment, and has had three well-attended performances at the church this year, most recently on December 15. Groups at L’Arche Chicago, Esperanza, Search, Inc. and El Valor also presented original performances in 2015. Through exposing community audiences to the unique gifts of these remarkable men and women, Still Point cultivates greater community integration and breaks stereotypes. Staff member Steve Grossman has begun working on boosting the technical aspects of our outreach performances, such as sound and lighting, in order to further enhance the experience for both audiences and performers.

While Persephone Project programs continued at Cook County Jail and Lake County Jail, we were also thrilled to receive a grant from the Seabury Foundation in 2015 to support our work with formerly incarcerated women. The ultimate goal of this branch of programming is to prevent recidivism, so continuing services during the critical time following release is a vital key to success, and high on our priority list for 2016.

Still Point delved into a new branch of programming this year with Sage Theatre Works, which seeks to develop and highlight the gifts of senior citizens. Ongoing weekly classes at the Benedictine Monastery and Bethany Retirement Center, facilitated by Lisa Wagner-Carollo, provide seniors with meaningful challenges and an opportunity to have their gifts acknowledged and appreciated. Participants also enjoy guest speakers from the arts community.

PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTIONS Founder/Artistic Director Lisa Wagner-Carollo continued to perform Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day for audiences across the country in 2015. It seems that Pope Francis, who recently praised Dorothy Day for her tireless service to the poor, is joined by many others who admire Day’s stalwart commitment to living her faith.

Still Point also continues to tour Living Water: The Story of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, our production about the modern day resurrection story of St. Gabriel Church in New Orleans, and how the parish banded together to rebuild after the Katrina floods of 2005. We were pleased to present donor-sponsored performances of this production for community nonprofits like Breakthrough Urban Ministries, SisterHouse and St. Martin de Porres House of Hope in 2015 – offering this inspiring play to audiences who might not otherwise have access to theater, such as people in recovery and the homeless. We are currently recasting this play for 2016.

NEW PROJECT – HUMAN TRAFFICKING Still Point’s new project on human trafficking, Stealing Souls, is in the early stages of development. We are partnering with activist Ivan Velasco to create a new play raising awareness on the plight of human trafficking victims. Our vision for this particular project is the creation of a two part presentation: The play, with the working title Stealing Souls, will underscore the nature and severity of the problem, featuring real stories of human trafficking. The second part of the presentation will feature a panel discussion with activists from the city in which we are presenting, in order to provide information outlining actions which audience members can take to start to transform the conditions and practices that allow human trafficking to occur. We are currently fundraising for this project.

OTHER NEWS On November 30 we hosted a reading of Maggie Kast’s new work of historical fiction, A Free, Unsullied Land. This was a great event supporting a long-time friend of Still Point, and encouraging meaningful dialogue about social justice in the U.S.A.

We recently held our Christmas Tea for the Martha Cooper Fund, which raised money for our Imagination Workshop programs. We are very grateful to Lisa Russ of the Chicago Rotary Club for her support in organizing this event.

At our most recent Board meeting, there was a changing of the guard as Sharilyn Lacy stepped down from her position as Secretary of Still Point’s Board of Directors. Shari served on our Board for six years, first as President and then as Secretary, and we are very grateful for her many years of service. Meanwhile, we welcomed KellyAnn Corcoran to the Board. A talented writer and performer, KellyAnn has worked with Still Point in various artistic capacities, and is an enthusiastic supporter of our mission. We are thrilled to have her step into this position!

THANK YOU AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO OUR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS! As the year winds down, we wish to extend a warm “thank you” to all of our friends and supporters. Whether you give a little or a lot of your time and/or money to Still Point, we know that we could not exist without you. We wish you a very Happy Holiday, full of creativity, community, and connection!

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