Cultural Advisory Council February 1, 2012 Meeting Minutes


Meeting minutes were approved at the Cultural Advisory Council Meeting on Wednesday, June 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center's 5th Floor Millennium Park Room, 8:30-9:30am.



Cultural Advisory Council ("CAC") Members: Chair Nora Daley, Vice Chair Marj Halperin, Anita Blanchard, M.D., Homer Hans Bryant, Juan A. Chavez, Antonia Contro, Kevin Coval, Jay Franke, Jeanne Gang, Theaster Gates, Sandra Guthman, Mary Ittelson, Ra Joy, Eileen LaCario, Shirley Madigan, Diana Martinez, Sheila O'Grady, Mike Reed, Cari Sacks, Jane Saks and Roell Schmidt.  

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ("DCASE") Staff: Commissioner Michelle T. Boone, Dave McDermott, Julie Burros, Cindy Gatziolis, David Kennedy, Jewel Malone, Mary May, Ann McNabb, Matt Nielson, Sue Vopicka and Angel Ysaguirre.

Other: Orit Sarfaty, Senior Consultant, Lord Cultural Resources


Nora Daley called the meeting to order at 8:40am and asked the CAC members and DCASE staff present to introduce themselves. The minutes from the December 7, 2011, CAC meeting were unanimously approved. Ms. Daley welcomed the members of the public in attendance and announced that the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 would officially launch that day.

Orit Sarfaty confirmed that the website had gone live that morning and made a Power Point presentation providing quick facts on the project (realizing stated arts-related goals from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago 2011 Transition Plan; this will be the first Cultural Plan for Chicago since 1986; major emphasis on public engagement with over 30 meetings; focus on implementation utilizing diverse resources and citywide partners; and benefiting from global expertise and local direction); information about Lord Cultural Resources; the methodology of the plan; the public engagement strategy (4 citywide Town Hall meetings, 19 Neighborhood Cultural Conversations, 10 Cultural Sector Focus Groups totaling over 30 public engagement opportunities) and the principles guiding the strategy (inclusiveness and diversity; value participants’ time; and 360 degree involvement); a project timeline; and an appeal to CAC members for assistance (invitation to attend one of the 4 planned Town Hall meetings; inviting others in their networks to attend; and to participate in the social media campaign).

Commissioner Boone acknowledged DCASE’s Deputy Commissioner Jewel Malone and Director of Cultural Planning and Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 Project Manager Julie Burros for their work to date on the project. 

Sandra Guthman asked Orit what she thought the expected output of the plan would look like. Orit replied that there will be seven critical issues identified through research, outreach and interviews collected throughout the community engagement and feedback process. We can measure success by implementing initiatives that respond to the critical issues identified. Ms. Guthman asked if the implementation process would involve the use of task forces and, if so, what would their composition be? Ms. Sarfaty replied that we want the ideas to come from the ground up; we don’t want to dictate what they will be.

Kevin Coval asked whom Orit wanted to see invited to the meetings. Orit replied that we wanted friends of friends, the masses, a diverse and comprehensive group of people who will be asked “What is YOUR cultural Chicago?”  “What do you read in the morning?”  “What is your go-to place in the city?”  “What do you fall asleep listening to?” “What does Chicago look like in the year 2030 and how do we get there from here?”  Mr. Coval asked if Facebook and live Tweeting would be utilized. Commissioner Boone replied that further information about the Town Hall meetings and the entire process would be provided in an upcoming press release to be issued later in the week.

Eileen LaCario inquired about the categories of the 10 Focus Group meetings. Julie Burros replied that the categories have not been assigned yet but that they will cover topics in finer detail than the Town Hall meetings ever could. With regard to the request for CAC member assistance in inviting others to the meetings, Ms. LaCario asked how one would best know on which meeting to  focus. Orit mentioned that there will be some overlap in meetings and that we are looking for a broad range of people to attend, not specifically those who would find a particular subject of interest. Ms. LaCario then asked if everyone on her distribution lists should be invited to all the meetings and Orit replied affirmatively.

Commissioner Boone stated that we are looking for CAC members’ help in identifying people we should talk to in the neighborhoods, i.e., the people of Pilsen rather than a list of people provided by the National Museum of Mexican Art and targeted lists, i.e., the League of Chicago Theaters or the theater community. Commissioner Boone stated that the goal is a combination of lots of different approaches so that everyone has a voice.

Shirley Madigan said that the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 will be in constant flux and should be looked at as a work in progress. Some things will work and some things will not work. She said that it is important to have measures but there has to be some flexibility.

Kevin Coval suggested that one of the Focus Groups should serve as a youth summit as youth are the makers of culture, and in the year 2030, they will be its consumers and patrons.

Mike Reed suggested that industry leaders should meet in small groups to discuss 2013 as visions for the future should be in line with what is being produced in the next few years. Mr. Reed inquired as to the schedule of upcoming meetings.  Commissioner Boone stated that the kickoff will begin with the broader Town Hall meetings and that the details on the smaller, targeted groups/sectors meetings would be finalized in the next few weeks. Marj Halperin stated that CAC members would be invited to those meetings.

Antonia Contro suggested that DCASE staff draft an evite for the upcoming Town Hall meetings that could be shared with all CAC members so that everyone has the correct information to send to those on their respective mailing lists.  Orit Sarfaty stated that she would provide the language for the evite.

Diana Martinez asked if Orit would talk about a very successful plan she had worked on. Orit said she has worked throughout the USA and North America. She worked on a strategic plan for Guggenheim Bilbao and the Cultural Plan for the Basque Government and stated that these plans were successful because they were proactive and authentic to the people and organizations involved.

Nora Daley promised that all CAC members would be kept informed about the planning process for the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 as they are the best ambassadors for the Plan.

Ms. Daley was asked to give an update on the upcoming NATO/G8 Summits. Ms. Daley stated that the members of the CAC had been invited to a NATO/G8 briefing for the arts and cultural community on Tuesday, January 24 where Lori Healey, Executive Director of the NATO Host Committee, gave a presentation. Ms. Daley said that a brochure on the Summits was included in the packet of information given to CAC members as they entered the CAC meeting and that the Summits present the perfect opportunity to showcase Chicago to the world.

Eileen LaCario stated that the League of Chicago Theatres created a special promotion for the month of May to welcome the NATO summit and celebrate Chicago as a crossroads of American theatre with more than 100 productions all across the city. She said that the theater community is embracing the Summits with complete gusto.

Commissioner Boone gave some DCASE programming highlights including the new exhibition Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection that will run through July 8, 2012, and announced that Mavis Staples will headline the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park June 8-10, 2012. She also referenced a newspaper story about the merger of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. She confirmed that Mayor Emanuel launched a new tourism organization for the City of Chicago, with the goal of attracting 50 million visitors per year by 2020. Combining the efforts of the two organizations will create a dynamic new agency that will present one unified voice globally.

Nora Daley thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Sue Vopicka