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Cultural Advisory Council ("CAC") Members: Chair Nora Daley, Vice Chair Marj Halperin, Jeff Alexander, Marshall Brown, Barak adé Soleil, Sandra Guthman, Carlos Hernandez-Falcon, Eileen LaCario, Maria Pinto, Heather Ireland Robinson, Jane Saks, Howard Tullman, Amanda Williams, and David Woolwine
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ("DCASE") Staff: Acting Commissioner Mark Kelly, Tracie Hall, David Kennedy, Jamey Lundblad, David McDermott, Kenya Merritt, Matt Nielson, Sue Vopicka, Melanie Wang, and Wendy Miller.
Nora Daley called the meeting to order and introduced Acting Commissioner Mark Kelly and read his bio. She asked the CAC members to introduce themselves and share the most exciting cultural event they’d experienced so far this year. Sandra Guthman said that “The Art of Falling,” the Second City’s collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance, was a big success at the Harris Theater in June. Eileen LaCario said that Hamilton would be coming to Chicago in October. Jeff Alexander said that Maestro Riccardo Muti concluded his spring residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Verdi's "Falstaff” in April. Howard Tullman mentioned the ConAgra-funded mural by Jeff Zimmerman along the 606. Marshall Brown said he was looking forward to being involved in the second Chicago Architecture Biennial. Maria Pinto said she was excited about her upcoming 25-year retrospective at City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower. Heather Ireland Robinson mentioned the Louis Armstrong Festival Satchmo gallery exhibit at the Beverly Arts Center, and transportation from the Court Theatre to the center and back to see the one-man play “Satchmo at the Waldorf," made possible through a grant from the Chicago Community Trust. Marj Halperin mentioned the 606 and The Gift Theatre’s “Richard III.” Barak adé Soleil mentioned the Muddy Waters Mural. Carlos Hernandez-Falcon mentioned the Emmy Award-winning Annual National Cuatro Festival at the Harris Theater that galvanizes the Puerto Rican community. Amanda Williams mentioned the Chicago Architecture Biennial and her work with participants in the One Summer Chicago jobs program. David Woolwine said he was excited about the upcoming 3rd Annual Fifth Star Awards and the Rising Star youth award. Nora Daley said that she loved how the Chicago Architecture Biennial activated the Chicago Cultural Center.
The meeting minutes from June 7, 2016, were unanimously approved on a voice vote.
Mark Kelly said that the most exciting cultural event he’d experienced so far this year was the Chicago Jazz Festival where he witnessed the power of DCASE in the cultural fabric of Chicago. He said that his mantra since he began as Commissioner has been “Make Haste, Slowly.” He said he wants to bring fresh eyes to the work of DCASE.
Mr. Kelly said that last week he had joined Mayor Emanuel and Dick Wolf for a press conference at Cinespace to announce that Chicago has seen a record increase in TV production this year. 2016 has seen a two-fold increase in TV shows filming in the city, with a record eight shows filming in Chicago this fall. He said that DCASE is partnering with EXPO CHICAGO on “OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project,” a citywide public art initiative featuring the work of 15 artists from major local, national and international galleries on Chicago’s City Digital Network consisting of 28 digital billboards. He said that 2017 will be the Year of Public Art across Chicago. He said that DCASE had recently convened artists, community organizations and colleagues from other City departments to finalize plans for a year of events, exhibitions and projects that celebrate public art and mark the 50th anniversaries of the Picasso sculpture and the Wall of Respect.
Acting Commissioner Kelly then presented an overview of DCASE’s fall programming, including the Chicago Jazz Festival; World Music Festival; the Fifth Star Awards; Chicago SummerDance; Chicago Farmers Markets; Maxwell Street Market; the Stars of Lyric Opera concert in Millennium Park; and the Norman Lewis Exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Mark Kelly then asked the CAC members what advice they would give him in his new role as Commissioner. Howard Tullman said that Cinespace Film Studios could be a major tourist attraction if transportation could be provided to and from. Marshall Brown said Mark should advocate for more and better architecture in the city; to find a way to get more involved in what is going up in the city; and that the Chicago Architecture Biennial can help to shape the future of the city. Carlos Hernandez-Falcon said that there should be focus on neighborhoods and the city’s children, some of whom have never been downtown. Barak adé Soleil said that neighborhoods should be activated and that free trolleys should run across town, not just downtown, and that access to cultural programs should be increased. Eileen LaCario suggested bringing SummerDance into the neighborhoods, like the Shakespeare in the Park program. Nora Daley said that the Year of Public Art is an opportunity to create synergies with the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Park District and other agencies. Howard Tullman suggested that Uber and Airbnb present opportunities to explore and connect neighborhoods.
Nora Daley thanked everyone for their attendance and adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Sue Vopicka