Meet Whitney! I have been so overwhelmingly excited to share this one. Whitney and I went to both the same high school and college, and I’ve always thought she was seriously the coolest (and still do!). She is artistic and inspiring, eclectic and invigorating. I’ve always admired her artistic ability, the way she captures real moments in writing and in photo form and the way that her tattoos tell her own personal story. Although slightly older than myself, it was by the grace of social media that I was able to watch from afar as Whitney moved to Chicago shortly after college graduation. Chicago was always an aspirational city to me, so I followed along closely on Whitney’s adventure as she took on the city, and she did it so incredibly well. So well, in fact, that she truly made Chicago her home, and most recently, she opened The Martin – a flexible events and performance space, aiming for ideas to land, big or small. Already, they’ve hosted community yoga classes, shared meals, small concerts and other opportunities for gathering and community under one roof in its urban Chicago neighborhood. I love everything that this stands for, and I admire the strength and motivation of the women behind it. I hope you enjoy reading more about Whitney and her story below!
Name: Whitney Currier
Company: The Martin
Currently Located: Chicago
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Efficient, Sarcastic, Thinker.
Describe your business and what you do:
The Martin is a flexible event & performance space in Chicago that I founded along with my friend and absolute lady power force Lora Miller. We are both producers that have worked for years in the city- and a consistent and available venue was always the biggest struggle in making the ideal event. So, now we have a space to not only make art whenever and however we want within our own walls, but we have a home that we can open our doors to other artists to create as well. We aren’t just looking for a paycheck, but to rather build a community- so we keep that in mind with every unique contract and offering. It’s a big city with a lot of talent, ambition and drive, and we want to feed as much of it as we can within everyone’s means.
How did you start in this field?
I moved to Chicago in 2009 after graduating from college to pursue theatre. I acted in various storefront theatres for close to six years before I chose to fully step away and see what else was out there for me creatively. I tried my hand at playwriting, stand up comedy, performance poetry and producing events and the events were what stuck. I started a company called Wirehouse Co. which was my first foray into hosting multifaceted art events. It was also my first exposure to throwing gallery shows and featuring visual artists in any shape and form. I met so many talented and incredible people and it felt so natural and easy to support them, pay them, thank them, and continue to work with them again. I knew I wanted to take it a step further so I started aggressively saving money from a sales job I was in and eventually left in order to open more time in my schedule to make my dream happen.
Did you know that this was something you always wanted to do?
I’ve known I’ve wanted to do something creative, but that has always been nebulous. I love performing for people- whether that be from a stage, in a conversation or at my job now as a server. I like to be entertained and to entertain- and have always been able to have some aspect of that in my gigs along the way. When I pursued theatre as a degree I didn’t know what I’m doing now was really an option or a path I was aiming for- I just knew I liked to perform and was confident in my ability to do so. Now I get to combine my passion for performance and creativity with my natural type-A tendencies to run this business.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully challenged and happy. More tattooed. Still entertaining. And hopefully over my fear of flying.
What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?
My only dream jobs as a little girl were either a veterinarian or a professional reader because I was a lonely shy girl whose best friend was her dog. I abandoned the vet path when I realized it wasn’t just about petting dogs. Still open to being a professional reader, so give me a call if you need one, universe!
In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?
My mother often recounts a story about a middle school experience I had, surrounded by a group of girls in a hallway when one of them (whose birthday it was), handed out friendship bracelets to everyone in the group but me. I went home and cried and cried, declaring that I’d never have female friends (which she knew wasn’t true) and mostly stuck to hanging with boys throughout my teenage years. Now as an adult I have cultivated the most amazing female friendships that I could have never imagined as that sad rejected hallway girl. If I inspire women in any way, it’s because I surround myself with inspiring women. Everyone I have around me is endlessly supportive of my ideas and has come out to some of the best (and absolute worst) performances and productions I’ve been a part of for years. I’ve pulled them into projects outside of their comfort zones and asked for their help and support and they’ve always shown up and they’ve always pushed and encouraged me to keep going. Success can’t exist in a silo and I am massively who I am today thanks to the women who I have known over the past ten years.
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
Chicagoans. I’ve lived here for nine years and every year I add vastly interesting, hard working, impactful people to my arsenal. Our winters are long and challenging and our summers are hot and brief and the people never stop. We slog through feet of snow for rehearsals and gatherings, we run through the rain to duck in for dinner, we roast in the sun to experience music and art. Chicago challenges us to stay. She’s beautiful and she’s harsh and the people who stay and fight for it don’t have to discuss that because it’s just second nature. The city provides so much and it’s inhabitants are so big in so many ways.
If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?
I would get blindingly drunk with Annie Clark (St. Vincent) in New York. I’d make her choose every place we go and hope that we’d end up somewhere excellently weird.
What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)?
My summer album is LONER by Caroline Rose – I was introduced to her right as summer kicked off by one of my best friends and I really haven’t stopped listening to it since. It’s mad catchy, silly, and just downright feel-good. Drive around with your windows down to this one and I dare you not to feel so great.
My bicycle is currently one of my favorite things. It’s a somewhat vintage Trek bike that I’ve had for several years now that never got proper use. This year after the weather started to break I got on my bike and never stopped. Riding through the city is magic and a special alone, silent time for myself. I highly recommend cruising around on a bike to anyone, anywhere.
My other favorite thing right now is the Co-Star Astrology App. Same pal who got me into LONER sent this my way and it’s incredibly detailed and gives you daily updates. I’ve gotten a few friends on it as well and you can read about your compatibility to each other. It just feels like a nice little hug from the stars every day to read and I recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in astrology.
Photo by Emmy Star Brown
Photo by Nick Gerber Photography
Here are all of the platforms where you can find The Martin and all of the awesomeness going on there:
I hope you had fun getting to know Whitney and the work she’s doing at The Martin alongside her business partner, Lora! If you’re in the Chicago area, check this place out. I can’t wait to do so next time we’re in town.