If you’re like me, you have been anxiously anticipating the day that Chicago’s government would take its art and culture more seriously into consideration as vital resources for rejuvenating and revamping the city’s social economy and community. Well, the time has finally come; and it looks like my prayers (and perhaps yours, too) have been thoughtfully acknowledged and answered. Starting in February, Chicago has begun the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012, a process that has taken the intiative to examine the structural set up of arts in Chicago. The plan strives to engage the community in a conversation that addresses building a stronger cultural plan to further enhance the city and its development.
For the first time, since former Mayor Washington’s administration, in over 20 years, current Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs is asking residents to come together and share thoughts and ideas on strategic methods for action regarding how to best position art and culture in such a way that will strengthen neighborhood community and refocus attention to Chicago as a major art center and attractive destination for the arts. While the last plan in 1986 made some groundbreaking adjustments, such as the renovation of Navy Pier, transformation of downtown’s Randolph Street into a theater district, and created more incentive and opportunities for film projects, a more consistent and contemporary inspection of Chicago’s cultural capital has since been overdue. Much to my own surprise, Chicago impressively holds the 3rd largest creative economy in the U.S., generating over $2 billion a year, with 24,000 art enterprises, and over 600 non-profit organizations.
This first step could be an exciting and revolutionary transgression to integrating notoriously segregated communities, improving the quality of education and demand for art in schools, and bringing vibrancy to both thriving and still developing areas in Chicago. As a creative thinker and avid participant in art and art-making here in Chicago, I, for one, am most enthusiastic and looking forward to the growth and improvement of my home city. I find it especially encouraging that the people of Chicago are continuing to be persistent with voicing and expressing their opinions and concerns for what's happening in their own backyards.
Below I’ve listed the next few upcoming meetings with Chicago Cultural Plan:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Douglas Park - Field House
1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
4:00 - 5:00 PM Student Conversation
6:00 - 8:00 PM Community Conversation
Lincoln Park Student Center LPSC Room 120 B
2250 North Sheffield Ave.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Austin Town Hall Park
5610 W. Lake St.
To become a part of these fundamentally crucial conversations, visit the Chicago Cultural Plan’s website and reserve yourself (and a friend!) a ticket.
I just reserved mine.
All events are free of admission.