Get Ready for Activating Heritage 2022!

Get Ready for Activating Heritage 2022!

Our annual Activating Heritage conference for arts and culture professionals is starting soon, March 21-25. We’re excited to share with you everything we’ve got in store this year. Read below to learn a little more about Activating Heritage. We hope you’ll join us!

What Is the Activating Heritage conference?

Activating Heritage is an annual conference developed and delivered by the Alliance, in cooperation with Partners and Core Members. The conference connects our Members and other arts & culture workers from across the Chicago region with meaningful, capacity-building presentations and workshops facilitated by a host of scholars and leaders in the field. By reviewing best practices in financial management, marketing and communications, grant writing, collections practices, and other topics, the Alliance strengthens our members’ capacity to fulfill their significant and unique missions.

Mosaicdragon dancers

Guests at a past Activating Heritage.

What can we expect from this year’s Activating Heritage?

The conference theme this year is “The Stories We Tell.” Sessions on topics from budgeting to oral history management will all connect back to the power of narratives and storytelling.

The first day’s events on Monday, March 21 will take place in-person at DANK Haus German American Cultural Center. We’ll kick off with a Plenary Session panel with Emmy-winning reporter Adriana Cardona-Maguigad and Media Burn Executive Director Sarah Chapman in discussion on the power of narratives, moderated by award-winning storyteller Ada Cheng. We’ll follow that with a presentation of the Alliance’s Outstanding Community Award Leader nominations. Then a Networking Brunch will start at 12pm, with food from Blue Sky Bakery.

All sessions from Tuesday through Friday will be hosted online, available to join live via Zoom or to watch via a secure livestream. We have a wide range of speakers lined up to share their insights and expertise, including:

  • Christena Gunther, Founder and President, Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium
  • Carlos Hevia, Director of Business Development, Multilingual Connections
  • Latham Zearfoss, Cultural Liaison for the Cultural Asset Mapping Project
  • And lots more

Who should come to Activating Heritage?

Museum workers, curators, artists, educators, nonprofit professionals, humanities students, historians, cultural heritage workers. Anyone who loves culture and believes it is worth preserving and sharing may find the conference valuable and is welcome to attend!

Sounds great! Where do I register?

Hooray! We’ll see you there! 

Register online at or click the button below. General Registration is $35, Partner Members are $25, Core Members are $20, and Students are $12.

The Chicago Cultural Alliance is committed to economic equity and inclusion. If you are in need of financial support for admission expenses, please email

We’re proud of the conference lineup we’ve prepared for you this year and hope to see you there. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions!

Marie Rowley, Marketing and Communications Manager

Register now for Activating Heritage!

Register now for Activating Heritage!

We’re less than 2 weeks away from the start of our annual Activating Heritage conference! The Alliance organizes the conference based on the feedback provided by you, our Members, telling us what topics and panels you’d like to see. We hope you’ll find the sessions and workshops we have planned useful!

The first day of the conference will take place in person at DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, 4740 N Western Ave, from 10am-1pm. We’ll have a Plenary Session panel, our Outstanding Community Leader Award nomination presentations, and a Networking Brunch with tables from visiting sponsors.

All events from Tuesday March 22 through Friday March 25 are virtual, available to join via Zoom or to watch via livestream. Videos will be available for some of the sessions if you miss them but not all due to privacy restrictions from some of our speakers.

Core Member staff, board members and volunteers can register for $20. Partner Members can register for $25. We are committed to economic equity and inclusion. If you are in need of financial support for admission expenses, please email


Outstanding Community Leader Award Nominations Due Friday, March 4!

Outstanding Community Leader Award Nominations Due Friday, March 4!

Calling all Core Members! Every year we have the chance to celebrate and honor the leaders among us who have gone above and beyond to promote, support, preserve, and champion their cultures and their institutions. Outstanding Community Leaders are nominated by Core Members, and voted on by Core Members. Tell us who deserves to be celebrated!

For a great example of how the Outstanding Community Leader Award can have an impact, check out this article on Sherry Williams from last year: “A Bronzeville Historian Is Making Black Chicago History More Accessible — And She Wants To Hear Your Family’s Story”

An Outstanding Community Leader Award can be used to generate a press release (I’m happy to help with that!), to spur excitement with your own organization’s donor network, to use in your year-end fundraising efforts, to promote your credentials when applying for grants, and so on!


The nomination application must be sent as a Word or Google Doc to Abby Foss at no later than 11:59pm CST on Friday, March 4. 

Your application should include a short biography of your nominee (max 100 words), and an explanation of how they are an example of an Outstanding Community Leader for your community or your organization (max 1000 words).
Examples of their work could include how they:
1. Help shape a more genuine and encompassing representation of his/her community
2. Bring more visibility to the community by adapting to changing neighborhood and city demographics
3. Embrace the values of inclusion and tolerance in making a more culturally vibrant city
4. Pioneer new ideas and experimental practices
5. Exemplify being an empathetic & understanding leader towards ALL people

Use any of the above in your narrative, but most importantly just speak from the heart on why this person is an important leader who goes above and beyond for their community!

Please read the full details of what to include in the application here.

You will be asked to present a short presentation (5 minutes max) on your nominee at the in-person Activating Heritage event on Monday, March 21 at DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, 4740 N Western Ave. If you cannot attend this event but want to nominate someone, please let us know and we will read a short presentation in your place.

Short bios of all nominees will also be emailed to all Core Members of the Alliance, so everyone who could not attend in-person will also have the opportunity to learn about the nominees.

After the presentations and the bios have been shared, all Core Members will have the chance to vote for an Outstanding Community Leader via a Google form. Voting will be open from March 21-25. Results will be announced in the MemberWire newsletter on April 1, and we can celebrate together at the Virtual Town Hall on April 1 at 3pm!