Written by Howard Reich Arts critic, Chicago Tribune
The draft for the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 cites 10 priorities “for Chicago to realize its potential as a cultural leader” and identifies 36 recommendations for achieving them. Released Monday, the 64-page draft and 38-page supplemental materials estimate that “the majority of initiatives can be achieved within 18 months, with much of the remainder being completed within five years.”
More than a third of the initiatives will cost less than $50,000 annually, according to the draft, while half will cost up to $1 million annually and “a minority” will cost more.
The 10 priorities outlined in the draft report:
- Attract and retain artists and creative professionals.
- Reinvigorate arts education for all Chicago and create opportunities for lifelong learning.
- Honor authentic Chicago culture in daily life.
- Facilitate neighborhood planning of cultural activity.
- Strengthen capacity of arts providers at critical stages of growth.
- Optimize city policies and regulation so creative initiatives thrive.
- Promote culture as a fundamental driver of prosperity to continually strengthen our quality of life.
- Make Chicago a global cultural destination.
- Place a priority on cultural innovation — what we do and how we do it.
- Integrate culture into civic life — across public, nonprofit and private sectors.
The draft report also details 36 recommendations for implementing the Cultural Plan, with estimated price tags and timelines included. Among the recommendations:
- Critically examine and expand sources of cultural funding to match the potential and diversity of the cultural community.
- Create a comprehensive system to accommodate space needs for artists and creative professionals.
- Assemble a culture job corps focusing the skills of cultural sector providers toward citywide issues.
- Facilitate a reliable and sustainable multimedia communication platform to accommodate networks among providers.
- Develop equitable access to arts education in the public schools — every child, every grade, every art form and every school.
- Develop expanded funding options for arts education programs.
- Link neighborhoods to each other and to downtown.
- Sustain funding for neighborhood cultural planning.
- Expand the number of spaces for culture in every neighborhood.
- Encourage and maintain vibrant cultural districts citywide.
- Build capacity among cultural organizations across all budget levels.
- Streamline city processes to simplify achievement of cultural initiatives.
- Establish and market Chicago as a cultural destination with extensive global reach.
- Develop a comprehensive cultural tourism plan to reach Chicago’s potential as a global cultural destination.
The draft Cultural Plan was created by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with Lord Cultural Resources. The department conducted a series of Town Hall meetings earlier this year to gather civic input on the plan, and another round of public meetings will gather feedback: 6 p.m. July 24 at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren St.; 6 p.m. July 25 at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.; 10 a.m. July 28 at Augustine College-Essanay Studios, 1345 W. Argyle St.; and 6 p.m. July 31 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
For details, visit chicagoculturalplan2012.com.