Everybody knows that the current economic climate is pretty terrible, yet creative people continue to make projects happen, and audiences continue to support those projects. Recently a "No Cuts to Chicago Music, Arts & Cultural Programs" petition has been going around. Several months ago the Chicago Music Commission website ran a story entitled "Moving the Story Forward on the Promoter Ordinance,"; the music community must continue to be vigilant about this, since one never knows when the promoter ordinance situation will take a new turn.
The arts always needs more funding and support. Of course, people who are dedicated to the arts will continue to put their effort, time, and money into making projects happen. But institutions -- corporations, foundations, government -- need to do their part and step up to support the arts. Recently Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich wrote an op-ed piece about how budget cutbacks have been affecting Chicago's music festivals. In rough economic times, it's the arts that often get slashed first, because many people seem to think that the arts are "luxury" or not core things that need to be saved. That is wrong-headed thinking: the arts should always continue to be supported. A healthy society encourages and supports its arts and artists.
Chicago is world renowned for innovations in architecture, music, visual art, film, etc., yet the effects of more budget cuts can be seen and felt. Empty storefronts seem to be everywhere you look. But let's not focus on just doom and gloom, because exciting things continue to happen. What glimmers of hope can be found in the Midwest -- in Chicago, Madison, Cincinnati, Green Bay, St. Paul, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Carbondale, Urbana-Champaign, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, etc. -- in terms of new opportunities, new revenue streams, new funding initiatives?