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.