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Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Announce $10M in Grant Support to 77 Nonprofit Arts Organizations

Posted  14 months ago

4 MIN READ – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced 77 “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” grantees, providing $10 million in project grant funding to aid local arts organizations still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This new program, combined with DCASE’s annual “CityArts Program” providing $6.5 million in general operating support (with new grantees to be announced in July), totals $16.5 million in direct support to Chicago arts nonprofits in 2023 — the largest in DCASE’s history.


“Nonprofit arts organizations are essential to the fabric of our city,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The 2023 Cultural Grants program supports the nonprofits that empower artists and creative workers and ensure their continued recovery from the pandemic. This latest program builds upon our ongoing commitment to revitalize and strengthen the city’s diverse arts community.”

The new “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” supports marketing and audience development, facilities, technology, planning, and workforce development for nonprofit arts organizations. Supported by federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, this program provides arts organizations with resources to examine and address ongoing challenges brought on or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants awarded range from $50,000 – $235,000 and include participation in learning cohorts. The list of grantees is available at ChicagoCulturalGrants.org.

“Under Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership, we’ve made unprecedented investments in arts and culture,” said DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “In 2022, a transformational $10 million boost to our Cultural Grants budget means we’ll no longer rely solely on the hotel occupancy tax to fund the arts — and in 2023, we’re making the largest investment in arts nonprofits in DCASE’s history. These grant programs are part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure that Chicago remains an innovative and thriving cultural hub.”

Additionally, Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE today announced 14 “Chicago Presents Loop Program” grants totaling $850,000 to support arts programming in Chicago’s downtown. These grantees are also listed at ChicagoCulturalGrants.org. This special initiative is part of a larger $2.2 million “Chicago Presents Program” offering support for free, public programs in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“These latest investments further signify the City of Chicago’s commitment to the incredible arts and cultural organizations and artists found in all 77 neighborhoods,” said Claire Rice, Executive Director at Arts Alliance Illinois, a “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” grantee. “We thank the Mayor and First Lady for recognizing the civic, social, and economic impact of our $3.2 billion industry, representing over 85,000 jobs, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.”

The full list of 2023 DCASE Cultural Grants Program opportunities, including support for individual artists and event producers, is below:

  • DCASE is currently accepting ideas for the “Neighborhood Access Program” through May 19, 2023 — providing support for all types of community-based arts and culture activities.
  • Additional “Chicago Presents Program” grantees will be announced later this month, and the 2024 cycle will open in the fall.
  • 2023 “Individual Artists Program” grants will be announced later this spring. The next cycle of the program will open in November 2023, providing project-based funding for practicing artists.
  • 2023 grantees of the annual “CityArts Program” providing general operating support to nonprofit arts organizations will be announced in July 2023. The 2024 cycle will open early over the winter.
  • As announced above, the “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” has closed, awarding 77 grants to nonprofit arts organizations in May 2023.
  • To learn more, visit ChicagoCulturalGrants.org.

Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE are committed to strengthening the capacity of Chicago’s arts and culture sector through connecting artists and arts organizations with City of Chicago grants and resources. Together, these programs provide a range of funding opportunities to bolster artists’ livelihoods as part of Chicago’s thriving arts economy and to bring enriching and impactful arts activities and services throughout Chicago’s communities.

2022 DCASE Impact Report

Earlier this year, DCASE released its Impact Report for 2022, which highlights:

  • A transformational $10 million increase in the Cultural Grants budget
  • Grants now awarded in all 50 wards, compared to only 35 wards in 2016
  • $6 million committed for public art in all INVEST South/West neighborhoods
  • $3.5 million for public art projects at O’Hare International Airport
  • Record-breaking $691 million in TV & Film revenue
  • 130 Festivals & Events, providing $2 million in direct support to artists and organizations

Visit the digital 2022 DCASE Impact Report.

Under the “Chicago Presents ProgramChicago Loop Alliance was selected to receive funding for our Sundays on State event series taking place on July 16 and August 13, 2023. 

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