A Statement in Observation of the Juneteenth Holiday

A Statement in Observation of the Juneteenth Holiday

The Chicago Cultural Alliance observes Juneteenth —also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day—as an official holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.

On that date, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War, Union Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston Texas, where some Black people were still enslaved. Granger issued a proclamation to the people of Texas re-affirming that based on President Lincoln’s order, all enslaved people were free.

There are currently forty-seven states, and the District of Columbia, that recognize Juneteenth as either an official or ceremonial holiday. A bill to recognize Juneteenth as a paid state holiday was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly and passed this week. We ask that you join the Alliance in observing Juneteenth so it is recognized by more citizens of the United States and internationally. 

 

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Restricts Cultural Activities

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Restricts Cultural Activities

Dear Chairman Tunney and Members of the Committee,

Recently, Landmarks Illinois and the Alphawood Foundation informed the Chicago Cultural Alliance about a proposed zoning amendment that would restrict establishing cultural exhibits and the housing of museums in “R” zoning districts and require special use permits. This proposal is in stark contrast to the mission of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. The Alliance is an arts advocacy organization that provides professional services to 42 ethnic museums, historical societies, and community centers, which we call our Core Members. Our members operating in “R” districts are active and central meeting places that contribute to stabilizing and improving their blocks and neighborhoods.

The Alliance was founded by and for Chicago’s neighborhood-based cultural institutions. Our mission is to promote, support, and connect centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive and equitable Chicago. Our members represent 30 different cultures around the world and are all based in 30 of the 77 Chicago neighborhoods and 10 suburbs.

These institutions protect and highlight Chicago’s history, foster economic stability through partnerships with local businesses and family-owned restaurants, and address residents’ needs in your wards and throughout the city. The Chicago Cultural Alliance strongly opposes this proposed zoning amendment. It will harm neighborhoods and create more uncertainty for these vital community institutions who are already a vulnerable class of small businesses because of the pandemic. It would also curtail other organizations who are planning to establish new museums and cultural exhibits, including the former home of Muddy Waters and a museum dedicated to Emmett Till.

The Alliance and our members provide cultural activities, education opportunities for teachers and students, and stimulate local business in neighborhoods. We also actively connect and partner with Alderman and Chambers of Commerce to emphasize how these institutions strengthen and rebuild our city. If members of the zoning committee want to learn more about our work, we invite you to join our monthly virtual town halls on the first Fridays of each month. If the Zoning Committee chooses to participate, please contact me at [email protected]

We urge you to vote against any change in the zoning code that will disallow and discourage our members’ operations. The proposal will seriously jeopardize the stability of neighborhood institutions that tell inclusive, equitable, and honest stories about this city and its people.

 

Monique Brinkman-Hill – Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center

Monique Brinkman-Hill – Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center

Have you met Monique?

If not, let us do the honor of introducing you to Monique Brinkman-Hill, who was appointed as South Side Community Art Center’s Executive Director in December 2019. Having to take over just before the start of 2020 and all the twists and turns it had in store, Monique and her team have worked hard to support their organization in its 80th year.

Do you want to hear about what it’s like to serve as a relatively new executive director during a pandemic and learn more about the South Side Community Art Center?

Listen (and/or watch) Monique’s interview with the Alliance’s own new executive director, Peter Vega, in this episode of Cultural Connections!

MOSAIC 2020 Outstanding Cultural Leader – Kathleen McDonald

MOSAIC 2020 Outstanding Cultural Leader – Kathleen McDonald

If you find yourself wondering how people end up working in their field or what it is like to work at a museum, this episode of Cultural Connections is perfect for you! 

Join Executive Director Peter Vega and Kathleen McDonald as they discuss their experiences in the arts/humanities. Kathleen has been active in the world of arts and humanities since her college years (even though it wasn’t her original plan!) and worked her way up the ranks in museums.

Maybe this episode will inspire you or someone you know to get involved at a local museum or heritage center!

We are a month into our Cultural Connections Campaign and we want to thank you for tuning in every week to listen to our members and supporters discuss topics on cultural diversity, inclusion, and equity. So far we have raised a total of $15,000 towards our goal of $50,000. We know we can hit that goal, but we need your help.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago.

We simply could not do this without you.

Presenting our “Stories of Arts Resilience”

Presenting our “Stories of Arts Resilience”

Stories of Arts Resilience:

Oral Histories of arts and museum professionals during the time of COVID-19.

