Cultural Advisory Council June 4, 2013 Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes were approved at the Cultural Advisory Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at the Chicago Cultural Center's 5th Floor Millennium Park Room, 4-5pm.



Cultural Advisory Council ("CAC" Members: Chair Nora Daley, Vice Chair Marj Halperin, Carol Adams, Homer Hans Bryant, Antonia Contro, Sandra P. Guthman, Mary Ittelson, Eileen LaCario, Mike Reed, Deborah Rutter, Jane Saks, Rebeccah Sanders, Roell Schmidt and Howard Tullman.

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ("DCASE" Staff: Commissioner Michelle T. Boone, David Kennedy, Jamey Lundblad, Jewel Malone, David McDermott, Kenya Merritt, Matt Nielson, Sue Vopicka and Angel Ysaguirre.

Other: Marilynn Gardner, President & CEO, Navy Pier, Inc.; Elva Rubio, Principal and Regional Design Leader, Gensler; and Keith O’Conner, Architect, James Corner Field Operations.


Nora Daley called the meeting to order and asked the CAC members, DCASE staff and guest presenters to introduce themselves. The minutes from the February 5, 2013, CAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Commissioner Boone acknowledged Kenya Merritt, DCASE’s new Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administration.  She congratulated CAC members Mike Reed and Roell Schmidt on the recent opening of Constellation, their new collaborative arts venue in the former Viaduct Theater.

Commissioner Boone stated that the Chicago Farmers Markets season kicked off in May and that each CAC member will receive a 2013 Chicago Farmers Markets reusable tote bag to take home.  She said that Chicago Public Schools high school students were invited to participate in the sixth annual Chicago Farmers Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest sponsored by COUNTRY Financial.  The student with the winning design received a $1,000 scholarship and two runners-up each received a $500 scholarship.

Commissioner Boone congratulated CAC member Theaster Gates on the opening of his new show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 13th Ballad, a large-scale installation that is a companion piece to his show 12 Ballads that was exhibited at Documenta last year. She also acknowledged CAC member Jeanne Gang for her design work on two of four new boathouses along the Chicago River as part of Mayor Emanuel’s plans to make the Chicago River the city’s next recreational frontier. She said the four new boathouses will serve as anchors of the river’s future development. Commissioner Boone stated that one of the new boathouses will open on June 9 as part of the culmination event of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s month-long RIVERS Festival. She asked CAC member Deborah Rutter, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to say a few words about the event.

Ms. Rutter stated that with the help of many partners, the Shall We Gather at the River event will feature a diverse array of performers, including the Chicago Children's Choir and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, floating from Michigan Avenue to Ping Tom Memorial Park aboard Chicago's Leading Lady, as well as live music and family activities at the park. She said the celebration is timed to coincide with the completion and unveiling of the new boathouse at Ping Tom Memorial Park.

Nora Daley introduced Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier, Inc.; Elva Rubio, Principal and Regional Design Leader, Gensler; and Keith O’Conner, Architect, James Corner Field Operations. Ms. Gardner stated that she was asked to join Navy Pier, Inc., when the non-profit assumed responsibility for the operation and redevelopment of Navy Pier a few years ago. She said that many of the CAC members were probably involved in Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision process, the strategic framework for the redevelopment of Navy Pier.

Keith O’Conner said that the Centennial plan was only a vision until a few weeks ago, when Mayor Emanuel announced Elevate Chicago, a tourism and tradeshow infrastructure redevelopment program featuring two major components: the creation of a McCormick Place entertainment district, and the redevelopment of Navy Pier so the popular attraction will draw even more visitors and elevate it to a world-class destination.

Ms. Gardner, Ms. Rubio and Mr. O’Conner gave a Power Point presentation detailing the development of the components of the framework plan: the development of the design concepts for the pierscape; the development of design concepts for key interior components of Navy Pier; the entering into a long-term lease agreement with the Chicago Children’s Museum; and the establishment of the initial phase of redevelopment.

Ms. Gardner said that the redevelopment will give the Pier a more contemporary look and feel inside and out, and will include new urban landscaping and dramatic water features, pocket parks and social areas. She said that the major goals of the guiding Centennial Vision are to update and refresh the Pier’s public spaces and attract more evening and year-round visitors with new entertainment venues.

