A Word From
the Editor

Welcome to Issue No.3 

of smART


Michael Zarathus-Cook
by Kalya Ramu

It’s a very exciting time for us as our parent company, Lighthouse Immersive, has just opened a new branch in Chicago, launched with the eminently successful Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. This expansion begins a five-year residence at the historic and architecturally stunning Germania Club building. Like the 1 Yonge Street location in Toronto, this space will be an all-purpose outlet for Lighthouse Immersive’s artistic projects and groundbreaking productions for years to come. Likewise, smART Magazine too is an all-purpose virtual outlet for both the projects presented by Lighthouse Immersive and the vibrant communities which we are a part of. In that spirit, Issue No.3 is a full-throated celebration of our arrival into Chicago’s storied arts scene. 

To begin this celebration, we want to share with you the incredibly inspiring conversations we’ve been having with some of the visionary leaders and audacious thinkers that make Chicago’s arts sector so unique. It is this eclectic assembly of organizations, big and small, that Lighthouse Immersive now joins with the bold and imaginative ideas. You’ve heard it over and over again: the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges in the arts. That is no doubt true. What is also true is that leaders in the arts industry are uniquely capable of meeting these challenges with novel initiatives and innovative programming. For Issue No.3, we’ve curated a select list of organizations in Chicago that are adapting to the changes brought on by 2020, in order to thrive in 2021 and beyond. 

Toronto is often described as ‘the New York of Canada’, but after being a fly on the wall to the incredible conversations between our writers and these arts leaders, I realized the many ways in which Toronto is more similar to Chicago than New York. Like Chicago, Toronto too is a city of neighbourhoods, and the true value of an arts organization can be measured in its ability to unite different neighbourhoods in an experience of beauty. In this way, Lighthouse Immersive’s new home in Chicago is simply a natural extension of the company’s successful start in Toronto. 

So we hope you’ll accept our invitation to celebrate the meeting of the new and the historic in Chicago. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these conversations, and the ways in which they inspired your search for artistic experiences now and in the future. 

Michael Zarathus-Cook
Toronto, Canada
February 2021