A principal problem for the Chicago arts community is a shortage of media coverage, both locally and nationally. One example: Chicago currently does not have a single full-time visual arts critic at a major newspaper. This situation might be mitigated by one or more coverage-friendly events: a set of awards for media, corporations and individuals who support the arts, as well as the artists who create it.
This "Chicago Arts Supporter Awards" would pair nicely with a "City of Chicago Art Awards" that recognizes excellence in theater, dance, visual arts, photography, music, literature and other disciplines. All would be presented in a televised gala, attended by the mayor, with awards presented by notable Chicagoans.
This "Oscars" for Chicago arts would not solely be focused on mere glitz, but also on exposing the public more to the range of quality art that comes from right here at home. Such awards would help put a share of quality artists more in the public eye and raise interest in the work of some of the best artists in Chicago.
The mayor should arrange for Chicago art to appear in his office and throughout City Hall, selection of which could come through an annual contest. Winning art would not be purchased, but rented from the artist for a year, and used to decorate the area around the mayor's office and some public and some private areas in City Hall, the Daley Center and other city buildings.
Winners and nominees would be invited to a gala party and have a chance to meet the mayor, alderman and major city officers. It would be a nice way for artists and government leaders to meet and establish a new rapport, as well as adding some visual interest -- even some glamor -- to City Hall and the Daley building.