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Mayor-elect Emanuel today named his Cultural Affairs Leadership Team, announcing that Michelle T, Boone will be the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and David McDermott will serve as her Chief of Staff. The Mayor-elect also named the leaders of a reinvigorated Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee. Nora Daley will serve as the Committee's Chair and Marj Halperin as the Vice Chair.
"Our diverse arts and cultural scene is a key part of what makes Chicago a vibrant and dynamic place to live," said the Mayor-elect. "We treasure our flagship institutions, and we also love living in a city where new music, theater, dance and visual arts are being created every day in hundreds of smaller venues. Each member of our leadership team has deep roots in the arts and cultural scene, and each knows that Chicago's thousands of artists and non-profits are a critical piece of our economic strength. Michelle, Nora, David and Marj will bring the fresh ideas needed to help new talent flourish and keep Chicago a world leader in the arts."
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Leadership
Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Michelle T. Boone is the senior program officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation. In addition to her duties at the Joyce Foundation, Boone is an adjunct professor at DePaul University. She serves on the boards of Arts Alliance Illinois, Grantmakers in the Arts, and other Chicago community-based arts organizations. She has been a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Cuyahoga (OH) Arts and Culture program, among others. She was previously the director of Chicago's Gallery 37 and began her career working in television, film, and the recording industry. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. Michelle holds a B.A. in telecommunications and a M.A. in public affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington.
David McDermott, Chief of Staff, Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
David McDermott has spent the last seven years working as a senior aide to Senator Richard Durbin. Most recently, David led the Senator's Department of Community Outreach, ensuring that non-for profits, businesses, elected officials, and unions had access to Senator Durbin and federal resources. During the 2008 election cycle, David served as Deputy Campaign Manager on Senator Durbin's re-election campaign and has also managed campaigns at the congressional, county, and municipal levels. David received a degree in Public Policy from Trinity College at the University of Dublin.
Cultural Affairs Advisory Council
The Cultural Affairs Advisory Council will serve a critical role in helping the Department of Cultural Affairs to carry out its core function of engaging Chicago's diverse artistic communities. Membership will be drawn from all segments of the City's arts and cultural community, representing a cross-section of neighborhoods and artistic specialties. The Council will act as the outreach arm of the Department to engage stakeholders in the new cultural plan.
Nora Daley, Chair, Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee
Nora is the Director of Outreach at Metropolis Strategies, a business and civic organization implementing policy initiatives and programs for regional action on issues including land use, transportation, justice and violence, sustainability and the economy. Daley is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, one of the nation's leading ensemble theaters, producing up to 16 productions each year in its three Chicago theater spaces, including programming dedicated to the development of new plays and theater for young adults. Daley also serves on the board of Navy Pier, Inc. and on committees at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science and Industry. Daley received a BA in Art History from Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Marj Halperin, Vice Chair, Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee
Marj Halperin runs Marj Halperin Consulting, a strategic communications and management consulting firm serving corporate, public sector and non-profit clients. Before starting her own practice, Marj served ten years as President and CEO of the League of Chicago Theatres. She served as a member of President Obama's campaign committee for arts and culture policy and has been a speaker on a variety of arts and marketing-related panels. Marj has held positions directing communications policy for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, then-Illinois Treasurer Pat Quinn, the Chicago Park District, and Chicago Public Schools. She began her professional career as an award-winning journalist. Her radio reports have been featured on WXRT and WKQX as well as NPR and NBC Radio Network News.