The Chicago nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $2.2 billion industry. You’d be hard-pressed to go more than a couple of blocks without seeing a theater, dance company, museum, art gallery, or some other nonprofit arts organization, small or large.
And yet I still hear about new ones popping up quite frequently. Given that, the community of artists and arts administrators is extensive, and diverse—it’s a bona fide place of convergence for the creative types and transplants from across the country.
So why then, with such a vibrant arts community, is Illinois the 29th ranked state in per capita spending on the arts?
The answer is a problem that plagues not just Illinois, but permeates through the entire creative sector on a national level.
When I first moved to Chicago after graduating from college, I wanted to pursue an acting career. Even equipped with my political science degree, I had very little understanding about the relationship of public funding for the arts, and the importance of advocacy.
It took a graduate course at Goucher College, Principles of Arts Administration, for me to fully comprehend the power and necessity of arts advocacy. Therein lies the problem: an information gap for artists on the importance of advocacy. A possible solution? Giving artists a more easily accessible entry point to advocacy. Read the rest of this entry »