CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is excited about a new Cultural Plan being finalized for the City of Chicago.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, a draft of the plan was unveiled on Monday. Mayor Emanuel says the plan, spearheaded by Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone, will be the first cultural plan since back when Harold Washington was mayor.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The plan enacted under Mayor Washington, Emanuel notes, was hugely successful.

“I’ve been briefed on the draft. There’s four more meetings to go – neighborhood meetings. I’ve had my commissioners all – because I expect everybody to participate in this – and that is to see the cultural diversity – the cultural diversity of experience – to be essential to the health and well-being of the city and the vibrancy of the city, and I can’t wait to get the final report,” Emanuel said.


Among the ideas in the plan is the creation of a Museum Campus South that would link the Museum of Science and Industry with the DuSable Museum of African-American History.

However, neither a draft of the plan nor published reports on the subject have explained what this would involve. Unlike the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium – which are all in close proximity on the Museum Campus just south of downtown – the MSI and the DuSable Museum are more than a mile apart.

The museums are connected indirectly by a ribbon of green space in the form of the Midway Plaisance, which links Jackson Park with Washington Park and comprises the front yard for the University of Chicago campus. No reports have said whether any U of C institutions might also be included in the campus.

The draft does say the Museum Campus South would involve “new capital infrastructure” around both museums.

The draft also calls for an assortment of moves to attract and retain artists and creative professionals, including a program for artists in residence in every ward.

Advances in arts education, “cross-pollination” of neighborhood arts and cultural programs, and efforts to make Chicago a global destination for cultural tourism, are also called for in the report.

The plan also calls for a new dedicated tax for arts and culture, according to published reports.

The last cultural plan was drafted under Mayor Harold Washington more than 25 years ago. It set the stage for the redevelopment of Navy Pier from an underutilized festival space into what quickly became the state’s top tourist attraction, the development of the North Loop theatre district on Randolph Street, among other major achievements.

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