Ignite Fund Launched For Chicago
Chicago-based nonprofit organization 3Arts is partnering with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to launch the Ignite Fund, which will support the creation and public presentation of new visual arts-based projects by Chicago-area artists and artist-led collectives. As part of the Foundation’s Regional Regranting Program, up to thirteen grants ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 will be awarded through an application platform that runs May 11-June 24, with grantees announced in September. Funding innovative, collaborative and public-facing new art, the Ignite Fund will join thirty-one other organizations across the country as a Regional Regranting Program partner. Details here.
Hebru Brantley’s First Statue Stands Guard At Navy Pier Children’s Museum
“When kids approach Navy Pier’s new sixteen-foot statue of Flyboy—the iconic be-goggled character created by renowned Chicago artist Hebru Brantley—they imitate him,” reports the Sun-Times. “They cross their arms over their chests, like he does. They stand up straight and look toward the South Side, like he does. And they grin, just like he does. ‘They look up, they gaze at it, and they’re instantly inspired,’ said Jennifer Farrington, president of the Chicago Children’s Museum, where the statue stands outside on the pier’s south dock.”
Toledo Museum Of Art Set To Deaccession Over $50 Million In Holdings
Christopher Knight, art critic of the Los Angeles Times, is not pleased with the trend toward museums deaccessioning holdings. “Selling important art from museum collections is foolishly pursued as a good way to raise money to support diversity initiatives. To fund the hard work of community-oriented institutional change, a counterproductive raid on the collection is defended. In Baltimore, San Francisco, Newark, Brooklyn, Syracuse and elsewhere, major art by major artists has been pushed out.” The latest institution is the Toledo Museum of Art, which “has put upward of $48 million worth of art—and perhaps as much as $62 million, if the estimates are right—to be monetized on the auction block at Sotheby’s in New York on May 17.” Among the pieces under the hammer are works by Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse. “The shame is that the museum feels no obligation to keep these works in the public realm, where they’ve resided for generations. The artists are inarguably major figures in Modern art’s history, and these paintings illuminate important aspects of their work; holding them is a prime reason an art museum exists.”
“Immersive Monet & The Impressionists” Coming To Chicago
“The newest experience arrives in Chicago June 17 courtesy of ‘Immersive Monet & The Impressionists,’ running through September 25 at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago,” reports the Sun-Times. “Chicago has developed a love affair with these immersive exhibitions, including ‘Immersive Van Gogh’ (extended through July 23) and ‘Immersive Frida Kahlo,’ which is scheduled through July 24, both currently at ArtSpace Chicago. The three exhibits will be presented in repertory on alternating days.”
“Street Sideshows” That Halt Traffic Now Illegal
People will be prohibited to slow or stop due to a street sideshow on any street or highway, based on a measure signed into law Friday. “Law enforcement officials need to be able to keep people safe,” said sponsor Tony Munoz (D-Chicago). “Without this law, innocent people were put in dangerous situations with no one to stop them.” “According to a CBS report, the Eisenhower Expressway was shut down in December 2021 with drivers blocking the on- and off-ramps and every lane while a group of people engaged in dangerous stunts, such as doing donuts with their cars and dancing on the expressway,” Munoz relays in a release. “The new law defines a street sideshow as any event in which one or more cars block or impede traffic to perform unauthorized motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, or motor vehicle exhibitions of speed. Munoz’ law prohibits a street sideshow on any street or highway in Illinois and a person may not knowingly cause the movement of traffic to slow or stop for the purpose of facilitating street racing or a street sideshow. Under the previous law, people cannot be arrested for blocking a street or highway.”
UChicago Library Awarded Grant To Digitize Historical Chicago Maps
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the University of Chicago Library, in partnership with the Newberry Library and the Chicago History Museum, a grant to digitize historical maps of Chicago from the nineteenth century through 1940. The grant of $348,930 to fund their proposal, “Mapping Chicagoland,” will also support the enrichment of the digital images with geographic information for use in spatial overlays and analyses, as well as the work to make them open to the public on the UChicago Library website. The collaboration will draw on materials from all three institutions and leverage expertise and resources at the UChicago Library to scan, add spatial data, create metadata and make openly available 4,101 digitized maps in the fall of 2024. The maps range from the earliest cartographic representations of Chicago prior to its incorporation through its rapid expansion in the early twentieth century. Maps from that period are rich sources of information for scholarly and community study that illuminate the history and contribute to our understanding of contemporary Chicago.
