News & Stories

Festival Prepares for Annual Celebration

September 1, 2023 | Noel Morris
People at the Awards Benefit

Festival CEO Paul Winberg laughs with Fellowship alumni Allie Switala, Caitlin Edwards and Kyle Dickson, a 2021 Advocate for the Arts Award honoree.

With the timpani and the music stands tucked safely in storage, the Grant Park Music Festival shifts into off-season mode—and there’s a lot to do. 

On October 10, fans will gather at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park for more of that Festival vibe, with live music, great food, good friends and a joyful community. In preparation, Festival staff drops into high gear. 

The 2023 Advocate for the Arts Awards Benefit honors Chicagoans who’ve made an outsized contribution to our community through support of the arts. This year’s honorees include David Hiller, the Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc., and Caitlin Edwards.

At one time, Chicago attorney David Hiller clerked for Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart. He returned to Chicago where he headed the Tribune Company. Today, he serves on the boards of several organizations including the Field Museum, Chicago History Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Thrive Chicago. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation from 2009-2020. Previously, David was Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Times, following a number of leadership positions at the Chicago Tribune.

Since 1986 the Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc. has been an enthusiastic supporter of cultural institutions throughout the Chicago area. Today the Foundation focuses on expanding access to artistic and cultural experiences for young people throughout the City by organizations such as Grant Park Music Festival, Field Museum, Chicago Opera Theater, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ryan Opera Center, Storycatchers Theatre, and Forward Momentum Chicago.

Classically-trained violinist Caitlin Edwards works as a multi-genre arranger, recording artist, and teacher. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Caitlin studied at DePaul University and settled in Chicago where she won fellowships with both Chicago Sinfonietta and the Grant Park Music Festival. In 2023, she received the Sphinx MPower Artist Grant. Her debut album, “Exhale,” fuses the sound of classical music with the harmonies of gospel and neo-soul. Caitlin is currently a mentor with the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, serves on the Chicago Federation of Musicians board, and performs as an international soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer. 

The Advocate for the Arts Awards Benefit spotlights the many ways our lives are enriched by the tireless efforts of the three honorees. Proceeds benefit the Grant Park Music Festival. 

Learn more about the 2023 Advocate for the Arts Awards Benefit.