We’ve had an amazing ten years in business and it’s all thanks to our fantastic clients and supporters. We’ve had some great times and created incredible memories. We began a countdown of our top ten favorite moments last week. Below are the final five! Want to help us make some more? Be sure to join us for FanFair: Catalyst Ranch’s 10th Anniversary Party by RSVPing here.
5. Expansion to the 4th floor (2005)
After being in business for two years, we saw a great demand for our creative atmosphere. So much that the three rooms we had (the Polka, the Tango, and the Cha Cha) simply weren’t enough! So in 2005 we expanded up to the fourth floor, with additional meeting rooms on the east side of the building (the Mambo and the Jitterbug) and additional office space for our Marketing and Client Services teams on the west in 2006. As the years went on, we got more requests to host focus groups, so we expanded even further! We added the Foxtrot, which sits adjacent to the Mambo as a client observation room. And when it’s not being used for a focus group, the Foxtrot is perfect for groups under ten.
4. Rip Roarin’ Rodeo
For our 8th Anniversary Party, the Rip Roarin’ Rodeo was an absolute blast! We had five musical acts (including a Ranch Hand Band and a Manager Cabaret), carnival style games from Celebration Authority, delectable cuisine from Big Delicious Planet, Flip Crepes, Desiree Chocolates, Flirty Cupcakes and a silent auction to raise funds for the Greater Chicago Food Depository! Check it out:
Another huge step in our journey as the center for creativity and innovation was the start of our collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago. In an effort to diversify our offerings to our clients, we developed Art-Work, a program that takes creative ideation and teambuilding one step further by immersing the attendees at the Art Institute before they return to the Ranch and participate in some creative exercises of their own. With the famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte” by George Seurat as our center piece, we hosted a launch party as only the Ranch can! Using the Seurat painting as a centerpiece, we recreated a living version of it at the party, with professional actors then performing songs from Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitizer award winning musical Sunday in the Park with George. Our friends from Actors’ Gymnasium came and performed acrobatics throughout the space and out in front on the sidewalk where a fire breather stopped traffic.
2. Harmony Hope and Humanity (2011)
When the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, millions were left displaced and devastated. The first day it hit, we were shocked and upset by it, but rather than just sit back and watch the disaster from afar, we decided to contribute the best way we knew how: throwing together a fundraising event. With our space full for the month of March, we had to move quick if we were going to make our cabaret fundraiser “Harmony, Hope, Humanity” happen. For the event, we gathered catering donations from Big Delicious Planet and Crown Royal. For the performance, we recruited Chicago’s top Asian American talent, including Broadway performers Joseph Anthony Foronda (Miss Saigon, Pacific Overtures) and Emily Morales (South Pacific.) Rounding out the performances were Christina Bunuan, Erik Kaiko, Jillian Jocson, and yours truly, with music direction by the incomparable Jaclyn Rada. Through all the generous contributions by these companies, performers, and the community, we were able to raise $5400 to aid the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for Japan! Check out just a couple of the amazing performances:
Joseph Anthony Foronda singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miserables
Emily Morales singing “I’d Give My Life For You” from Miss Saigon
To see more moments from the event, click here.
1. Under A New Moon (2011)
So rarely as a small business do you get to be a part of something historic. When we started hosting special events, we knew that this would be a venue for all couples! So when it was announced last year that Illinois would legalize same-sex civil unions on June 2nd, we wanted to celebrate the occasion! We partnered with life-cycle celebrant Anita Vaughn and many caterers and vendors to present Under a New Moon. At the stroke of midnight on June 1st, six beautiful couples were granted the ceremony and reception of their dreams, being the first in Illinois to celebrate their legally recognized same-sex union. We were truly honored to be a part of a historic event that will bring us one step closer to equality in Illinois.
Thank you so much to every employee, friend, client, attendee, bride, groom, planner, facilitator, caterer, vendor, administrative assistant, and OH SO MANY people who have made our 10 years as Chicago’s creative meeting and event space a success! We hope to see as many of you as possible at our party tomorrow !