What Rahm Should Do For Chicago Arts

Published May 12, 2011

12) Establish More Programs Where Chicago Artists Can Share Their Work

Chicago music concertChicago Artists working in all disciplines need more ways to connect directly with the people of Chicago. A series of events centered around various disciplines – literature, theater, art, dance – could provide accessible venues for both audiences and artists.

In terms of timing and location, one possibility could be pre-concert at Pritzker Pavilion in Grant Park. Others arts sharing events could site themselves in large libraries, schools and cultural centers. Artists could perform, exhibit and/or talk about their work.

Years ago the State of Illinois had a program by which poets were paid to read their poetry in state tours. This was quite successful in that it helped Illinois Poets reach a larger public. The City of Chicago should consider a similar program for a wider variety of arts.

13) Create a Ticket Voucher System for Chicago Theater

A French program provided theater ticket vouchers to people who ordinarily couldn't afford to go. As a result, a lot more people started going to the theater. When the new government threatened to cut these vouchers, one Frenchman, a middle class working man, said "If they cut my salary a bit I can live with that, and if they cut my pension a by a few Euros I can live with that. But if they try to cut my theater tickets, there's going to be big trouble!"

Chicago would benefit from some similar types of programs to boost theater attendance and raise its overall local profile. Perhaps tickets could be offered through special programs at half-price, or "first-timer" passes provided to people who haven't attended a given theater. Family passes or "family nights" would help make theater more affordable to a wider range of Chicagoans, and serve an important role in exposing more children to the arts.