What Our Patrons Say...
A National Treasure Smack Dab In The Middle Of Black Chicago
eta Creative Arts Foundation was incorporated in April 1971, as a nonprofit, tax exempt organization. Now recognized as one of Chicago's leading African American cultural performing arts institutions, eta has garnered a national and international reputation for the quality of its artistic product, its management, volunteer leadership and community involvement.
After years of "vagabonding", eta took the first step in establishing permanent cultural arts institution when it purchased and renovated the facility at its current location -7558 So South Chicago Avenue. The building has a 200-seat theater, a library, community room and art gallery, workshop and office space.
Over the years of its history, eta has produced over 180 mainstage productions of new works by Black writers: 98% are world premieres and over 50 productions of plays are for children. Annually, more than 350 students, children, teens and adults are enrolled in the professional training program and over 200 performers and technicians are contracted to work in the productions. The institution maintains a visual arts gallery; conducts arts in education programs in elementary schools, year round; conducts a Readers Theater, and a seven-week summer cultural arts day camp.
eta Creative Arts Foundation has been given over 120 prestigious awards by a variety of groups, locally and nationally, in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the arts. It has been particularly touted for its work with writers through the Playwrights Discovery/Development Initiative which brings the storyteller into the collaborative process of theater to develop a body of Black literature for our stages within a paradigm of what Black theater can and should be.
Since eta is the first African American cultural and performing arts institution in the nation to establish an endowment - a fund for the future and has acquired additional land adjacent to its current facility for expansion and development, its future into the 21st century and beyond seems assured.
eta Creative Arts Foundation has a 26 member Board of Directors, which is actively involved in providing human and financial resources to support the organization. It has a hosst of volunteers primarily engaged in fund raising and support services. The institution is manned by seven full time staff and Fifthteen contracted workers.
Board of Directors
After 40 years as president and producer of eta Creative Arts Foundation, co-founder Abena Joan Brown is stepping down as president. Effective March 1, 2011, Phillip Thomas will assume the position of president/CEO of the non-profit organization, one of the oldest and most prominent African American cultural institutions in the city of Chicago.
A son of eta, Thomas served as its development director from1996-2000.Most recently he was Senior Program Officer of Community Development at The Chicago Community Trust. In that capacity, he focused on developing program priorities, managing the budget and conducting grant application reviews and evaluations.
“This is a full circle moment for me,” said Thomas. “eta is where it all began. I’m honored to have been selected to serve as president and CEO and will do all that’s possible to lead its continued growth."
Phillip Thomas, President/CEO
Runako Jahi, Artistic Director
Kemati J. Porter, Producing Director
Darryl Goodman, Technical Director
Nichelle Weathers, Business Manager
Kenneth Simmons, Building Manager/Photographer
What Our Patrons Say...
How You Can Support eta Creative Arts Foundation
Become a Subscriber to eta's season ofhow u can help five (5) plays. Subscribers are assured of not missing shows they want to see.
Become a Benefactor by joining the Magic Inner Circle. Special benefits come to those who contribute $300 or more a year. Overly and above the tax write-off, special discounts, quarterly newsletters, invitations to special events and their name listed in the stage bills for the season. When your contributions total a minimum of $1,000.00, your name will be permanently engraved on the "Spirit of eta" wall in the lobby.
Join P.A.L., the Parent Activity League, a group that gives ongoing support-fund raising, audience development, recruitment-for the children and teen training and performance programs.
Make a Contribution To eta
- The annual fund for the operating budget
- The endowment fund for the future
- The capital fund for facility and program expansion
Become a Volunteer by assisting with eta's mailing, working in telephone solicitation, ushering and helping with clerical duties. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at (773) 752-3955, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Patronize All eta's On-Going And Special Events
- Mainstage Season productions
- Music Mondays (second Monday of every month at 7:00 P.M.)
- Showfolk (Day-time shows for schools, at 10:00 A.M., available Monday thru Friday )
- Spring Board Benefit
- Gala 2012 (September 8, 2012)
- Enroll in classes, yearly
- Enroll your children in our "Chicago On The Nile" arts camp
- Simply "Spread The Word!"
eta Creative Arts Foundation was incorporated in 1971 as a non-profit, tax exempt organization to provide training and performance opportunities for youth and adults. In the past 40 years, eta has evolved to become a recognized cultural treasure not only in the city of Chicago, but nationally and internationally. The organization has a commitment to the production of new works-to tell our story in the first voice- and to the development of individual artists.
eta programs are vast and diverse in scope toward the goal of strengthening the community culturally and economically. An extensive training program in the performing and technical arts is provided for children (from age 6), teens and adults. Classes include acting, music, dance, lighting, sound, playwriting, stage management, directing, audition techniques for commercials and video taping.
The professional performance program includes a season of four Mainstage productions (plays which have never or seldom been produced) from September to July each year; a Showfolk series of daytime Productions for school aged children 33 weeks of the year with study guides; a Family Performance Series, which features students-children and teens-each Saturday from January through May.
The Visual Arts Gallery showcases the work of outstanding artists both local and national.
Professional Development Workshops for teachers in the use of various Arts disciplines as a teaching methodology are also available. Lane Credit can be earned by attending these workshops.
Since 1992, eta has enrolled 100 six to twelve year olds in "Chicago On The Nile", a seven week summer cultural arts day camp. Slots are in great demand.
In preparation for facility expansion a number of new programs were initiated in 2002-03. Among them is the very popular Music Mondays, bringing "classical jazz" in a cabaret motif back to the south side; book signings; wealth creation and volunteer development workshops and poetry jams.
In the 41 years of its history, eta has produced over 200 productions of new works. Since fiscal year 2000, over 100,000 people annually have participated in eta programs. In any given season, eta contracts with over 190 performers and technical personnel in its mainstage, daytime shows and arts in education programs. Since 2000 over 100,000 have people participated in eta programs.
eta's 26-member Board of Directors is actively involved. Primarily responsible for policy formulation, the Board works through various committees, i.e. fundraising, fiscal oversight, personnel, strategic planning and audience development. eta has over 500 volunteers not only engaged in fund raising but also serves as a cadre of service supporters-ushers, mailing, hostesses and community representatives. eta is manned by six (6) full time staff and fifteen (15) contracted persons as instructors and special assignments.