Cultural Advisory Council June 6, 2012 Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes were approved at the Cultural Advisory Council Meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 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, Anita Blanchard, Homer Hans Bryant, Antonia Contro, Kevin Coval, Jeanne Gang, Mary Ittelson, Ra Joy, Eileen LaCario, Jane M. Saks, Roell Schmidt, Howard Tullman and Ernest Wong.

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

Other: Don Welsh, CEO, Choose Chicago and Mario Rossero, Director of Arts, CPS Department of Arts Education, Office of Curriculum and Instruction.


Nora Daley called the meeting to order at 8:49am and asked the CAC members and DCASE staff present to introduce themselves. Ms. Daley congratulated Commissioner Boone on her one-year anniversary with DCASE. The minutes from the February 1, 2012, CAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Commissioner Boone provided an update on DCASE programming.  She mentioned that the Chicago Blues Festival would be taking place the weekend of June 8-10 featuring headliner Mavis Staples. She said that the Chicago Gospel Music Festival would expand to four days and take place in several different locations, including Ellis Park in the Bronzeville neighborhood, the birthplace of Gospel music, and that opening night would include a sneak peek of Regina Taylor's Crowns on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Commissioner Boone said that the summer concert season kicked off on Memorial Day with the opening of the cutting-edge indie rock and pop music series Downtown Sound. She asked Angel Ysaguirre, Deputy Commissioner of Arts Programming, to talk about the newest music series in Millennium Park, Loops and Variations. Angel explained that this new series mixing new music with electronica would open June 7 and feature Chicago indie artists on the cusp of making it big. Angel went on to say that the Grant Park Music Festival would kick off June 13 in Millennium Park, and the Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series would begin in mid-July.

Commissioner Boone gave an overview of Bike Chicago 2012 events scheduled for June 11-15, including a Bike Chicago Movie in the Park, a Loop Bike Tour and the Bike to Work Rally. She also talked about the exciting new features planned for the Taste of Chicago, July 11-15, including Celebrity Chef du Jour, which will offer Taste attendees the opportunity to dine in a specially designed pavilion for a meal created by a celebrity chef and served by students from the Washburne Culinary Institute; guaranteed seating at the Petrillo Music Shell Pavilion for only $25 through a partnership with Groupon; and the addition of the "Pop-Up" restaurant program, designed to provide restaurants with an opportunity to participate in the festival, without the cost and time commitment of staffing a booth for five days.

Commissioner Boone thanked the CAC members for their help with and participation in the Chicago Cultural 2012 planning process thus far. The feedback gathered to this point will be synthesized into a Draft Plan that will be released to the public in July. At that time, four more Town Hall meetings will be held for a final round of input, and the Final Plan will be released in October.

Commissioner Boone introduced Don Welsh, CEO of Choose Chicago, the new official tourism organization for Chicago, combining the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the tourism portion of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. She said that she wanted the CAC members to have the opportunity to learn firsthand about Choose Chicago's renewed focus on positioning Chicago nationally and globally as a cultural tourism destination and reaching Mayor Rahm Emanuel's goal of attracting 50 million annual visitors to Chicago by the year 2020.

Don Welsh addressed the group and showed a PowerPoint presentation providing information on the mission, goals and strategies of Choose Chicago, its key sources of funding, budget projections as well as both current economic impact figures and projected impact on jobs and tax revenues.

Commissioner Boone thanked Don for his informative presentation and asked Mario Rossero, Director of Arts, CPS Department of Arts Education, Office of Curriculum and Instruction to speak briefly about the Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan. Mario stated that during the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012's extensive public engagement process, Chicagoans made it clear that a reinvigorated arts education program in the Chicago Public Schools is one of their highest priorities. In May, the CPS Department of Arts Education, with the support of Ingenuity Incorporated and DCASE, launched the process leading to the first district-wide CPS Arts Education Plan. Mario went on to say that over the next four months, 20 public sessions would be held to gather input from teachers, principals, parents, students, arts partners and the community at large, and the release of the Arts Education Plan will align with that of the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012. 

Nora Daley thanked Mario Rossero and asked the CAC members to share highlights from their own organizations. Homer Bryant invited the members of the CAC to be his guests on June 9 at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center's ASalute to America in Honor of Our Returning Troops," a show he has been producing for many years.

Dr. Anita Blanchard stated that congratulations were in order for CAC member Theaster Gates on his opening at Documenta. Commissioner Boone explained that Documenta is a prestigious contemporary art show that takes place every five years in Germany. Jeanne Gang said that Chicago architecture would be represented in the 13th Annual Venice Biennale. Studio Gang will be exhibiting a project curated by Alexander Eisenschmidt in conjunction with three other Chicago firms: Tigerman McCurry Architects, UrbanLab and David Brown.

Ernie Wong said that the annual Chinatown Dragon Boat Race for Literacy will take place on July 21 at Ping Tom Memorial Park. Roell Schmidt and Kevin Coval both spoke of recent successes of their respective organizations, Links Hall and Louder Than A Bomb.

Nora Daley thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting. 

Respectfully submitted, Sue Vopicka