WBEZ | cultural affairs http://www.wbez.org/tags/cultural-affairs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en R.I.P.: Art Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-09/rip-art-chicago-96236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/020912 Seg B.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After thirty years, a venerable art exhibition in Chicago has come to an end. The Merchandise Mart has pulled the plug on the latest incarnation of Art Chicago. The three-decade-old show was once considered one of the world's most important art exhibitions.</p><p>It was founded at Navy Pier in 1980 as the Chicago International Art Exposition.</p><p>WBEZ’s Alison Cuddy shares the details of the exhibition's lasting significance. <a href="http://www.expositionchicago.com/contact.php" target="_blank">Tony Karman</a>, the vice president and director Art Chicago from 2006 to 2001, also weighed in.</p></p> Thu, 09 Feb 2012 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-09/rip-art-chicago-96236 "Community conversations" to impact City cultural plan http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-23/community-conversations-impact-city-cultural-plan-94329 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-23/Pritzker Pavillion at Night_Flickr_Eric Morner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/Pritzker Pavillion at Night_Flickr_Eric Morner.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 372px;" title=""></p><p>The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will conduct “many community conversations” in early 2012 as the department begins the process of crafting a long-term, comprehensive cultural plan for the City of Chicago.</p><p>So writes DCASE Commissioner Michelle T. Boone in a personal reply to my blog post last week about the Department’s CityArts (sic) program. She points out that CityArts itself is a continuing legacy of the first (and only, so far) cultural plan drafted by the City back when Cultural Affairs was a brand-new department under Mayor Harold Washington. The new cultural plan, which DCASE expects to unveil by May, fulfills a campaign pledge of arts-savvy Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>Commissioner Boone goes on to say that when she accepted her DCASE appointment, CityArts “was one of the programs that most excited me,” calling it a program of “vital importance to the arts and culture community in Chicago.”</p><p>Ms. Boone speaks directly to my suggestion that CityArts might be funded through a public/private partnership which could increase the dollars allotted to it. “It is a program we can grow and you’re right to consider leveraging the City’s current investment,” she writes me. “We need to make the biggest impact we can with the dollars we have available and we plan to research ways to expand the funding pool as widely as possible.”</p><p>She continues, “So, is a public-private partnership the most appropriate vehicle for leveraging the CityArts program? At this point, I don’t know the answer to that question. We’re trying to find a balance between the many fiscal benefits of partnerships, which you outlined in your (blog), and the benefits afforded to an entirely independent City program, some of which have helped CityArts become the truly unique and amazing program it is today.”</p><p>She concludes. “I anticipate that additional ideas for the grants program will emerge from the many community conversations we plan to hold” and that “there is a bright future ahead for the department’s granting efforts and for our overall support of arts and culture in Chicago.”</p><p>Naturally, you can count on Onstage/Backstage to post information on the upcoming community conversations as the schedule becomes available, and to continue tracking the activities and progress of what appears to be a reinvigorated DCASE under Commissioner Boone.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 17:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-23/community-conversations-impact-city-cultural-plan-94329 DCASE do-over, part II http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-08/dcase-do-over-part-ii-93799 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/5374308504_fe2d28423a.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A spokesperson for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) contacted me after I wrote <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/dcase-does-do-over-93712">last week’s blog post</a> to provide some additional information and to correct some inaccuracies.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-08/5374308504_fe2d28423a.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="The Chicago Cultural Center (Flickr/Marit &amp; Toomas Hinnosaar)">The chief inaccuracy—one which I’ve been guilty of perpetuating—is the notion that the former Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events were merged last autumn in order to protect the jobs of the Special Events staff, which I (and other writers) characterized as political hires. The spokesperson—who commented off-the-record—said that only six of the jobs at Special Events were political hires and the rest—approximately two dozen—were protected positions. As is typical in such situations, the political appointees were in top-ranking positions.</p><p>The DCASE representative also insisted that the decision to merge DCA and Special Events was separate from the decision to outsource day-to-day cultural programming to the Office of Tourism. Indeed, that move was made as a result of a third action in which the Office of Tourism separated from the DCA, of which it was a part, to become an independent and separately-funded entity. This led to the loss of nearly 30 DCA jobs, some being Tourism staffers who kept their jobs but under a different set of books, and others being the DCA’s cultural programmers who were let go.</p><p>The DCASE rep acknowledged that the timing of these moves meant that one action compounded the other, giving the appearance that Special Events staff was displacing DCA staff. The rep also noted that changes were long-contemplated although never publicly discussed (then again, the City rarely offers public discussion about administrative restructuring), and acknowledged that the full ramifications of these actions was not understood, especially the decision to outsource cultural programming to the Office of Tourism. On the other hand, former DCA Commissioner Lois Weisberg made public statements in which she said she had not been consulted about the changes.</p><p>In a minor correction, DCASE last year had only 73 full-time employees vs. the 79 I reported in my column. I got my number from the published City of Chicago budget, but the DCASE spokesperson observed that there had been some staff consolidations after the 2011 budget was published. However, the Department WILL have 79 full-time employees in 2012, thereby adding six jobs even though the DCASE 2012 budget is down 9.5%. Of course, by not renewing its contract with the Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, DCASE will be able to finance the new jobs with change left over. Additionally, as I wrote last week, DCASE is consolidating the separate bureaus of Special Events and Cultural Affairs, which will free up an additional 11 positions.</p><p>So, that’s 17 new or reconceived jobs at DCASE and 14 of them will be in a new cultural programming division, or perhaps a reconstituted cultural programming division would be a better way to describe it.</p><p>The shifts may be tough on some of the old DCA employees who were bounced out of jobs a year ago, and then were hired to do essentially the same work at the Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and now will find themselves once again bounced out of their jobs. Of course, they can re-apply to DCASE, which is mounting an open application process to fill the positions, and which hopes to have everyone hired during the first quarter of 2012.</p><p>The contract between DCASE and Tourism was only for one year. To state what may be obvious, it will be better for the Department’s cultural programming, and for Chicago’s arts community, to have planning and execution handled by individuals with long-term job prospects, rather than those dependent on renewal of an annual contract.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-08/dcase-do-over-part-ii-93799