Generously funded by Illinois Humanities

We at the Alliance are delighted to celebrate the release of the Stories of Arts Resilience project!

Thanks to generous support from Illinois Humanities through their Community Resilience Grant, the Stories of Arts Resilience (SOAR) project was created as a response to the shared struggles and spirit of perseverance throughout the arts and culture industry during this unprecedented moment in history. The Alliance worked with our Members to collect oral histories of their efforts during this crisis.

This project granted us the opportunity  to work with new tools and materials generated by our friends at StoryCorps Chicago, and to engage our Members in order to create an oral history archive that collects, documents, and shares museum and arts professionals’ first-hand responses to the COVID-19 crisis. 

All of the oral histories collected are now forever archived in the Story Corps Archive and in the Library of Congress!

Meet our participants.

Surinder Martignetti and Zachary Whittenburg

Surinder Martignetti (45) and her friend and colleague, Zachary Whittenburg (40), talk about where they grew up, places they’ve lived, their dance education, and their work today for Chicago arts organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jason Matsumoto and Mary Doi

Mary Doi (67) interviews her friend Jason Matsumoto (37) about Japanese Taiko drumming and his film career. He talks about how he has adapted the ensemble in 2020 to COVID-19 and to pay tribute to Black Lives Matter by performing for inmates outside the Cook County jail.

Lisa Doi and Mary Doi

Mary Doi [no age given] interviews her daughter Lisa Doi (29) about her work as an organizer at Tsuru for Solidarity advocating for the Japanese American community, the history of the paper crane, the evolution of folk art in the Japanese diaspora, the rise of hate crimes in Asian American communities during the pandemic, and the value of the arts as a tool for social awareness and change.

Anthony Hirschel and Amita Banerji

Amita Banerji (65) speaks to her colleague Anthony “Tony” Hirschel (63) about how the pandemic has transformed the arts, the digital expansion of audiences for the National Indo-American Museum (NIAM), the importance of creating and maintaining strong connections with community members and businesses, and the economic challenges for nonprofit organizations.

Eva Nye and Karin Abercrombie

Karin Moen Abercrombie (62) interviews her colleague Eva Nye (49) about her immigration journey from Sweden, navigating breast cancer and family life during the pandemic, and her work as an educator, artist and member of the Chicago Art Girls.

Soo Lon Moy and Ben Lau

Soo Lon Moy (70) speaks with her friend and colleague Ben Lau (62) about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, their lives, and the Chinese community in Chicago.

Tatsuyuki Aoki and Michael Takada

Michael Takata (64) has a conversation with friend and colleague Tatsuyuki “Tatsu” Aoki (62) about how the performing arts have adjusted to their audiences during the pandemic, lessons from the younger generation, and the importance of recognizing the legacy of the performing arts in the city.

Mary Doi and Cori Nakamura Lin

Mary Doi (67) interviews new friend Cori Nakamura Lin (28) about Cori’s work as an artist and community activist.

Nathan Ellstrand and Emiliano Aguilar

Friends and fellow PhD candidates, Nathan Ellstrand (33) and Emiliano Aguilar (28), talk about their interest in history, what they love about their fields of study, their research, and how their lives and their work has been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Cairo Dye and Henry Godinez

Cairo Dye (23) interviews her former professor Henry Godinez (62) about teaching theatre during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sara Chapman and Chelsey Thomas

Sara Chapman (38) has a conversation with her colleague Chelsey Thomas (24) about her work at Media Burn Archive, her experience learning from the community of filmmakers and audiences in Russia, how connectivity with global networks has changed during the pandemic, and their vision of film.

Our #GivingTuesday Roundtable is officially LIVE!

Our #GivingTuesday Roundtable is officially LIVE!

Our Giving Tuesday Roundtable is now LIVE! Featuring 

Moderated by WBEZ’s Steve Bynum!

Check out the video above to watch our members discuss the hardships cultural heritage centers have faced in this challenging year and how they are working to keep their organization afloat. 

Don’t forget we need your help as we raise $5,000 to get us towards our goal of $50,000. All donations help fund our unique cross-cultural collaborations such as this Roundtable, and capacity building programs like our Activating Heritage Conference. Giving Tuesday is the year’s biggest donation celebration, and it starts right now! 

Rather listen? Check us out on SpotifyStitcher or anywhere you get your podcasts!

The Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Board of Directors pledged to match dollar for dollar donations up to $5,000 until Giving Tuesday on December 1st. Your gift makes double the impact when you support the Chicago Cultural Alliance today.