The Arts & Business Council of Chicago’s (A&BC) amazing Summer Fellow Brenna C. Cronin took some time to reflect on her experiences working with A&BC and her thoughts on our approach to address inequities in Chicago arts and culture through our 77 Communities Initiative. Brenna came to A&BC from Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises (MSLCE) program – of which she is now a graduate! Read on to see what Brenna has to say about her work with A&BC…

MSLCE Program Director Jennifer Novak-Leonard and A&BC’s 2019 Summer Fellow Brenna C. Cronin

Contributor: Brenna C. Cronin / 2019 Summer Fellow

My approach to finding a summer fellowship came from a lot of discernment about where my MSLCE learnings could be best amplified. As a Chicago native committed to the mentality that “Midwest is Best”, finding a fellowship in Chicago was important to me. Knowing that I was looking for something more tailored than a general internship, I sought out organizations that could provide specific experiences in Development and Nonprofit Leadership, my two focus areas. After an email to the Arts & Business Council, it appeared to be a perfect match. What I would learn about A&BC’s work would defy all expectations and provide an experience that felt meant-to-be.

To become disinvested in a community is to withdraw resources. To divest a community is to intentionally deprive them of those resources—of power, of rights, and of possessions. Despite best intentions and the efforts of so many different organizations, Chicago remains a racially segregated city. The Field Foundation’s Heat Maps point to these resource disparities and show how crime and poverty often go hand in hand. Our work must begin at looking at an issue holistically, acknowledging every piece of the disparity.

Click here to read Brenna’s full reflection on her work with A&BC!