The City of Chicago is currently in Phase Four: "Gradually Resume." Many City services have adjusted hours or locations and may require health screens prior to entering their physical spaces. Please call ahead or visit any department's website to get additional details, or visit chicago.gov/covid-19.
Present: Amina Dickerson, chair; Alison Cuddy, vice chair; Paola Aguirre-Serrano, Sandra Delgado, Juan Díes, Robert Faust, Robert Gomez, Esther Grimm, Tracie D. Hall, Akilah Halley, Tempestt Hazel, Kevin Iega Jeff, Ginger Lane, Josephine Lee, Tonika Lewis Johnson, William Michel, Heather A. Miller, Cesáreo Moreno, Margaret Murphy-Webb, Coya Paz, Claire C. Rice, Silvia Rivera, Myrna Salazar, Jennifer A. Scott, Paul Sznewajs, Vivian Teng, Omar Torres-Kortright, Tanner Woodford. Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ("DCASE") Staff: Commissioner Mark Kelly, Melanie Wang, Erin Harkey, Jamey Lundblad, Nina Melendez
The meeting was called to order at 3pm by Council chair Amina Dickerson. Amina confirmed a quorum of Council member attendance and welcomed members of DCASE and members of the public joining via livestream. Amina noted the meeting is being held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic conditions. The meeting is in accordance with Illinois Open Meetings Act requirements and current provisions for virtual participation in public meetings. For this meeting, this includes the ability to live stream to the general public via link from the DCASE website, and the opportunity for members of the public to pre-register for public comment. Amina confirmed there were no requests for public comment received, and therefore will not take place in today’s meeting.
Alison Cuddy, vice chair, also welcomed everyone and briefly reviewed the online Zoom meeting process for members. Alison thanked Commissioner Kelly, Deputy Commissioner Erin Harkey, and Chief Marketing Officer Jamey Lundblad for joining, and for Director Melanie Wang and Nina Melendez as staff supports to the Council. Alison applauded DCASE for their work to adapt their programs and realign their support to prioritize providing relief to artists and supporting communities on the city’s South and West sides.
Amina referenced the meeting minutes for the CAC’s February 18 meeting and were circulated in advance, requesting a motion to approve. Alison Cuddy made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Vivian Teng. The motion carried unanimously, approving the February 18, 2020 meeting minutes. Amina then reviewed the agenda to introduce the next items for Council discussion.
Amina shifted the conversation to the Council’s approach and the need to reframe the Council’s agenda in the wake of the current pandemic and social unrest. She stated the CAC’s goal is to move us further to clarity and action and to ensure an active Council. Amina then provided a recap of survey questions that were recently sent to CAC Members and provided a summary of top responses to each. The five questions were:
1. What should the CAC advise on?
2. How to engage artists/communities more effectively?
3. What cultural policy should the CAC advocate for?
4. What action steps can we take in the near term?
5. What should we have achieved in 2 years?
Amina noted today’s discussion will focus on Questions 1 and 3. Question 1, “What should the CAC advise on?” had resulted in these top responses from CAC member survey:
Amina then facilitated further discussion related to Question 1. CAC members voiced:
Alison Cuddy then pointed to Question 3, “What cultural policy should the CAC advocate for?” which had resulted in these top responses from CAC member survey:
Alison facilitated further discussion related to Question 3. CAC members voiced:
Amina Dickerson and Alison Cuddy thanked the group for their comments and committed to taking them into consideration.
Amina Dickerson circled back to the draft arts priority areas presented by the Mayor’s Office of Policy at the February CAC meeting. They were presented as: arts education, livability, creative placemaking / placekeeping, creative economy, interagency workgroup.
CAC members were invited to reflect on their potential alignment with today’s discussion. Members shared:
Amina asked the Council for a show of hands to use the February 2020 arts priorities as a starting point for structuring CAC working groups, potentially with other topics as mentioned today. The CAC agreed to move forward with this proposal.
Amina also addressed the call for clarity regarding the mission of CAC. The CAC will continue to serve the mission of supporting DCASE in its work to advance the arts for the city of Chicago, with this charge and structure to be refined over the course of the next few meetings. The next meeting will also revisit the remaining questions that were offered for CAC reflection via survey.
In response to Alison’s request, Erin Harkey gave an update on the city’s current work regarding monuments and memorials. The process is not yet publicly announced, but will prioritize direct public engagement and input to how existing and future works are presented and created. This is a complex, multi-agency process with news to come.
Amina began closing the meeting by thanking Council members for their feedback and asking them to begin thinking what priority topic area they most aim to participate in.
Amina thanked DCASE for continuing to be responsive and open to CAC taking on a new, more engaged direction and to vice-chair Alison Cuddy for their shared leadership.
Amina called for a motion to adjourn. Alison Cuddy offered motion and was seconded by Paola Aguirre. The meeting adjourned at 5:02pm.
Minutes submitted by Nina Melendez, DCASE