The Bridge Over CrossCurrents and How It Fell Through | Letters | Chicago Reader

The Bridge Over CrossCurrents and How It Fell Through 

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To the editors:

Chiori Santiago's story on the Arts Bridge business incubator for arts groups [Neighborhood News, February 12] does an excellent job of telling people about the project as it now exists--here's hoping that the story will lead developing groups toward the resources of Arts Bridge. However, as the project's director for the first eight months of the incubator's incubation period, I wanted to fill in some history and right a misstatement by one of the participants.

When I was signed on as staff of the project, all our plans were formulated to house the facility on the second floor of the late, lamented CrossCurrents. Thom Goodman, CrossCurrents' owner, was a key originator of the idea and a guiding force. When anticipated funding from the State's business incubator program fell through, we were forced to seek other sites and eventually settled in Uptown where the support of the Uptown National Bank has been critical in getting Arts Bridge up & going.

Another unnamed coconspirator in the early days of the incubator was Deborah Birnbaum, executive director of Business Volunteers for the Arts. Her participation in project development makes it doubly ironic that one of the incubator groups indicates they were unable to obtain a BVA volunteer until they joined Arts Bridge. BVA is a great community resource--they try to find appropriate volunteers for all applicant groups, not just for those with perceived clout. In my current position as General Manager of the Organic Theater, the counsel of our BVA volunteer, Paul Peterson, has been instrumental in preparing a comprehensive loan proposal as we refinance our building on Clark Street.

Again, thanks for focusing attention on the incubator. All of us struggling arts groups, small & slightly bigger, need the help of people like Arts Bridge and Business Volunteers for the Arts.

Richard Friedman

General Manager

Organic Theater

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