"The Kemper Fellows Program provides an outstanding experience for undergraduates to get a head start on an arts administration career by gaining much-valued, hands-on experience. The program develops new talent for the field while providing arts organizations with the resources to fully mentor these motivated young people."
Amy Iwano, Executive Director,
The Chicago Chamber Musicians
"The future of nonprofit arts organizations, large and small, depends on attracting the best new talent to administer their affairs, to serve as artists and audiences, and to act as advocates, boosters, and financial supporters. Given the shrinking pool of younger people and the increased competition for their attention, action to meet this pressing, and increasingly complex, challenge can no longer be left to a vague future date."
"Involving Youth in Nonprofit Arts Organizations: A Call to Action,"
April, 2007 Prepared by Barry Hessenius
Commissioned by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago and five Chicago area arts organizations collaborate in the Kemper Fellows Program in Arts Management. The goal of the program is to help meet future demand for arts organization leaders by providing mentored internship opportunities in arts management for undergraduate students.

The Kemper Fellows Program in Arts Management

The collaborating arts organizations include Chicago Chamber Musicians, Court Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Ragdale Foundation, and Silk Road Theatre Project. Each organization has received a grant from the James S. Kemper Foundation to support the organizations in providing internships and to provide stipends for student interns.

For over sixty years the James S. Kemper Foundation has gained experience and expertise in helping college students prepare themselves for organizational leadership through experiential education in the Kemper Scholars Program. The Kemper Fellows Program offers the opportunity to put that experience at the service of arts and culture organizations.

The Kemper Fellows Program responds to reports that retirements among leaders of arts and culture organizations in this decade will create a leadership gap. The foundation and the six collaborating organizations will provide internships and mentoring in arts management for college students with the goal of interesting more students in careers in arts management and providing them professional work experiences in the field.

A 2007 study funded by the Hewlett Foundation reported:

"As baby boomers in the arts approach the end of their careers, nonprofit organizations must act quickly to establish a flow of new, qualified, energetic leaders and decision-makers to take their place. This entails both offering new opportunities for youth involvement and also converting that involvement into long-term commitment."

Internships are shaped to respond to the structure and needs of each participating organization. As part of the Kemper Fellows Program, all fellows receive a paid internship and mentoring by their host organization. Kemper Fellows participate in common artistic, social and educational events designed to create a community among the interns and the participating organizations. An annual Kemper Fellows Program Conference gives selected fellows the opportunity to make a public presentation about their educational experience.

Kemper Fellows Internship Application

Internships are awarded by the individual organization in the Kemper Fellows Program. All organizations use a single application form which you can download by clicking here. After you have completed the form, do not send it to the James S. Kemper Foundation. Send it as an email attachment to your first-choice organization. Visit the organization’s website (see following pages for links) to find the proper email address for sending a completed application.

The Five Kemper Fellows Organizations

Clicking on an organization’s logo will take you to its website for information about the organization and internship opportunities.

Chicago Chamber Musicians

Chicago Chamber Musicians

Two Prudential Plaza
180 North Stetson Avenue, Suite 1330
Chicago, IL 60601-6821

Founded in 1986, the Grammy-nominated Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM) enjoys an outstanding reputation for artistic excellence and strong commitment to community service. One of the "indispensables of classical music in Chicago" (The Chicago Tribune) and named 2007 Chamber Ensemble of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras - CCM's ensemble of 15 world-class artists, including resident groups CCM BRASS and the Chicago String Quartet, has toured extensively, has commissioned 13 works from today’s leading composers, and has recorded on the Naxos, Summit, Cedille and Albany labels.

Court Theatre

Court Theatre

5535 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Court Theatre was founded in 1955 at the University of Chicago and produces five mainstage productions annually to an audience of over 40,000. Court Theatre's mission is to discover the power of classic theatre. By reviving lost masterpieces, re-imagining and illuminating familiar texts, and distinguishing fresh, modern classics, Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre, actively expanding the canon of performance-based translations, adaptations and texts. We seek to clarify texts and deem them "classics" because the themes are universal and invoke a personal and participatory experience for our audiences and our artists alike.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

1147 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

Under the dynamic leadership of Artistic Director Jim Vincent, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is among the most original forces in contemporary dance. Critically acclaimed for its exuberant, athletic and innovative repertoire, HSDC’s dancers display unparalleled versatility and virtuosity in performances that inspire, challenge and engage audiences worldwide. Continually expanding its eclectic repertoire with work by leading national and international choreographers, the company also contributes to the art form’s evolution by developing new choreographic talent and collaborating with artists in music, visual art and theatre.

Ragdale Foundation

Ragdale Foundation

1260 N. Green Bay Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Ragdale is an artists' retreat located on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw's 1897 summer home in Lake Forest, IL. The artists' community, which is situated just 30 miles north of Chicago and overlooks 50 acres of prairie, now hosts over 200 emerging and established artists of all disciplines each year. These writers, artists, and composers come from around the country and the world to work and experience Ragdale's remarkable gifts of community, tranquility, and creativity.

Silk Road Rising

Silk Road Rising

The Historic Chicago Temple Building
77 W. Washington St., Pierce Hall
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Silk Road Rising showcases playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds whose works address themes relevant to the peoples of the Silk Road and their Diaspora communities. Through the creation and presentation of outstanding theatre, we aim to promote discourse and dialogue among diverse audiences in Chicago. As Chicago's first ever theatre company dedicated to representing the experiences of such a broad grouping of peoples and regions, we give voice to cultures and experiences long absent on the American stage, and we aim to integrate these voices within the canon of American theatre.