Rooted in the Arts Marks New Milestone for ITA Fundraising Efforts
Evanston’s retiring Mayor, Elizabeth Tisdahl was acknowledged for her outstanding service to the community on April 28, 2017 at the Institute for Therapy through the Arts’ 1st annual celebration: Rooted in the Arts. The event, emceed by NBC-5’s Christian Farr, paid tribute to Tisdahl’s many achievements during her eight years as mayor as well as her commitment to service and the youth of Evanston throughout her 37 years as a resident of the city.
The Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing creative arts therapies (art, dance/movement, drama and music) to nearly 1,000 clients every year.
During the benefit, ITA staff honored Mayor Tisdahl’s accomplishments through a humorous musical performance which the Mayor described as the best introduction she has ever received in her lifetime. The Lamplighter Award for the Arts in Healing was presented by Angela Allyn, Community Arts Coordinator for the City of Evanston and member of the ITA Board of Directors.
Allyn shared her deep appreciation for the mayor’s service: “As a community youth worker and more importantly, a mom in this community, I have been a witness to and beneficiary of Mayor Tisdahl’s deep commitment to the youth of Evanston, and especially to her fostering creative outlets and nurturing environments for every young person in town.”
“The person chosen for the Lamplighter award has become an example of excellence through the artful wielding of their own creative flame. Not stopping at their own personal accomplishments, this person has used their fire to become a Lamplighter, fueling the lights of others to shine,” said Jenni Rook, ITA Executive Director. “We were honored to acknowledge the mayor for all she has done for Evanston’s youth and the arts community.”
ITA established the Lamplighter Award in 2015 when the organization celebrated its 40th anniversary. The first recipient of the award was Carrie Ann Inaba of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars who was honored for her advocacy on behalf of the field of Dance/Movement Therapy.
ITA was also pleased to honor Dr. Michael Thaut with the new Marilyn Richman Legacy Award for his contributions to the field of music therapy. A pioneer in his dynamic and developing field, Dr. Thaut has worked tirelessly to promote music therapy as a serious alternative for traditional medicine. He has contributed extensively to the field through his research, publications, and the training of students and professionals. Named for ITA’s founding director, The Marilyn Richman Legacy Award honors individuals who have dedicated their careers to advancing creative arts as a therapeutic profession.
Still very much on its outset, ITA is a newly-established nonprofit, separating in the fall of 2015 from the Music Institute of Chicago (where it opened its doors in 1975). Rooted in the Arts was the very first celebration hosted by the organization as an independent nonprofit, successfully raising over $17,000. ITA’s funding provides discounted services to families who cannot afford to pay full fees. So far this year, ITA has raised more than $35,000 in individual donations.
“Last year, we gave over $50,000 in the form of reduced therapy fees to families of low income. 20% of our clients are not able to afford to pay for therapy, and we are very grateful to our donors who allow us to offer therapy on a sliding scale for these families,” says Rook.
Rooted in the Arts featured performances by two ITA clients who were able to demonstrate how the creative arts therapies had impacted their lives. Karen Baumann spoke about her daughter’s experience with severe anxiety and Autism, saying, “We tried traditional talk therapy with social workers/psychologists, equine therapy, exposure therapy, and many, many others, all of whom stated that they understood how to interact with someone on the Autism Spectrum and knew how to help her. Every one of those sessions ended in frustration, disappointment and further anxiety for Laura.”
“I still don’t know how it works…but I can tell you that after about 8 or 9 months of weekly appointments we started to notice that Laura was better able to communicate with us verbally without the same level of frustration she exhibited before. She also has more confidence and patience with us when communicating verbally…Music therapy with ITA has been the only therapy that has worked for Laura.”
To learn more about how you can become involved in supporting our mission, visit www.itachicago.org/support-ita.