CHICAGO – Chicago plans to invest $60 million in support of local artists and organizations across the city.
The initiative, called “Arts 77 Recovery Plan,” will help benefit 77 Chicago neighborhoods. Since the start of the pandemic, painters, performance artists, musicians and others have struggled to create and showcase their work. The program is designed to fund venues and other outlets for artists.
Englewood Arts Collective is one of many institutions benefitting from the recovery plan.
“One of the challenges is financial burden, said Janell Nelson, co-founder of Englewood arts collective. “Sometimes, you just got to put food on the table. That artistic practice, that’s your passion, you may have to make it a hobby for a little while.”
The program also calls on current public art for the new international terminal planned at Chicago O’Hare airport.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday announced the new citywide initiative.
“Our hope is that we can disperse these funds to 10 artists and they can utilize those funds as ever they see fit,” Lightfoot said.
Robert Gomez, who serves on the mayor’s cultural advisory council, the program will create a “special emphasis” on opportunities in the city’s South and West side. “I think the important part there is typically those neighborhoods have been ignored.”
City officials hope the recovery program ensures that doesn’t happen.
“We stay here because of our culture,” Gomez said. “We are not here because of the weather. Without it, Chicago doesn’t have its foundation. Doesn’t have what it brings to the world.”