More of Chicago’s Luminaries On What Makes the City Hot

"Hell yeah! Absolutely. I couldn’t do what I’m doing if I lived in any other city. We’re more out to make work together as opposed to leave one another in our dust." — Megan Stielstra, 2nd Story director of story development

“Hell yeah! Absolutely. I couldn’t do what I’m doing if I lived in any
other city. We’re more out to make work together as opposed to leave
one another in our dust.” — Megan Stielstra, 2nd Story director of story development


“Chicago is very many things but most importantly it’s probably not
what you think is. I hope that the rest of the world doesn’t realize
how good we have it here. It’s still small enough where you can really
enjoy life for what it is yet you still have enough people to make it
interesting and vibrant.” — Steven Rosengard, Project Runway contestant

“In New York, I’d be out of business. My people are in the Midwest,
eating corn, taking it easy. They’ve got five hours to spend on dinner,
and they want a whole symphony tied in with it.” — Homaro Cantu, executive chef of Moto

“There are other cities in the world when you could say I heart blank
city. You don’t really see those shirts in Chicago. The city has
humility. It’s happy to be what it is and because of that you’re
allowed to be more inventive. You don’t feel like you’re in the
spotlight all the time, so you’re allowed to fail. And that’s where the
best art comes from. There are all these strange, wonderful things
going on beneath the surface.” — Joe Meno, author

“Chicago is compassionate. We have a lot of people here from other
places and they make Chicago interesting. I like not just that there is
a mix but that they mix. Here, they come together as people.” — Mona Purdy, founder of Share Your Soles

“People like to create here. We create in theaters, in universities, in
concert halls, in basements, any place that we can use, we use it. I
think Chicago is a place that really likes to go beyond boundaries,
redefine what boundaries can be. In Chicago people don’t really give a
shit if you like something. It’s not belligerent or stand-offish here;
it’s just an attitude of: We dig it, hopefully you will too.” –– Henry Godinez, Goodman Theatre resident artistic associate and director of the Latino Theater Festival

“Ha! Who said that? Well, I live here. And George Saunders was born here so I don’t know what else needs to be said.” — Elizabeth Crane, author


“There are tons of folks making street art, like billboards, paste-ups,
and wooden cutouts that they screw up on abandoned buildings, so even
when you are walking down the street you are involved in the scene.
Everyone is less focused on being number one, and more focused on just
being able to make a living doing what they love.” — Dolan Geiman, designer

“Chicago is progressive and its theater scene is like no other. At Red
Moon Theater they basically put theater in a box, throw it up in the
air and watch it crash to the ground. Then it floats beautifully
throughout the audience. The city supports artists who think outside
the box.” — Katrina Markoff, owner of Vosges Haut-Chocolat

“Art thrives in Chicago. There are great museums, art schools, music
venues, live theatre. It’s easy to be creative when you are immersed in
such an artistic atmosphere.” — Tom Higgenson, lead singer of Plain White T’s

“I think there are certain factors that give people the incentive to
want to contribute more creatively, one being a reasonable place to
live and two being an influx of people with creative ideas, and Chicago
is starting to have that same appeal. If you are an artist, you feel
that Chicago is a place that you can go and create and people will
respond to it.” — Jeff Mills, house musician and owner of Gamma Player boutique

“People talk about Chicago as being a cluster of hundreds of different
neighborhoods. You’re able to find a small town feel within a big town
setting and because of that I think there’s an awareness and a concern
for the community and the people around you.” — Mae Hong, Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women

“You won’t get rich or famous here so the work might as well be great.
There aren’t the distractions of fame or money that get in the way of
work, work, work.” — Amy Morton, Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member