Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have announced the establishment of the Fifth Star Awards which will honor “exemplary artists and arts institutions.”

The inaugural Awards event is set for Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, with the names of the recipients to be released later this summer. Also to be announced at a later day are the tribute performances to be staged as part of this free public celebration of Chicago’s art, architecture, dance, music and theater legacy.

In a prepared statement, Mayor Emanuel explained: “The Fifth Star Awards honor artists whose work has forever changed and enhanced our city; artists who have made Chicago their muse, their stage and their canvas; artists who have been our ambassadors, bringing Chicago to the rest of the world, and the world to Chicago; and artists who have inspired and mentored new generations of artists who call Chicago home.”

The Awards are being sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company and GCM Grosvenor, with in-kind support from Leo Burnett Chicago, the ad agency that also devised their name.

“Over the years, there have been many ideas proposed for a fifth star on Chicago’s iconic flag,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of DCASE. “These ideas all share one thing in common: They represent a city always in search of new moments of growth, transformation and enlightenment. And while there are no plans to add a fifth star to our flag, we believe there is beauty and magic in the quest for one.”

The Fifth Star Awards will coincide with EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art (Sept. 18–21), and EXPO ART WEEK, a citywide showcase of Chicago’s art and cultural community (Sept. 15–21).

For details, visit or