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Draft Of Chicago Cultural Plan Released

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 18, 2012 3:30PM

2012_2_17_cultural_plan.png After months of public meetings across the city, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events released a draft of its Chicago Cultural Plan earlier this week. (We've included it below.) Although heavy on the marketing speak that's become an Emanuel administration trademark, the plan is ambitious and, if some of the proposals make it into the final plan when it's released in the fall, could go a long way toward filling major gaps in arts and the humanities in Chicago.

The aspect of the plan we're most excited about is having better arts access in Chicago Public Schools. DCASE calls it "equal access" and at this point any access to art and arts education would be an improvement, if the handful of meetings we attended in the spring are an indication. The proposal was spurred by what DCASE said was Chicago's 34th-place ranking in "innovation economies," defined as economies of digital technology, arts and design. DCASE called the proposal for equal access to the arts in public schools "non-negotiable," which parallels with calls from the Chicago Teachers Union to improve arts education.

The plan points out that, despite being the third-most populous city in America, Chicago ranks sixth in international tourism and lists strategies for better a "comprehensive branding strategy." A term like that makes our short hairs stand on end as it's an indicator that World Business Chicago, the non-profit business group Mayor Emanuel founded to spur business growth in Chicago, had a hand in the plan's drafting.

Other examples that World Business Chicago may have sway in the plan are calls for an international festival; a dedicated festival site for large-scale festivals; a second museum campus connecting the DuSable Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry; rehabbing vacant and foreclosed properties into artist spaces; and using the Chicago Infrastructure Trust to help fund arts projects.

The city has scheduled a series of public meetings to discuss the draft, starting 6-8 p.m. July 24 at Malcolm X College (1900 W. Van Buren). Other meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. July 25 at the South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. South Shore Dr.); 10 a.m. - noon July 28 at St. Augustine College-Essanay Studios (1333-1345 W. Argyle St.); and 6-8 p.m. July 31 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.).

Previous Chicagoist coverage of the Chicago Cultural Plan discussions.

Draft Chi Cult Plan 20121