City to unveil cultural plan
BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org July 16, 2012 1:14AM
Museum of Science and Industry, 57th st. and Lake Shore Dr. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: August 17, 2012 7:08AM
Creating a new Museum Campus South that links the Museum of Science and Industry and DuSable Museum of African American History and making foreclosed properties available for cultural purposes are among proposals in a draft version of Chicago’s new 2012 cultural plan.
The draft plan, to be released by the city Monday, also proposes the establishment of a dedicated festival site for large-scale city-sponsored festivals — to include permanent vendor booths, indoor and outdoor facilities and year-round programming — and recommends implementing a new dedicated tax for arts and culture.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for the creation of the plan. It identifies 10 priorities, makes 36 recommendations and proposes 200 initiatives for achieving the recommendations, which include new capital infrastructure surrounding the Museum of Science and Industry and DuSable Museum to create the Museum Campus South. The latter would be a 10- to 20-year project with an unspecified total cost, but an estimated cost of more than $1 million.
The draft plan was put together with input from artists, advocates, cultural leaders and workers garnered at more than 30 town hall meetings and neighborhood cultural conversations held this year, the city said.
The plan is important given that Chicago has the third-largest creative economy in the U.S. with 24,000 arts enterprises, including 650 non-profit arts organizations, generating more than $2 billion annually and employing 150,000 people. So said Emanuel in the draft plan’s foreword.
“Creative vibrancy creates jobs, attracts new businesses and tourists and improves neighborhood vitality and quality of life,” he stated.
Among other proposals in the plan:
♦ Providing equitable access to arts education for every child, grade, school and art form.
♦ Grants and incentives to grow the local film industry.
♦ Matching grants for cultural arts supported by philanthropy, the private sector and the city.
♦ Streamlining zoning, permitting accommodations for street vendors, performance artists, and multi-media street art installations.
♦ Setting up a “311 for culture,” an up-to-date interactive manual for cultural providers to navigate city processes.
Sixteen percent of the proposed initiatives in the plan have estimated operating annual costs of more than $1 million, according to the draft. For half of the initiatives, that cost is estimated at $50,000 to just under $1 million, and for more than a third it is estimated at less than $50,000.
Sixty percent of the initiatives could be achieved within 18 months, and 32 percent could be achieved within 18 months to five years, the plan says.
City officials were not available Sunday to provide greater detail on the plan.
The city will hold four town hall meetings this month to get feedback on the plan, Michelle Boone, commissioner with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in the report.
A final plan will be issued this fall.
It has been more than 25 years since the city last drafted a cultural plan. That plan set the stage for the renovation of Navy Pier and the creation of a thriving North Loop theater district. It also laid the groundwork for Pilsen’s National Museum of Mexican Art and tax incentives that lured Hollywood filmmakers here.