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Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts

Four artists. Four lives. Four struggles. One story.

BEAUTY RISES: FOUR LIVES IN THE ARTS is a moving documentary profile of four Illinois artists whose passionate commitment to their craft illustrates how the arts change lives and strengthen communities. Commissioned to promote the public value of the arts in Illinois and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Illinois Arts Council, the documentary affirms the power of art to transform, give meaning to and sometimes even save an individual's life.

Over a period of four months, the producers follow theater director Laura Wiley as she directs a dance-theatre piece about domestic abuse at Chicago's Albany Park Theatre Project, while undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer; jazz musician Orbert Davis, who composes and premieres music with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and mentors young musicians in his hometown in rural Kankakee County; large scale sculptor Dessa Kirk, who hangs Christmas lights on an installation at the entrance to Chicago's Grant Park, and moves into a new studio after discovering that the backroom of the steel slitting plant where she's been working is bad for her health; and poet Allison Joseph as she attends a writer's retreat near her Southern Illinois home, where she writes and reads new work – her poetry reflects on the challenges of growing up African-American with immigrant parents.

BEAUTY RISES: FOUR LIVES IN THE ARTS interweaves the stories of these artists into one coherent exploration of creativity. It is the emotional story of focused and giving individuals who believe beauty rises to greet them each and every day.

Bonus Material

Read about the documentary production team

Read Body of Work by Allison Joseph, a poem she wrote after watching Beauty Rises for the first time.

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Through exciting, original theater, Laura Wiley and her husband David Feiner devote their lives to teenagers in a Chicago working-class immigrant neighborhood.

Meet composer, arranger, conductor and acclaimed trumpeter Orbert Davis. He wears many hats, but his dedication to young people is at the core of everything he does.

Learn about Dessa Kirk, a large-scale metal sculptor known for her tall, graceful sculptures of the nymph Daphne and giant lilies created from old Cadillacs.

Get to know poet Allison Joseph. For her, attending a college basketball game isn't just recreation. Like many compelling images from everyday life, it inspires her writing.

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Meet the subjects of Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts.


Related Podcasts

Arts/Ed. Podcast

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Poetry/Lit. Podcast

Sculpture Podcast

Theater Podcast

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A band student at Lorenzo Smith Elementary School in Hopkins Park, IL.

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A rehearsal for Albany Park Theater Project's God's Work.

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The production team for Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts. (From left to right) Executive Producer Fawn Ring, Principal Cameraman Tom Siegel, Associate Producer Tracye J. Campbell, Producer Dan Andries, Editor Barbara E. Allen, and Production Assistant Vesna Misoska.


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