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MoMing Dance and Arts Center records

Identifier: Dance-MS-MoMing

Scope and Content of the Collection

Records of the performances and art exhibitions at MoMing, as well as records of the management of the Collection and of the school.

Administrative records include Board of Directors minutes, fact sheets and marketing about the organization, and information about the staff. Development files outline the fundraising efforts of the group. Financial records indicate budgets, expenses and earnings, and everyday costs of running the organization. Performance files, the largest series in the collection, document each production staged by the MoMing group, from the first to the last. Publicity records include clippings, fliers, and programs. The Gallery and School series document the art exhibits in MoMing's gallery space and the efforts and membership of teachers and students in the classes, respectively. Photographs and Audiovisual Series include both promotional material from the house and visiting groups, and documentation of performances at MoMing. There are a few artifacts, including some artwork and a paper fan made out of "Dance for $1.98" fliers.


  • Creation: 1968-1991
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1974-1990



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The MoMing Dance and Arts Center records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The MoMing Dance and Arts Center records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

History of The MoMing Dance and Arts Center

Chicago contemporary arts venue and collective.

In 1974 a group of seven artists, five being modern dancers, choreographers and teachers of dance, established the MoMing Collection, providing a central location within the city of Chicago for the exploration of contemporary dance. The name MoMing was inspired from the Chinese expression for "nameless" or "too beautiful to be named." The space occupied by MoMing was at 1034 West Barry Street, in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood; it had been a social hall for the nearby Resurrection Lutheran Church, and MoMing rented the space from them. From the beginning, the co-founders fulfilled a need in the Chicago dance community by opening a school of dance and by bringing in avant-garde guest artists to perform and teach. Over the years, MoMing brought together and saw numerous collaborations between dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, visual artists, performance artists, poets, singers, and others. The founders also introduced "clowning," a form of street art where dancers as clowns interacted with unsuspecting crowds at public events.

In 1977, after all other co-founders left MoMing, Jackie Radis stayed on, providing artistic leadership, guiding the continuation and growth of MoMing's artistic programs. MoMing struggled financially throughout its existence, and Radis with her small staff wrote grants and put on fundraisers constantly. Despite the hardships of keeping a performance space, art gallery, and school solvent, MoMing did manage to bring in many important artists from all over the country as well as showcase the talent in Chicago. To compound the financial woes of filling seats for non-traditional programming, the national climate in the 1980s made it more difficult to get grant funding for controversial artists. In addition, the Lakeview neighborhood was gentrifying, and in the end MoMing's space, for which they raised money to purchase from the Lutheran Church, was sold to a real estate developer for a higher price. Radis remained in various job titles as the main director of MoMing until 1988, when she announced she was going to take a sabbatical in 1988. The board hired Peter G. Tumbelston as a temporary replacement, who became permanent in 1989 when Radis announced that she was not coming back to Chicago (she had relocated to New Mexico). Tumbelston attempted to keep MoMing going, but working with an ongoing deficit combined with his poor health and the loss of the performance space led to the company's demise. MoMing officially closed in February of 1991; Tumbelston died from complications due to the AIDS virus in 1992.


60 Linear Feet (111 boxes, 9 record cartons, and 4 oversize boxes)

3 Linear Feet (audiovisual materials including VHS, open reels, phonographic records, and audiocassettes. )


MoMing was a center in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood for dance training and avant-garde performance as well as an art gallery. It was formed in 1974 by Jackie Radis, Jim Self, Susan Kimmelman, Eric Trules, Kasia Mintch, Tem Horowitz, and Sally Banes. Along with local artists, it hosted many guest dancers and artists of renown, including Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones, Mark Morris, and Meredith Monk. It officially dissolved in 1991.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Administrative, 1974-1991
Boxes 1-17
Series 2: Development, 1975-1991
Boxes 18-32
Series 3: Financial, 1974-1991
Boxes 33-52
Series 4: Performance Files, 1974-1990
Boxes 53-83
Series 5: Publicity, 1974-1991
Boxes 84-105
Series 6: Gallery, 1975-1990
Boxes 106-107
Series 7: School, 1975-1990
Boxes 108-115
Series 8: Photographs, 1968-1990
Boxes 116-120
Series 9: Audiovisual, 1981-1990
Audiovisual boxes (restricted)
Series 10: Artifacts, 1977-1988
Box 124
Series 11: Oversize, 1975-1989
Boxes 125-127

Collection Stack Location

3a 49 2-5


Gift, MoMing Dance and Arts Center, 1991.

Processed by

Catherine Grandgeorge, Alison Hinderliter, Samantha Smith, and Sarah Welch, 2016.

Inventory of the MoMing Dance and Arts Center records, 1968-1991, bulk 1974-1990
Catherine Grandgeorge, Alison Hinderliter, and Samantha Smith.
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-01-17: Audiovisual materials have been permanently removed from the collection for preservation. Access to the original audiovisual items is restricted.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States