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Chicago announces $11 million in new support for the arts

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 2/2/2023 Doug George, Chicago Tribune

In a latest major round of civic funding for Chicago artists, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on Thursday announced $11 million in grants for nonprofit arts organizations, including via a new Chicago Arts Recovery Program.

The money will be distributed two ways: $4.5 million will go to the new program, described in the announcement as aid for arts organizations in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And $6.5 million will fund the preexisting CityArts Program, which provides operating support “for nonprofits of all sizes and artistic disciplines.”

DCASE also provided a calendar for funding and next steps in 2023.

“Nonprofit arts organizations are essential to the fabric of our city,” Lightfoot said in part in the announcement. “This latest program builds upon our ongoing commitment to revitalize and strengthen our city’s diverse arts community.”

Applications are now open for the Chicago Arts Recovery Program, which is supported by American Rescue Plan Act funds. Grants from $50,000 to $250,000 are available in support of marketing and audience development, facilities, technology, planning, and workforce development for nonprofit arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Register for webinars and apply through Feb. 28.)

The CityArts Program, which expanded to its current size in 2022 from $1.7 million in 2021, awards one-time renewable grants of $10,000 to $50,000. Organizations that were not given money in 2022 will be eligible to apply in 2023. (Applications open Feb. 10.)

Additionally, new applications for Chicago Presents will open in February; DCASE will begin accepting ideas in April for the Neighborhood Access Program that supports community-based arts and culture activities; and the next round of the city’s Individual Artists Program will open in November with funding for practicing artists.

In the last couple of years, the city has rolled out a number of funding programs for Chicago artists and arts organizations that have been rocked by pandemic shutdowns, including 2021′s Arts 77 initiative.

“Arts organizations across all disciplines are still reporting decreases in operating revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” DCASE commissioner Erin Harkey said in Thursday’s announcement, with the goal of the programs being that “Chicago remains an innovative and thriving cultural hub.”

More information and applications at

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