Back Of The Yards Affordable Housing, Community Hub To Encourage Local Businesses
“The team behind the winning Invest South/West proposal to overhaul Back of the Yards’ retail corridor is joining forces with a developer that lost out on the city bid, broadening the scope of the project to bring in local entrepreneurs,” reports Block Club. “The city chose United Yards, a proposal from Celadon Partners and Blackwood Group, as the winning bid in 2021 to transform the lot at 1515 West 47th with affordable housing units and an opportunity hub as part of Invest South/West. The city program is focused on providing funding to spur development in under-resourced neighborhoods.”
A Plan To Preserve Those Loop High-Rises And Brick Up Its Windows
The Sun-Times’ David Roeder talks to Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago: “Miller wants to rescue the Century and the Consumers buildings, the two early twentieth-century high-rises” on South State. “They are skinny buildings that long ago appealed to small shops and professional firms…The ornamented buildings have been empty for years and have deteriorated. The federal government owns them and wants them destroyed because they back up against the Dirksen Federal Building… Miller believes he has a solution for preservation and safety. The buildings could be renovated as a collaborative archives center, mostly for religious orders or similar groups… ‘Archives don’t need direct sunlight. In fact, sunlight is bad for records.’ The problematic windows could be sealed off or bricked over.”
Public Toilet Proposal Causes Oak Park Tempers To Flare
“The discussion over whether the village should purchase a self-cleaning portable restroom for an undecided downtown location became an argument over the differing political ideals of two veteran trustees versus two trustees early into their second year on the board,” reports Wednesday Journal. “‘This is honestly about the dignity of human life,’ said trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla, now in the last year of her four-year term.” The estimates received by Oak Park range from around $200,000 to just under $500,000. Trustee Ravi Parakkat said “the long-term costs of the latrine would make Oak Park too expensive for residents, particularly older adults, to live in. ‘This is exactly the trend that will push them out of the community.’ Walker-Peddakotla: ‘I don’t know what the success metrics for this are—how many people go pee in a bathroom? That’s just a wild question to me.'”
DINING & DRINKING
Piece Brewer Jonathan Cutler Was Forty-Nine
Posted on Instagram by Piece Pizzeria: “We are deeply saddened to share the news that Jonathan Cutler, our founding award-winning brewer for nineteen years, has died. Jonathan put Piece on the map as one of the country’s best brewpubs and led us to twenty-nine medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. Let’s raise a glass to Jonathan, one of the nation’s best brewers, and recognize his many contributions to Piece and the Chicago brewing community.”
Chicago Food Truck Festival Returns To Daley Plaza
The Chicago Food Truck Festival returns to 50 West Washington in Daley Plaza from May 20-October 7, reports YIMBY Chicago. There will be a rotating selection of food trucks from around the city on Fridays from 11am-3pm.
Hide + Seek On Restaurant Row
A two-level restaurant is coming to Randolph Restaurant Row, reports Eater Chicago. “Hide + Seek, a Mediterranean-influenced new American spot with a management team that includes Prysm nightclub co-owner Nick Karounos, is scheduled to open this summer at 838 West Randolph. The space, tucked between Bar Sienna and a forthcoming outpost of the cult East Coast bakery Levain, was most recently occupied by pop-up Nosh & Booze, and housed Vivo for a quarter century.”
Curbside-Only Grocery Comes To Chicago
Axios Chicago looks at Fresh Street, the first local drive-up grocery: “The business model [targets] families with a car but not much time; it’s not about competing with urban delivery services like Getir or Gopuff.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Film Critics And Rotten Tomatoes Award Emerging Critics Grants
Rotten Tomatoes and the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) have named the inaugural recipients of the Emerging Critics Grant program, designed to support diverse aspiring critics from the Chicago area. The first two grants went to to B.L. Panther (they/them) and Shelli Nicole (she/her), emerging writers with distinct critical voices whose early work impressed the selection committee, consisting of representatives from both Rotten Tomatoes and the CFCA. The recipients, B.L. Panther and Shelli Nicole, receive an all-access pass to the ninth Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (May 13-19) as well as invitations to receptions, press junkets and other events. Recipients will receive career support through one-on-one mentorship with CFCA members, an opportunity to work with Rotten Tomatoes’ editorial team and publish a Festival-related article for the site, as well as a $2,500 grant and a $100 Fandango gift card.
