Photo: Brad Knight
Recent research, extracted from the Point the Way report by Learning for Action of a coalition of Chicago arts and culture funders and capacity builders, shows nonprofit organizations in resource-depleted areas (often communities of color) experience a significant disadvantage in management capacity and infrastructure, often lacking even the capability of determining which issues to address first. Additionally, the Field Foundation of Illinois’s Heat Maps show residents in the study area are less than 10% Caucasian, which leads us to understand how racial inequity may be a factor in the decline in Chicago’s artistic vibrancy (Since 2015, Chicago’s ranking has dropped from 10th to 16th).
By laying over our own Engagement Map, we see how many nonprofit arts and cultural organizations we serve in the study area. There is barely any cross over! So, in response we’ve avowed, “A&BC will reach all 77 communities by 2020.”
Starting in January 2019 and carrying though 2020, the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) will work to expand and deepen its delivery of programs and services through the 77 Communities Initiative (77CI) – a realignment of resources to prioritize supporting creative enterprises in divested communities.
Through 77CI, A&BC will:
- Give principal consideration to minorities along with communities and organizations that are perpetually marginalized in the arts and culture landscape due to historical and cultural, political and socio-economic inequities;
- Listen to and build relationship among volunteers, community stakeholders, and artist-entrepreneurs; and
- Co-create solutions and opportunities to advance our city’s creative aspirations and potential, as measured by increased creative production, philanthropic support, earned revenue, and readiness for and paths to capital services and procurement.
To further advance our city’s creative aspirations and potential, A&BC will provide a “mobile field office” program consisting of Field Offices and Think & Do Tanks. These events—designed to bring our pro bono services directly into neighborhoods and advance local economic development efforts—are offered in partnership with community-based organizations, Chicago Public Libraries, and Chicago Park District Cultural Centers (e.g. South Shore, Austin Town Hall, Roseland, Douglas Park, Piotrowski Park, Marquette Park, Calumet Park, Hamilton Park, Piotrowski Park, Garfield Park, and Sherman Park.)
Additional methods of engagement, to date, include having:
- Mapped all 77 Communities over the past five years, acknowledging (as of 1/1/19) we had engaged with art makers in only 36 (47%) of our 77 Communities;
- Developed a strategy to engage with art makers in the other 41 Communities, by 12/31/20 and achieved 2019 Q1, Q2, Q3 goals – now having reached 51 of our 77 communities;
- Invited and settled a cohort of 10 ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American) organizations to work together over two years to co-create a capacity building plan (7 of these organizations come from the aforementioned 41 Communities);
- Modified our volunteer training and orientation to integrate anti-racist education that provides critical perspectives on racial inequities in arts and culture landscape and art and culture funding; and,
- Expanded and diversified our volunteer corps, which is central to our delivery of services, so that communities will be the direct beneficiaries of those who work and/or live in those communities.
Things We’re Thinking About
- Community Building in the Arts and Culture Sector: The Strategy Tripod in Action, Arts Consulting Group, 2019.
- The Overlooked Anchors: Advancing a New Standard of Practice for Arts and Culture Organizations to Create Equitable Opportunities in America’s Cities, The Kresge Foundation, 2019.
- Taking Root: The Growth of America’s New Creative Economy, Re:Create Coalition, 2017.
For more information on 77CI, email firstname.lastname@example.org.