About Us


As Fr. Bob continued composing The Nature Suite, the idea of using some of this music as background for beautiful video footage of nature became more and more prominent. That idea grew into a period of pondering about the very process of creativity. Where do ideas come from within us? How does the brain bring to fruition a new idea, an expansion or conclusion of an already developed concept? Is it neurological and psychological only? How does God's grace and inspiration come into play for believers? What in the world possesses one to create a new pattern for weaving a tablecloth? Can science alone explain how humans create? Does religious faith play a role in the process? Questions always lead to more questions. The thirst for knowledge and recent research into the process of creativity led to the idea of a possible documentary about creativity.

  After consulting with The Michael Group of Chicago we developed a concept for such a documentary and approached the Chicago PBS affiliate, WTTW. We received a letter of intent from the senior vice president that they would support the concept and now a program about creativity is in the works. The format will include that original idea of using sections of The Nature Suite behind video footage of natural beauty of the United States. Interspersed between those aural/visual segments will be interviews with creative people in the arts and behavioral sciences. In the arts it's easy to see and hear the results of creativity but to hear others like scientists or mathematicians express how their ideas come into being is another thing. There has been very significant research and study done in the behavioral sciences that shed great insights into what the human mind undergoes as it creates. Hopefully these interviews will include some of the more important figures in this field. And the realm of faith has endless possibilities for exploration.

The Nature Suite comes from a Franciscan and as Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecology, our hopes for this film project are rooted in faith and hard work. An online campaign through Kickstarter and a stunning gift from a major donor allowed us to finance the recording and production of the music, a major component of the program. Chiesa Nuova now enters that challenging world of raising the funds needed for a $320,000 production budget for public television broadcast. However, we are confident that goal will be reached through hard work and generosity. The letter of intent from WTTW lends great credence to grant proposals, as does recorded segments of The Nature Suite. If any of Chiesa Nuova's supporters and friends can lend a hand in raising funds, suggest foundations and other sources for grants, please contact Fr. Bob Hutmacher at 312.226.0983. As always, we ask your prayer support. The mission of Chiesa Nuova will continue in exciting new ways through contemporary digital outlets and live productions. Stay with us, friends!



The Franciscan ministry, Chiesa Nuova, bears the name of a Franciscan church in Assisi, Italy where the founder and artistic director, Fr. Robert M. Hutmacher, O.F.M., has lived and done research over the past twenty years.  Our name is Italian for “new church”.  Since September 2, 1997 Chiesa Nuova has been a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in the State of Illinois.  The ministry is guided by a Board of Directors, the spirit of the Franciscan Order and its founder, Francis of Assisi.

We have been presenting public events with performing artists since 1995.   A mounting of the musical Songs of Mother Earth by Robert Hutmacher & Philip Granchi was our first-ever public event, and that was followed by a benefit concert by world renowned bass-baritone, Alan Held, in the Chicago Cultural Center in 1996.  We moved into our present location at 230 South Laflin in January, 1999.  The building is an 1881 carriage house and part of the Jackson Historic District.  This site is accessible for everyone by car or public transportation, which has been a true asset.  Artists who have performed at the Laflin site have been vocalists, string ensembles, actors such as William J. Norris and Dennis Newport, Grammy winning CSO clarinetist John Bruce Yeh and his wife Teresa, vocal groups such as Ngoma Group – a great variety of all performance arts except dance, due to space limitations.  Along with many events here in the Laflin site, we also have presented various artists in other venues around Chicago, such as churches, retirement homes and schools. We've also sponsored artistic events around the Midwest, in Assisi, Italy and Germany.

Help Chiesa Nuova in our Mission to Make Our World More Beautiful

We are very Franciscan in that we rely totally on the goodness of God and the generosity of friends like you who want this ministry for the arts to flourish.  The Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart and Archdiocese of Chicago support our mission; yet their own budget constraints prohibit financial support.  We must “make our needs known” as St. Francis taught us.  Our monthly expenses here at our Laflin site are approximately $2,500 per month.  Artists sometimes perform for a fraction of their normal fee because they believe in the mission of Chiesa Nuova and want to be part of us.  That alone is a wonderful gift.  But we come to you in humility.  Perhaps you can fund an artist’s fee of $300-500, or contribute to printing costs of our newsletters, our monthly web site fee of $150 or expenses that are part of presenting artists from other countries.

Fr. Bob works as a weekend associate in Oak Park, offers workshops, talks and performances that generate some revenue. He wrote and published new liturgical and orchestral works in 2012.  On December 9, 2012 the orchestra I Solisti di Perugia, Sator Duo and tenor Fra’ Alessandro Brustenghi, ofm  performed a concert of his compositions in the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi!  So your donations help us bring God’s beauty to many more than just Chicago area residents; you help spread the Franciscan message of joy and peace far beyond Laflin Street.  We thank you for your generosity and will include you in our prayers, grateful that you believe in Chiesa Nuova’s mission and that you choose to make our world more beautiful. We, as a Board, are very grateful for all your support, both spiritual and financial.  You can definitely make a difference in the lives of many people and fulfill our desire to witness God’s beauty and love through the performing arts by inviting artists and the community to mutually experience the fine arts in a Franciscan atmosphere of hospitality, openness and peace. 

May God bless you always ~ The Board of Directors of Chiesa Nuova

Donations can be sent to:
Chiesa Nuova
230 S. Laflin Street
Chicago IL  60607

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2016 Campaign

Amount Tooltip $50.00