MY ART STORY by

Annette Leiber

Addison
Illinois

As a visual artist, the arts have always been my passion since I was young. As I continued my path, the arts remained the center of my life. As a long-time volunteer, advancing the arts as an integral part of the community for children and adults in my community, Addison, IL and the surrounding cities has been my mission.

It all began in 1975 when I was appointed as chairman of the Addison Cultural Arts Development Commission (ACADC) along with six other volunteers to develop arts organizations. After many surveys, it was determined that there was a desire in the community to develop an art guild, a community band and a community and children’s theatre. Thus, we founded each of the organizations that work independently under the auspices of the ACADC, which is under the Village of Addison.

In 1972, I researched and discovered available grants through Illinois Arts Council (IAC); this was the impetus for my grant-writing career as a volunteer. Without grants, our community programs, mainly to children would never have had the opportunity to work with professional artists in all disciplines. Grants from the IAC allowed us to produce programs such as Artists–in-Education residencies (24 in all), the Lyric Opera in the Neighborhoods, multi-cultural, and ballet events-- bringing cultural arts programming to our ethnically diverse community.

For many years the Addison community, a civic and cultural group, longed for a “home for the arts.” In 1986, this group along with the ACADC formed the Addison Center for the Arts. At that time, former Governor James Thompson created the “Build by Design” grant program. With the permission of the Village of Addison, we charged forward with our mission. With the needs and assessments phase completed, we moved on to the next two phases, feasibility and design. The Addison Center for the Arts (ACA) experienced several scenarios and iterations for the center. In the fall of 2010, after a successful capital campaign and equally successful partnership with Village of Addison and Addison School District #88, ACA opened its doors to its new home. Now annexed to Addison Trail High School (ATHS), ACA features its own art gallery, a shared studio theatre, a 1,200-seat auditorium and art classrooms.

Our dreams for a home for the arts has progressed over the past years with support of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA), DuPage Foundation, Dolores Keavy Foundation and local businesses who have made all our programming possible. Recently, the NEA has provided the opportunity to continue programs such as Arts Alive: An After School Program, Lyric Opera in the Neighborhoods and the Salt Creek Ballet Company.

As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to creating quality art programs in order to provide self-exploration, skill development and aesthetic awareness. We strive to empower the creator, performer, audience and consumer as a way to enhance and enrich the world around us.

An education in the arts enriches an understanding of diversity and the multi-cultural dimension of our world. Personal development is enhanced when both children and adults develop their capacities for creative, intelligent and sensitive participation. The arts are not only important because of what they represent but also because the way they empower and develop individual intellectual ability. Looking over the past 25 years as the President of ACA, my passion persists as I continue to create my own art while promoting cultural awareness in the world around us.

BRAVO Annette! Addison Center for the Arts shows your heart. Images courtesy of Addison Center for the Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago Backstage Pass, The Independent, Jeanine Hill- Soldner