Chicago to spend $60 million to boost arts, artists

Arts 77 will focus on employing creative workers through city services and programs.

SHARE Chicago to spend $60 million to boost arts, artists
Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, speaking during a Muddy Waters mural dedication on State Street between Randolph and Washington on Thursday, June 8, 2017, in 2017. Kelly is involved in Chicago’s new arts initiative, Arts 77, that plans to support local artists, creative workers and organizations.

Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Chicago plans to spend at least $60 million to boost the arts and local artists citywide.

The Arts 77 recovery and reopening program will focus on employing creative workers through city services and programs; increase public sector investments in the arts through financing and cultural policy; and expand involvement in the creative and cultural sector across the city’s 77 community areas.

The program was announced Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Chicago Park District.

“Before the pandemic struck, our arts and culture sector was a significant employer and economic driver that generated thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for our city,” Lightfoot said in a news release.

“With this incredible program, we will not only be able to revitalize this critical sector and provide support to our artists, creative workers and organizations, but also place the arts at the center of our city’s recovery efforts.”

Among the new and expanded programs launched Tuesday under Arts 77:

• The new Neighborhood Access Program offers $1 million in grants — up to 40 grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 — for individual communities.

• The new Culture in My Neighborhood initiative supports cultural programming at the Chicago Cultural Center, 18 Chicago Park District neighborhood cultural centers and Chicago Public Library regional libraries.

• Through Chicago Presents, DCASE will provide up to 100 grants of $5,000 to $30,000 for cultural programs that meet public health guidelines in neighborhoods this summer.

• Under a new Artist Response Program, DCASE has awarded six artists and four artist teams $100,000 grants and will give seven arts organizations between $50,000 and $100,000 to be granted to 60 artists.

• The city plans to spend $40 million to upgrade theater, music, dance, and visual art presentation capabilities at the network of cultural centers. It has also added public art into the Capital Plan for the first time, investing $15 million in public art projects over the next five years.

• DCASE has collaborated with the Chicago Department of Aviation for a $3.5 million public art project plan as part of the Terminal 5 expansion project at O’Hare International Airport. Involving 30 local artists, this program is the largest single acquisition of Chicago artists’ works by the city in 30 years.

“Chicago’s arts sector has been decimated by the global pandemic. We have assembled an unprecedented array of resources to bolster our vital arts sector, and today’s announcement is the first of several to follow,” said Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The Latest
Police say Audrey Hale bought weapons legally, hiding them from their parents. Hale did not target the victims but did target the school and planned the attack carefully.
“Our downtown is half-vacant, a ghost town in the middle of the workweek. Our schools have lost a year of learning or more. Test scores have plummeted. Every public agency is facing a financial cliff,” Vallas told the City Club of Chicago.
Everything will be different this season. The expectations will be serious, as opposed to when everyone understood the Bears were in a necessary teardown. Eberflus seemed ready for that as he sat in a banquet room at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday
Toews returned to Blackhawks morning skate Tuesday — two months to the day since his last game — and will try to make a few appearances before the season ends April 13. But he has battled through immense pain and fatigue to get to this point.
Tourists, many of them Americans on spring break or studying abroad, posed for selfies in front of the giant marble statue, which features the Biblical David, naked with a sling over his shoulder and a rock in his hand, ready for battle with Goliath.