Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alum Kerry Reid in the Chicago Reader: ‘Artists Did What They Always Do Best: They Improvised and Collaborated’ in 2020

Kerry Reid

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Kerry Reid ’87, the theatre and dance editor of the Chicago Reader newspaper, eloquently and insightfully assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Chicago’s performing arts world in her year-end wrapup for the Reader.

“This is my last column for the year, and in place of writing some variant on ‘The Future of Chicago Theater: Are Artists Ready to Return to the Stage?,’ I thought this might be a good time to acknowledge the many ways the performing arts community in Chicago took care of itself and others in 2020, even as the official neglect and virulent incompetence of the outgoing administration found new lows,” Reid wrote in her article “Looking Back in Gratitude,” published December 31, 2020.

“I’m on record that going back to ‘normal’ is the last thing the theater and dance worlds need to be doing right now, though I understand why ‘normal’ sounds so very appealing after this dumpster-fire-inside-a-dystopian-novel-wrapped-in-a-shit-burrito of a year. Chicago theater and dance in particular rely upon a lot of independent contractors and volunteers at the best of times, and that fiscal model has always left a lot of artists out in the cold financially, without reliable insurance and access to unemployment benefits. The pandemic has been unimaginably damaging to so many in the arts sector, and underscores why we need bold leadership to fund the arts (especially individual artists) at the national, state, and local levels. But in the vacuum of national leadership, the artists did what they always do best: they improvised and collaborated,” she added, before going on to highlight the efforts of Chicago performing arts individuals and organizations to continue producing creative and impactful work while navigating the pandemic. To read the complete article, click here.

Reid, who has been the Reader’s theatre and dance editor since June 2019, has been a critic and arts journalist for more than 25 years, including many years with the Reader and the Chicago Tribune. In addition to being a Columbia College graduate, she has taught “Reviewing the Arts” in the Columbia College Chicago English Department.

The Chicago Reader, founded in 1971, is Chicago’s leading and longest-lived alternative publication, nationally respected for its political and cultural coverage.