Chicago Mayoral Candidates to Make the Arts a Priority

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Chicago Mayoral Candidates to Make the Arts a Priority

Chicago Mayoral candidates Carol Moseley Braun, Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, Rahm Emanuel, William Walls, III, and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins have formally signed the Principles for a 21st Century Creative Chicago.

These principles define the many ways in which the arts are an integral part of Chicago and lay the foundation that should guide the development and implementation of future arts policies.

I. Art in Chicago is more than just entertainment — Chicago’s Arts Industry is a pillar of our regional economy and a fundamental thread defining and tying our communities together.

II. Chicago’s broad and diverse Arts Industry should thrive—and evolve—in both defined cultural districts and in neighborhoods.

III. An arts education strategy that includes all Chicago students is central to improving the quality of their educational experience and key to training the future members of a globally-competitive workforce.

IV. All Chicagoans, regardless of where they live, must have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts, and Chicago government should seek to expand such opportunities for all residents.

V. Chicago government and the private sector should partner with the Arts Industry to formulate a new
economic development strategy that supports the growth of Chicago’s creative economy and addresses the needs and potential of creative entrepreneurs and small businesses.

VI. Chicago’s Arts Industry should have a seat at the planning table and be a partner in decision-making about economic development; neighborhood revitalization; land use; regulatory, tax, and business policy; tourism; international exchange; and cultural policy.

“The arts industry not only plays an important role in branding Chicago on the global stage” said Ra Joy, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois, “it also creates thousands of jobs and prepares our workforce to compete in the 21st century economy.”

“The arts in Chicago mean jobs, the arts mean education, the arts mean tourism, but most of all, the arts mean joy for our citizens and our visitors,” said Deb Clapp, Executive Director, League of Chicago Theatres. “ I am delighted to learn that all of the mayoral candidates have signed the Principles for a 21st Century Creative Chicago and believe that it is vitally important to the future of our city that arts leaders are included in policy decisions and that the new administration will embrace the arts with gusto.”

Chicago’s Arts Industry is a pillar of our regional economy that generates more than $2 billion in economic activity and employs over 150,000 people annually. The arts attract talent, tourists and investment to the city and are the number one thing people appreciate most about Chicago according to a recent Tribune/WGN poll.

Recent studies have shown that cities that thrive are actively leveraging their Arts Industries to tackle broader civic issues, and those same cities support their Arts Industry accordingly to accomplish these goals.

Arts Alliance Illinois and the League of Chicago Theatres as well as the African American Arts Alliance, the Arts & Business Council, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, the Chicago Music Commission, the Chicago Arts Learning Initiative, the Chicago Public Art Group, the Chicago Cultural Alliance, Lawyers for Creative Arts, Urban Gateways, and others have joined forces to educate candidates about the importance of the arts to Chicago’s continued growth as a world-class city.

The coalition will not endorse or oppose candidates. The campaign will work to raise awareness about the various candidates and their arts policies and positions.

For more information on the campaign, visit There you can sign up for action alerts and updates and find more ways to take action.

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