Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says he won't spare the arts

April 27, 2011

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(Getty/File)

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says no group is immune from the changes he plans -- and that includes the arts.

Emanuel took the stage at the Goodman Theatre before a crowd that included prominent members of the arts community. He told them how much he loves the arts. He said they're vital to the city because they enrich the soul and boost economic development.

But he said cultural organizations are not in a "sacrifice-free zone."

"I'm going to make sure everybody feels there was equal participation in both change and sacrifice so the whole city benefits." Emanuel said. "And I say that as somebody who thinks what happens here and the people participating here are essential to the city."

For instance, Emanuel said he wants to end the way charitable groups and non-profits get out of paying for water. He was asked if non-profits should pay property taxes and said he'd investigate that issue.

He spoke before a panel discussion that included Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; an official with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and well-known local artists, organizers and a businessperson. In full disclosure, WBEZ's Steve Edwards moderated the panel.