City of Chicago Launches 2012 Cultural Plan Initiative

February 9, 2012

Public Town Hall Meetings Begin in February

Mary May    312.744.0576

Cindy Gatziolis    312.744.0573


The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is asking residents, cultural organizations and community groups for their input in developing the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan. The plan will deliver a set of recommendations to support the arts and artists throughout the city, as well as enhance economic growth and Chicago’s reputation as a global cultural destination.  

The last cultural plan was developed in 1986 under Mayor Harold Washington. Since that time, advancements have been made in many areas leading to greater involvement from vested interests. Ideas that sprang from that plan include the renovation of Navy Pier, the redeveloped Theater Row in Chicago’s “Loop” and the creation of incentives for film projects.

Financially, Chicago has the third largest creative economy in the U.S., with 24,000 arts enterprises, including nearly 650 non-profit arts organizations, generating more than $2 billion annually and employing 150,000 people. Chicago’s creative vibrancy creates jobs, attracts new businesses and tourists, and improves neighborhood vibrancy and quality of life. 

“We are creating a new Cultural Plan to address the challenges our city faces today and to identify opportunities for the future,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We want residents and community leaders to help shape a plan that will guide the City’s cultural growth and to reinforce Chicago as a global destination for the arts.”

Chicagoans can easily participate in shaping the plan and can submit their ideas through social media, town hall meetings and public forums. The plan will provide a list of recommendations and serve as a blue print for the future of Chicago’s arts and culture community. The strategies of the plan will also help implement key goals such as extending the arts into the neighborhoods.

Public engagement will play a key role. Town Hall meetings will be held in four locations beginning February 15 and continuing on February 16, 18 and 21. The following dates include the location and time of each town hall:

  • Wednesday, February 15:  ColumbiaCollege from 6pm to 8pm
  • Thursday, February 16:  NicholasSennHigh School from 6pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, February 18:  DuSableMuseum from 10am to 12pm
  • Tuesday, February 21:  NationalMuseum of Mexican Art from 6pm to 8pm

To further the conversation and to allow an even greater role, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has launched an interactive website, where Chicagoans can submit ideas and participate in the discussion. Additionally, neighborhood meetings will be held throughout the city this spring; details including time and place will be announced at a later date. The final plan will be unveiled in the fall.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is finalizing the selection of an outside partner specializing in civic cultural initiatives and will be announced at a later date. Funding will be supported by the generous support of The Allstate Corporation and Chicago Community Trust. Additionally, this program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


About Allstate Corporation
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About The Chicago Community Trust
For 96 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2011, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations: developing new audiences to sustain Chicago’s vibrant arts organizations, protecting the human success safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on our communities, elevating teaching to meet world class standards; and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at


About the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to promoting and supporting Chicago’s arts and culture sector. This includes, but is not limited to: fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists, and for-profit arts businesses; presenting high-quality, free or low-fee cultural programs accessible to residents and visitors; and marketing the City’s cultural assets to local, regional, and global audiences. DCASE produces nearly 2,000 public programs, events and support services annually, generating millions in economic benefits for the City of Chicago. For more information join us on Facebook or on Twitter @ChicagoDCASE.

For additional information on the Chicago Cultural Plan please visit