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Rahm Emanuel on the arts in Chicago

APTOPIX Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel after winning the Chicago mayoral election on Feb. 22. AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast

The Chicago Tribune has a piece today about newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his approach to the arts in that city. The whole piece is worth a read for the lessons embedded in it, but this particular quote should have a special resonance for Buffalonians:

"While the city no doubt faces critical fiscal challenges," Emanuel told the Tribune, "the arts are no less essential to the growth of a great city."

Did you catch that, Byron and Chris?

This passage, in which Emanuel details the need for a city-wide cultural plan, is liable to make local arts supporters (of which there are hundreds of thousands, few of whom have made their way into city or county government) green with envy:

A healthy arts and cultural community is vital to the overall economic climate in Chicago. Our Department of Cultural Affairs needs a renewed mission and new investment. As mayor, my first action in this area will be to order the creation of a new cultural plan for Chicago. The planning process should include an assessment of our cultural resources, and a discussion with artists in every neighborhood and in all arts and cultural disciplines about our collective needs, opportunities, and priorities. From this process the Department of Cultural Affairs can create new strategies that promote vibrant arts and cultural hubs in every community and help to anchor economic growth on every side of the city.

--Colin Dabkowski


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