The Folded Map Project at Rivendell

47 3Arts supporters
$7,900 raised of $6,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 21, 2023
    • 132% contributed

In collaboration with Tonika Lewis Johnson, the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is adapting her Folded Map Project into a live theatrical production. Together, we will add another artistic form to this ground-breaking work that examines segregation and economic disparities on Chicago’s North and South sides. With community support, our hope is to engage even more people with the Folded Map’s message of dismantling inequity.

About This Project

In 2018, Tonika Lewis Johnson launched The Folded Map Project to examine segregation and inequity by using Chicago’s unique “grid system” of street addresses as a focal point. She photographed pairs of Chicagoan residents at their corresponding addresses (e.g. 2500 North and 2500 South), calling them “Map Twins.” Her goal was to invite individuals to understand how our urban environment is structured and its impact on our social networks. After reaching countless people through exhibitions, a multimedia installation, and online presence, the project is now at a perfect juncture to bring these powerful voices and reflection to life onstage.

I met Tonika in 2019. The powerful stories she’s finding and telling—from Chicago’s history to individual residents’ lived experiences—are perfectly suited to theater. Tonika takes inequity out of the abstract and empowers everyday people to join her in making Chicago better. She asks, “What are you going to do about it?” and I am taking up that call to action. Please join me.  

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble's Edgewater home and its “map twin,” Englewood, are at the heart of this unusual new theater project. Earlier in 2023 we convened community members in our respective neighborhoods to gather stories and identify common through lines for our new work of theater. This fall (likely October 2023) we hope to host a three-week development workshop culminating in a public sharing of segments of the work in progress in both Edgewater and Englewood. That’s where you come in.

This campaign will provide vital seed money for this first step with the innovative new script. I will assemble professional artists including Tonika and her writing partner, actors, a director, a stage manager, and designers to explore the new draft script and “get it on its feet” in the workshop. This will help the artistic team develop the script further and also invite community members into this creative process. We plan to repeat these activities—community convenings, workshop, public readings—in 2024 and produce the world premiere of the new play on our Rivendell mainstage in 2025.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    We’ll sing your praises on our social media feeds! ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Your name recognized in Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s printed programs for one year ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    2 tickets to the Fall 2023 "Folded Map" reading (2 dates planned; tickets available for either) ($30.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Personalized “neighborhood twin” recommendations (e.g. suggested businesses and/or activities in in your twin neighborhood) sourced from the Folded Map team, along with guided maps and comments, plus 2 tickets and your name recognized in the program ($80.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    A gift of framed side-by-side photos of your home and the location of your map twin address (or nearest available if relevant), plus 2 tickets and your name recognized in the program ($460.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Walking tour for 2 people of Rivendell's map twin neighborhood (Englewood) led by Tara Mallen, artistic producer Tanya Ward, and Folded Map creator Tonika Lewis Johnson, plus 2 tickets and your name recognized in the program ($930.00 is tax deductible.)

Tara Mallen

William Franklin Grisham Awardee

Tara Mallen is an actor, director, producer, and the founding Artistic Director at Chicago's Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Most recently she was seen on stage in Rivendell’s critically acclaimed production of Motherhouse. Recent stage credits include The Luckiest (Raven Theatre, …

View Tara Mallen's profile
  • Update 1: Working on The Folded Map Project!
    Posted on July 12, 2023


    The core team of artists at work during our first working session of the Folded Map Project at Rivendell.

    So honored to do this amazing work!

    Update 2: THANK YOU!
    Posted on July 19, 2023


    Wow, what a ride! Thank you to our initial supporters who have pushed us so close in such a short period of time.
    Thank you - and please continue to spread the word about the important work we're planning to do with the Folded Map at Rivendell!


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Tanya Ward

    • Andrea Herrera

    • Lisa Dillman

    • Carole Levin

    • Bonnie Tawse

    • Karen O'Connor

    • Glenn Obrero

    • Karen Hott

    • Pamela Crutchfield

    • Susan Noel

    • Marcia Festen

    • Scott Robinson

    • Eva Silverman

    • Andrea McDermott

    • Elvia Moreno

    • Michael Smith

    • Jenni Lamb

    • Nick Obis


    • Nancy McDaniel

    • Jennifer Edwards

    • Margaret Thalken

    • Vandana Ramaswamy

    • Gina Metelica

    • Talayah Stovall

    • Sarah Slight

    • Lois Becker

    • Debbie Frei

    • J D

    • Ginnie Yee-Stratton

    • Sunny Fischer

    • Carolyn Martinez

    • Rebecca Braithwaite

    • Phoegina Brown

    • Jackie Banks-Mahlum

    • Stephanie Frei

    • Wendye Clarendon

    • Cheryl Yuen

    • Joan Callahan

    • Jody Adler

    • Cathleen Dixon

    • Amy Blumenthal

    • Tracy Buschert

    • Azar Kazemi

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Ann Christophersen

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council