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Emanuel, Boone comment on draft cultural plan

The office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a comprehensive plan for arts and cultural development on Monday, the first of its kind in over twenty years.

The draft of the "Chicago Cultural Plan 2012" proposed more than thirty recommendations to bolster Chicago's arts scene, including the creation of cultural centers in every neighborhood and a move to bring together artists and private investors.   

Speaking on WBEZ’s "Afternoon Shift" Monday, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone said she wants to make Chicago a global arts destination.

“We want to make sure when people are thinking about cities, Chicago is mentioned in the same breath with Paris, London, Singapore, San Francisco, other dynamic cities around the world and and we deserve to have a place there as well,” Boone said.

No specific costs were given in the draft report, though estimates ranging into the millions were provided.  Some programs, such as a plan to overhaul arts curriculum at Chicago Public Schools, were projected to be implemented over a 18 month to five year period.

A possible tax for arts and culture was proposed, though Boone did not specify whether that is a viable revenue source. Regardless, she said she has heard support for finding any way to increase arts funding.

"Whether it's a tax or some other kind of public funding, I think that's what people really want to see happen," she said.

At a news conference, Mayor Emanuel expressed a desire to improve upon cultural upgrades from a similar plan instituted during the administration of former Mayor Harold Washington in 1986.

Boone says a final plan will be released in early October, after these four public hearings:

July 24 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Malcolm X College

1900 West Van Buren


July 25 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – South Shore Cultural Center

7059 S. South Shore Drive 


July 28 – 10 a.m. to noon – St. Augustine College-Essanay Studios

1345 West Argyle St.


July 31 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Chicago Cultural Center

            78 East Washington St.


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