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Aurora Theater Uses Grant To Highlight Artists Of Color

Paramount Theatre

A northern Illinois performance theater gives marginalized voices a chance to be heard with its new project.


The “Inception Project” presents virtual readings hosted by Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. It’s made possible with the help of a Healing Illinois grant. 

Paul-Jordan Jansen, the artistic associate for the project, said the grant helps put a spotlight on work done by artists of color.

“It's a way to educate our current audience and a way to expand our audience to other people who may not have seen themselves onstage -- specifically at Paramount or any other organizations," Jansen stated.

Jansen said this is a big step toward inclusion.

Amber Mak is the New Works development director at the Paramount. She said these  virtual readings may prompt community discussions on healing.

"And theater gives us that opportunity in that perspective, to see different ways of seeing the world and understanding people and hopefully have a deeper empathetic view of each other as we go forward, especially in the division that exists," Mak said.   

The Healing Illinois grants are designed to promote racial healing. They have been given to a number of organizations across the state.    

The Paramount’s first reading, “Pretended,” took place Jan.14. It was written by Lanise Antoine Shelley.     

The next free virtual event “Bull – A Love Story” by Nancy García Loza takes place Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. Registration is required for tickets. The story is recommended for ages 17 and older.  

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.