Ms. Gardner stated that the $278 million redevelopment, to be completed in two phases starting in the fall of 2013, will set a world-class standard for design. It will include changes to Gateway Park, South Dock, the South Arcade, Pier Park and Crystal Garden, along with a new East End entertainment district and East End Park. The Family Pavilion will be completely revitalized, and an expanded Chicago Children’s Museum will open on its upper level in 2016. Finally, she said the $48 million Navy Pier flyover is fully funded and will be implemented and completed as part of this project. She said the flyover will eliminate bottlenecks and reduce the chances of bicycle/car collisions around Navy Pier.

Ms. Gardner said that Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision will also mean expanded free arts, entertainment and cultural programming to better connect the Pier to the city as well as expand the Pier’s appeal. She said that opportunities for increased programming include live music, enhanced holiday celebrations and public art as well as sports and recreation activities.

Nora Daley thanked the guest presenters for their presentation. 

David Kennedy gave an overview of recent and upcoming DCASE events. Mr. Kennedy said that the 30th Annual Chicago Blues Festival will take place June 6-9, in Millennium Park and Grant Park. He said that Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently served as the Grand Marshal for Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony. He stated that a brand new summer film series will be presented in Millennium Park due to the addition of a state-of-the-art digital outdoor screen acquired by Millennium Park, Inc. to serve as a permanent enhancement to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  He said the film series will officially kick off on Tuesday, June 18, with a brief tribute to Roger Ebert and a screening of the musical “Chicago.

Mr. Kennedy stated that Bike Week Chicago will take place June 10-14 and that throughout the week, bicycling in Chicago will be promoted through various events including: spin classes daily at Cloud Gate, a movie night in Millennium Park and the Bike to Work Rally on Daley Plaza. He said that Chicago Gospel Music Festival 2013 will take place June 20-23 with an expanded art fair and marketplace as well as historic church tours. He said this is the second year that Bronzeville, the birthplace of Gospel music, will serve as the festival’s main home. Mr. Kennedy said that Taste of Chicago will be held July 10-14 featuring 35 restaurants; 20 "Pop-Up" restaurants and an additional daily Pop-Up booth offering even more dining options; the return of the popular Celebrity Chef du Jour program; the welcoming of food trucks into Taste of Chicago for the first time ever; and a fantastic musical lineup. Mr. Kennedy concluded by stating that the Air & Water Show and the 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will take place in August.

Angel Ysaguirre gave an overview of new DCASE programs and upcoming events, including: Downtown Sound; Loops and Variations; Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz; Millennium Park Presents; Chicago SummerDance; World Music Festival; and the Chicago Music Summit.

Angel said that Downtown Sound in Millennium Park is an eclectic mix of music discoveries including cutting-edge indie rock, pop bands and rock veterans co-curated by CAC member Mike Reed of At Pluto Limited. He said that Loops and Variations in Millennium Park mixes contemporary classical ensembles with electronica. Angel stated that the 2013 Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series in Millennium Park will be dedicated to the late Helen C. Doria, Millennium Park’s first Executive Director.  Angel said that Millennium Park Presents in Millennium Park will feature symphonic music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. He said that Chicago SummerDance will take place June 27 – September 15 downtown and in the parks and that the 15th annual World Music Festival will take place September 12-22 at venues across the city.

Mr. Ysaguirre said that the inaugural Chicago Music Summit is a new conference presented by DCASE to shine a spotlight on Chicago’s innovative and thriving music scene and connect professionals with local and national industry leaders. He said the Summit, which takes place at the Chicago Cultural Center on September 20, will feature panels, workshops, concerts and networking opportunities.

Commissioner Boone stated that a new exhibit, Spontaneous Interventions, opened on May 24 at the Chicago Cultural Center. She said that Chicago is the first destination of the installation, which represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale in 2012. She said that Spontaneous Interventions, organized by Cathy Lang Ho on behalf of the Institute for Urban Design, earned a Special Mention, the first time the United States has been honored in the history of the Venice Architecture Biennale. She said that a DCASE curator would be available after the meeting to give a tour of the exhibition.

CAC member Dr. Carol Adams announced that to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the DuSable Museum of African American History will present a Civil War re-enactment on June 23, from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Du Sable Museum. She invited all the CAC members to attend.

Commissioner Boone pointed out that CAC member Homer Bryant brought information on the Bryant Ballet’s upcoming Music + Movement festival at the South Shore Cultural Center on June 21 at 6:30 p.m. and encouraged everyone to attend.

Nora Daley thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting. 

Respectfully submitted, Sue Vopicka