Elastic Arts 3rd Annual Benefit

Freedom x Expression = Healing – injustice

Welcome! This is the home of the Elastic Arts 3rd Annual Benefit. Here you can enjoy the benefit stream that takes place September 10th – 12th, bid on silent auction items, read about the artists involved, and most importantly donate to Elastic Arts! Your support will ensure Elastic Arts weathers the financial challenges of COVID and continues presenting innovative experiential music, performances, and art for years to come.



Below is where you may watch the full weekend of activity, but go ahead and click this link to head to our Elastic Arts Twitch page. You can then join in on the chat function which serves as the de facto ‘VIP Room’ or ‘bar’. You will very likely see some friends!


Thanks to Paco Barba of Harmonipan for the poster art



7:00pm CDT – Dustin Laurenzi & Jeremy Cunningham
7:45pm CDT – Mai Sugimoto Trio w/ Joshua Abrams & Isaiah Spencer
8:30pm CDT – Angel Bat Dawid Trio w/ Brooklynn Skye & Anaiet Sivad


7:00pm CDT – Fay Victor (performance + interview)
8:10pm CDT – Deidre Huckabay & Lia Kohl
8:50pm CDT – Cristal Sabbagh, Scott Rubin, Lewis Achenbach


2:00PM CDT – Rebroadcast of Thursday/Friday performances + special presentations from Daniel Wyche, Sam Lewis, and Dr. Adam Zanolini

7:00pm CDT – Allen Moore
7:45pm CDT – Megiapa
8:20pm CDT – Nicole Mitchell Elastic Achievement Award Ceremony
8:30pm CDT – A Word from Dave Rempis & Sam Lewis
8:45pm CDT – Nicole Mitchell presents ‘We Hold the Sway: Women of the AACM’, featuring: Dee Alexander, JoVia Armstrong, Renee Baker, Iqua Colson, Coco Elysses, Alexis Lombre, Nicole Mitchell, Mankwe Ndosi, Shanta Nurullah, Maia, Tomeka Reid, Ugochi, Rita Warford and Ann Ward!
9:20pm CDT – DJ Quicktastic

Artist Bios

Nicole Mitchell
Saturday 9/12 8:20pm CDT

Nicole Mitchell is the recipient of the 2020 Elastic Arts Achievement Award! We will be presenting her with this award and she will present a very special piece for the occasion. In an (unofficial and unsanctioned) celebration of the AACM’s 55th Anniversary, creative flutist/composer and former president of the AACM, Nicole Mitchell, will premiere the artdocuvideo concert entitled: We Hold the Sway: Women of the AACM, featuring: Dee Alexander, JoVia Armstrong, Renee Baker, Iqua Colson, Coco Elysses, Alexis Lombre, Nicole Mitchell, Mankwe Ndosi, Shanta Nurullah, Maia, Tomeka Reid, Ugochi, Rita Warford and…Ann Ward!

Head HERE to read more about Nicole and the Elastic Achievement Award!

Dustin Laurenzi (saxophone) and Jeremy Cunningham (drums)
Thursday 9/10 7pm CDT

Chicago improvisers Jeremy Cunningham (drums) and Dustin Laurenzi (saxophone/electronics) share a common fascination with melody, sound and rhythm that has brought them together in countless configurations since their first meeting in 2012; however, the transparency of the duo setting allows these two like-minded musicians’ voices to shine even more directly. Their latest single “My Greatest Joy Is Everything” is out now on Northern Spy Records.

Angel Bat Dawid trio with Brooklynn Skye (bass) and Anaiet Sivad (piano)
Thursday 9/10 8:30pm CDT

We’re incredibly excited to have the prolific Angel Bat Dawid grace us with a brand new trio for this special occasion. With everything else Angel does, it will surely be through the roof with energy, soul, and musicality. We can’t wait to see what this group brings to the table!

Fay Victor
Friday 9/11 7pm CDT

It’s an absolute honor to have the legendary Fay Victor join us for this year’s benefit. She had planned to come through for Dave Rempis’ Exposure Series, but it was cancelled along with seemingly everything else in 2020. We’re excited that we were able to pivot a bit and have Fay join us for the benefit this year instead where she’ll be performing a solo set and partake in an interview with Elastic Arts Executive Director Dr. Adam Zanolini.

Deidre Huckabay + Lia Kohl
Friday 9/11 8:10pm CDT

Deidre and Lia have been mainstays at Elastic Arts in their curation of the WE Series and will be bringing a brand new piece to the table for this year’s benefit. Much of their work deals with ritual and participatory performance, so they’ll likely be engaging us with something to ponder deeply in these intense and uncertain times. Can’t wait to see what these brilliant friends have in store.

Cristal Sabbagh (dance), Scott Rubin (violin), Lewis Achenbach (live painting)
Friday 9/11 8:50pm CDT

These three have collaborated in different ensembles over the years but this is their first meeting as a trio. Cristal and Scott will perform here on the Elastic Arts stage while we beam the signal to Lewis’ house so he may react in the moment on canvas. There will be multiple pieces through this set that explore the intersections of sound, movement, and canvas.

