How Art is Getting Us Through the Pandemic—with Cortney Lederer

Can you imagine enduring the pandemic without music, without film, without art? This week, curator and educator Cortney Lederer challenged us to think about how art is essential and how it can connect communities when we’re feeling most distant. 

When you’re done watching the soapbox, learn more about CNL Project’s inspiring work and how art brings communities together at https://www.cnlprojects.org/work.

We’re living through a distinctly challenging time. It all demands we re-learn our engagement with one another. Art is one of the critical navigation tools we need to do that.

—Cortney Lederer

About Cortney

Cortney Lederer is an art advisor, project manager and educator with twenty years of experience managing an array of artistic programming for organizations and businesses. From 2011–14 she served as the Director of Exhibitions and Residencies at the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), where she designed and managed its two residency programs: BOLT Residency and HATCH Projects. In June 2014, Cortney launched CNL Projects (CNL) to provide artists and organizations with a platform to creatively produce impactful art experiences. CNL’s work is deeply centered on her unique, collaborative approach to working with artists, clients, businesses and organizations to advocate for the value of art and culture in our daily lives. CNL has worked with notable organizations such as 3Arts, Belgravia Group, Chicago Artists Coalition, DePaul Art Museum, EXPO Chicago, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, LinkedIn, Wilson Sporting Goods, PurePoint Financial, Hyatt Hotels and EQ Office/Willis Tower. At the onset of the pandemic, CNL launched ART- IN-PLACE where 400 artists from around the world activated their homes with works of art to share with their neighbors and through a virtual platform. This collective action provides artists and community members with a sense of hope and connectivity through the experience of public art. Most notably, CNL Projects, curated the globally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson’s stunning installation, Atmospheric wave wall, on the Jackson Blvd. exterior wall of Willis Tower. After three years, this permanent sculpture was announced in January of 2021. Cortney is faculty in the Arts Administration and Policy department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and provides professional development workshops and individual consultation to artists.

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