Public Program

  • Reside, Radiate, Reflect: Ragdale Ring Design-Build Residency and the Sybil Shearer Studio

SPORTS, Ragdale Ring performance: ROUNDS, 2016, Lake Forest, IL. Courtesy of the artists.

Ragdale presents the seventh international Ragdale Ring competition, and the new Sybil Shearer Studio for dance—the first new, permanent structure on the Ragdale campus in 30 years. These projects explore intersections of history, architecture, original performance, and public investigation. The Ragdale Ring competition invites experimental reinterpretations of Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1912 Ring as a temporary, open-air environment. This annual competition provides a team of ten—including artists, architects, landscape architects, and designers—with the opportunity to devise and construct a 200-seat performance venue within the context of a fully supported design-build residency on the historic Ragdale campus. Similarly, the new Sybil Shearer dance studio reinvents modern dance master Sybil Shearer’s original studio in Northbrook as a new laboratory for contemporary dance residencies on the Ragdale campus. Opening activities for both projects include professional documentation, the commissioning of new, site-responsive performances, public programs, and inclusive exchange.

Jeffrey Meeuwsen, Ragdale’s executive director since 2012, is an arts leader, curator, and an award-winning mixed-media artist. Prior to joining Ragdale, he served for ten years as the executive director of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, one of the nation’s largest noncollecting contemporary arts centers. He led the institution in presenting more than 350 curatorial projects as well as arts education programs honored at the White House. Meeuwsen was also the founding executive director of ArtPrize, the world’s most attended arts festival. He holds an MFA in visual arts, a BFA in sculpture and studio furniture, and a BBA in marketing and graphic design.

The jury includes: Zurich Esposito, Ginger Farley, Ellie Abrons, Allison Newmeyer and Stewart Hicks (Design With Company), Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich (Bittertang), and David Woodhouse.

The Ragdale Foundation nurtures artists in a retreat setting and makes the arts more accessible to the public. This is accomplished through three core program areas: the artists’ residency program, preservation and interpretation of the historic site, and community outreach programs.