DJ Quicktastic
Saturday 9/12 9:20pm CDT

We’re beyond ready to party down with this funky Chicago house DJ to close out Saturday night of our benefit! You can see Quicktastic at venues all around town but most recently through some wildly (and surprisingly?) fun digital pandemic dance parties. We may have to stay home, but you can’t keep down the boogie. Let’s dance!

Allen Moore
Saturday 9/12 7pm CDT

Allen has performed all around for Chicago for years, consistently bringing his unique style of turntablism and composition to new levels. In using prepared vinyl records and electronics, Moore explores the intersection of sound important to his upbringing and current life as a Chicagoan, re-contextualizing them into pieces characterized by explorations of volume, dissonance, and silence.

Saturday 9/12 7:20pm CDT

Chicago producer, vocalist, and visual artist Megiapa creates futuristic but warm compositions that envelop the listener in the depths of emotion. They’ll be presenting a solo set for the benefit.

Mai Sugimoto Trio w/ Isaiah Spencer + Josh Abrams
Thursday 9/10 7:45pm CDT

Mai Sugimoto is a saxophonist, composer, and active member of Chicago’s jazz and improvisational music scene. “A compelling performer” with “dry-champagne tone and lyrical lines” (Chicago Tribune), Sugimoto draws inspiration from her upbringing in Japan and her roots in jazz to compose and perform from her unique multicultural experience. Here she will perform in a trio with Isaiah Spencer and Josh Abrams in conjunction with Birdhouse, Inc. Please follow Fred Anderson Park on Facebook to hear about future events:


Click on each individual item to head to the auction or click here to check out the full gallery. Bid to win!

2020 Elastic Arts Achievement Award


Elastic Executive Director Adam Zanolini drove to North Carolina to present Nicole Mitchell with this year’s award! Photo by Calvin Gantt

Elastic Arts Presents the 2020 Elastic Achievement Award to Nicole Mitchell!

The Elastic Achievement Award each year is presented to an individual who embodies the qualities that the organization stands for – artistic excellence, innovation, the defiance of boundaries, contributions to the broader creative community – and whose achievements represent the best of what we hope to make possible by creating space to present creative, adventurous music, art and performance. Members of the Elastic community including staff, board members, curators, producers, and last year’s benefit committee members are asked to submit names for consideration.  Then a vote is taken and a nominee selected.

We are enormously proud to present the Elastic Achievement Award to Nicole Mitchell.  Nicole has been an inspiration to hundreds of Chicago musicians over the last several decades.  A veteran of the AACM’s first all-women’s ensemble, Samana, Nicole went on to serve as the AACM’s first woman president. Through her bold leadership, breathtaking compositions, stunning technique, mentorship, imagination, through her prose and her vision, she has inspired thousands of musicians around the world, spreading the spirit of self-determination and passionate self-definition that characterizes Chicago’s creative music community.

Although she eventually left Chicago to become a tenured Professor at the University of California at Irvine, she continued mentoring many Chicago musicians remotely and also through her program there. She has more recently become the head of the country’s oldest jazz program at the University of Pittsburgh, a position founded by the great Nathan Davis, and then held by the late great Geri Allen.

Nicole’s career has taken her to the heights of acclaim, winning countless awards including the Jazz Journalist’s Flutist of the Year award 7 years in a row! However she has remained committed to Chicago’s music scene, still committed to Great Black Music and the AACM, to mentoring emerging Chicago musicians while celebrating the heritage that makes our city and our community one of the most fertile crucibles for experimental and creative music on planet Earth.

Her commitment to the Elastic community has also been remarkable. Last year, she returned to Chicago to present her tribute to Octavia Butler at Elastic as part of our Afrofuturist Weekend. I had a chance to interview Nicole just before she came to Chicago last October. I wrote a piece about her views on Afrofuturism, which also revealed some of what makes her perspective unique. Follow this link to read the interview.

I personally encountered Nicole Mitchell when she was leading a weekly jam session at the Café Mestizo in Pilsen along with David Boykin and Mike Reed in maybe 2004.  I have never been the same since that day. I faithfully attended all her performances, eventually finding myself in Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge (which I eventually helped Fred move around the corner), learning about the AACM (of which I am now a proud member), eventually discovering the Vision Festival in New York (which I eventually went on to help organize, thus beginning my career as an arts administrator, leading to my position as Executive Director of Elastic). It was not only my career that was launched by an encounter with Nicole Mitchell. Hearing her music, suffused with visionary intentions and healing vibrations, led me to the path that would help me to discover my mission in music and ultimately my purpose on the Earth. I am truly humbled to find myself in a position to present the 2020 Elastic Achievement Award to the great Nicole Mitchell. 

-Dr. Adam Zanolini