Chicago to spend $60 million to boost arts, artistson April 20, 2021 at 9:34 pm

Chicago plans to spend at least $60 million to boost the arts and local artists citywide.

The Arts 77 recovery and reopening program will focus on employing creative workers through city services and programs; increase public sector investments in the arts through financing and cultural policy; and expand involvement in the creative and cultural sector across the city’s 77 community areas.

The program was announced Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District.

“Before the pandemic struck, our arts and culture sector was a significant employer and economic driver that generated thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for our city,” Lightfoot said in a news release.

“With this incredible program, we will not only be able to revitalize this critical sector and provide support to our artists, creative workers and organizations, but also place the arts at the center of our city’s recovery efforts.”

Among the new and expanded programs launched Tuesday under Arts 77:

o The new Neighborhood Access Program offers $1 million in grants — up to 40 grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 — for individual communities.

o The new Culture in My Neighborhood initiative supports cultural programming at the Chicago Cultural Center, 18 Chicago Park District neighborhood cultural centers and Chicago Public Library regional libraries.

o Through Chicago Presents, DCASE will provide up to 100 grants of $5,000 to $30,000 for cultural programs that meet public health guidelines in neighborhoods this summer.

o Under a new Artist Response Program, DCASE has awarded six artists and four artist teams $100,000 grants and will give seven arts organizations between $50,000 and $100,000 to be granted to 60 artists.

o The city plans to spend $40 million to upgrade theater, music, dance, and visual art presentation capabilities at the network of cultural centers. It has also added public art into the Capital Plan for the first time, investing $15 million in public art projects over the next five years.

o DCASE has collaborated with the Chicago Department of Aviation for a $3.5 million public art project plan as part of the Terminal 5 expansion project at O’Hare International Airport. Involving 30 local artists, this program is the largest single acquisition of Chicago artists’ works by the city in 30 years.

“Chicago’s arts sector has been decimated by the global pandemic. We have assembled an unprecedented array of resources to bolster our vital arts sector, and today’s announcement is the first of several to follow,” said Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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