Two Co-MISSION Fellows as selected annually. These commissions are granted to individual artists who are Chicago based and have received significant awards, residencies and/or accolades for their creative work over the course of their careers. The program is specifically designed to partner with artists who have already completed the initial research and development phase of a new work and are looking for intensive support around the completion and premiere of a new project.

The Program offers:
Six months of rehearsal space in the Links Hall studios from January-June
A stipend of $500 per month over the course of the residency ($3,000 total)
Support of the The Art of Rehearsal Coaching program.
A discretionary stipend to contract a production manager, PR consultant, or dramaturg. ($400 stipend for 20 hours at $20 an hour)
An intensive technical workshop
Free access to performances and discussions at Links Hall
A public works-in-progress showing within the first two months of the Fellowship.
Professional development guidance in marketing and finance from Links Hall’s Staff.
Fiscal Sponsorship at Links Hall for any additional financial needs of the Fellowship Project.
A two-week run at Links Hall to premier the performance in the final two weeks of February.

This is provided in exchange of the artist’s commitment to

Maintain the rehearsal space by wiping down the dance floor at every rehearsal.
Volunteer for several Box Office, and/or front-of-house shifts for Links Hall performances prior to or during their residency.
Join in on Links Hall activities and help out based on their individual skill sets.
Manage their rehearsal schedules.
Utilize the resources of the residency. i.e, rehearse, work with their dramaturge, participate in workshops, be responsive to marketing, scheduling, and production staff inquires.
Credit Links Hall as a commissioner of the work in future presentations.
Fellowships are awarded by Links Hall’s Programing Committee Co-Chaired by Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Julia Mayer.
Calls For proposals take place in the winter and selections are announced in June.


Ayako Kato Profile

Ayako Kato

Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape: Ayako Kato is a 2005 LinkUP Resident Artist, 2007 CDF Lab Artist Award Winner, 2016 RDDI Artist, 2016 Spring High Concept Labs Sponsored Artist, a 2016 Meier Achievement Award Winner and, 2016 3Arts Award Winner in Dance. She holds a certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University, an MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan and a BA in International Studies from Meiji Gakuin University in Japan. She has been an artistic director of Ayako Kato/AUH since 1998, presenting her work in Europe, Japan and the United States.

Influenced by a Japanese view of nature and the philosophy of Tao, Ayako’s ongoing practice is to embody the intangible, the beauty of being as it is, or furyu, literally “wind flow” in Japanese by following “The Way” of nature through movement. For her, like wind swirling through the body, dance is the fundamental force that allows her to think, sense, communicate, and move. Her dance elevates the audience’s sensitivity to recognize gravity and the dignity of life in themselves and others. It encourages the audience to rediscover humanity as nature itself.

Kato’s Co-MISSION Fellowship work focuses on a new dance/movement piece inspired by the score, called “stück 1998,” written by Swiss composer Manfred Werder. Kato’s initial investigation into “Stück 1998,” yeilded “What is Movement?” an exhibition of movement Ayako created and opened in 2016. For this iteration of the project, she strategically combines sound artists and movers to work together while also focusing more on the score itself, actualizing it through movement in order to persevere the more radical aspects of what actually movement can convey, what movement means, and what movement is. She plans to investigate movement as an independent as well as inter-dependent entity in relation to music/sound and everything else.

J’Sun Howard

J’Sun Howard is a Chattanooga native and a Chicago-based dancemaker and poet. J’Sun has recently received the Sybil Shearer Fellowship and residency at Ragdale Foundation, a nomination to participate in an emerging artist laboratory at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), and a 2017 3Arts Award nomination. A 2014 Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum Lab Artist awardee, his choreography has appeared at multiple venues such as Links Hall, Northwestern University, Sonotheque, Lincoln Square Theatre, Insight Arts/Center for New Possibilities, Epiphany Church, Rumble Arts, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Patrick’s Cabaret (MN), and California College of the Arts (CA).

J’Sun’s Co-MISSION Fellowship will work towards the premiere of “Working On Better Versions of Prayers” which creates charismatic space for black boy joy. A poetic testimony that miracles erupt at any moment. A portrait in blue looking an intimacy between men of color, acts of practicing freedom, and radical hope, that is hope directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is, an imaginative excellence.