When I came across the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 over at chicagoist.com, I was a little taken aback. I’ll be the first to admit it – I didn’t know cities actually planned for their cultural future’s. In talking to grown-ups, they tend to lead on that things like that happen per the “market’s demand.” And in the same conversation you hear, “If you don’t like our City then you can move on and find one that suits you.”
Having grown up just outside Chicago, in quaint little Geneva, I can tell you that there were countless trips to city proper throughout 23 years. You begin to realize as you get older that the city itself has so many nooks and crannies that you could not possibly see everything it has to offer. I read somewhere recently that Chicago is the “City of Neighborhoods.”
When I was younger I didn’t realize how important this is to a city’s identity and its economic vitality. I knew we went to museums, parks, sporting events, restaurants, shops and everything in between, but I guess I didn’t realize that was “culture” I was being introduced to. It seemed so effortless, but you felt wore out by the end of the day because there was so much to take in.
It may be known as the Second City, may be the third most populous city in the U.S. now, but I genuinely applaud the way Chicago is taking a first-class, leader of the pack approach to creating the Chicago of the Future driven by what makes it so unique – the arts and its people.
Below is the Plan itself, and from the Forward, here is a nice quote from the Mayor, Rahm Emanuel:
It’s bold, filled with actionable items that can be realized quickly and those that are aspirational and may take decades to complete. All are intended to support the breadth of arts and culture in Chicago from garage bands to symphonies; storefront theaters to main stages; novelists to poetry slam performers; ballet to hip hop dance; world-class museums to independent galleries; architecture to interior design; fashion to photography;culinary arts to sculpture; film making to electronic media; neighborhood festivals to downtown spectacles; and the thousands of artists that make Chicago their home.