About The Chicago Cultural Plan

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Our Culture – Our Future

The City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has launched the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 as a call to action for residents and an open invitation to visitors to explore and shape Chicago.




The original cultural plan for Chicago was developed in 1986.[1] under Mayor Harold Washington It was the result of a two-year, city-wide effort to analyze the City's cultural needs and opportunities and to formulate recommendations for action.[2]

1986 Chicago Cultural Plan (PDF)



The next major event was in 1995, when the City of Chicago and cultural community members came together once again to revisit the plan, this time with more focus on international programs.



"In one of his first acts as Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has directed the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to revisit the Chicago Cultural Plan."[3] As of January 2012, The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) launched the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 to identify opportunities for arts and cultural growth for the city. Similar to the 1986 cultural planning process, which involved Chicago citizens as well as cultural, civic and community groups, through citywide community-based planning meetings, the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 will also seek input from various stakeholders and Chicago residents throughout its 50 wards.[4]

Many of the identified topics and issues from the 1986 plan will be reviewed for its current relevancy, including:

  • Cultural Policy in City Government
  • Citywide Communications and Cooperation
  • Facilities
  • Technical and Financial Resources
  • Arts and Education
  • Paying for the Plan - Revenue Options
  • International Programs (Addressed in the 1995 revisit)


The complete Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 was released in Fall 2012.