Myopic Books Sold To Longtime Employees J. R. Nelson And Matthew Revers
“Hello friends! After almost twenty years at Myopic Books, tomorrow will be my first day as an owner,” bookstore manager and music writer J. R. Nelson posted late Monday regarding Wicker Park nearly-last-man-standing landmark Myopic. “This afternoon I, along with my business partner and longtime co-worker, Matthew Revers, finalized the purchase of Myopic from the current owner, Rita M. Clark. Rita’s tireless dedication to her customers and employees over the past eleven years has put Matt and I in the best possible position to keep Myopic thriving in our community for many, many years to come…. Myopic’s customers can expect more of what we’ve always worked so hard to provide—a welcoming space for everyone in our community, and a staff dedicated to curating the city’s finest selection of used books.” Comments Philip Montoro of the Reader: “Proof that all you have to do to keep a low-overhead business afloat in a gentrifying neighborhood is invest decades of your life! Ha ha! Seriously, I’m so glad you’ve made this happen. Very few people could have—it’s wonderful that you were in the right place at the right time.”
Pulitzers Prize Trib Local Reporting
Madison Hopkins of the Better Government Association and Cecilia Reyes of the Chicago Tribune received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, which includes a $15,000 prize, “for a piercing examination of the city’s long history of failed building- and fire-safety code enforcement, which let scofflaw landlords commit serious violations that resulted in dozens of unnecessary deaths.”
Government Capping Cost Of High Speed Internet Access For Many
Twenty leading internet service providers have agreed to offer basic low-cost plans that will be free for millions of Americans (after a refund), reports Yahoo. “The twenty companies, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, cover more than 80% of the U.S. population. They will immediately provide at least one plan that costs no more than $30 a month and provides download speeds of at least 100 mbps… The White House says that forty percent of the U.S. population, about 48 million households, will be eligible… thanks to $65 billion set aside for high speed internet in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law.” The White House fact sheet is here. The application is here.
Chicago Has Marked High-Speed Internet Access Disparities
An analysis and neighborhood ranking released today by the University of Chicago Data Science Institute describes a range of new detail about the deep disparities in connectivity to high-speed Internet in Chicago. Researchers discovered a roughly forty-point difference between the most connected neighborhoods in the Loop and Near North Side, where more than ninety-four percent of households are connected, and the far South Side neighborhoods of Burnside and West Englewood, where fewer than sixty-two percent of households are connected. This finding is part of a long-term effort by the Internet Equity Initiative, an innovative effort from the University of Chicago Data Science Institute to reduce disparities. The work of this initiative is critical because it highlights the need to collect and analyze local level data to make sure federal funding is used most effectively to mitigate the “digital divide.”
Tonys Nominate “The Minutes,” “Paradise Square,” “SIX: The Musical”
There are Chicago connections to multiple Tony Award nominations; the winners are announced at the June 12 show. Topping the roster, Best Musical: “Paradise Square” and “SIX: The Musical,” both of which had their out-of-town tryouts here on their way to Broadway, and Best Play, “The Minutes,” the Tracy Letts work that debuted at Steppenwolf and brought most of its cast and creative team to Broadway. For “Paradise Square”: actors Joaquina Kalukango, Sidney DuPont, A.J. Shively; book of a musical, Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas & Larry Kirwan; score, music: Jason Howland and lyrics: Nathan Tysen & Masi Asare; choreography, Bill T. Jones; scenic design, Allen Moyer; costume design, Toni-Leslie James; lighting design, Donald Holder. For “SIX: The Musical”: score, music and lyrics: Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss; direction of a musical, Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage; choreography, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille; orchestrations, Tom Curran; costume design, Gabriella Slade; lighting design, Tim Deiling; sound design, Paul Gatehouse. The revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” and Sam Rockwell were also nominated.
Second City Names Artistic Advisory Board
The Second City has announced an artistic advisory board to promote and secure the organization’s success. “As The Second City works to attract and foster the next generation of comedy, the esteemed fifteen-member board will guide The Second City’s creative direction and uphold the creative values of the institution. The artistic advisory board will work with The Second City to discuss the direction of the theater and the ways in which they can support its artists, helping inform the artistic direction of The Second City. As well-known alumni and community members of The Second City, they will champion the artistic and comedic standards of the organization through direct engagement which supports the recovery and growth of the theater.”
The board, which is comprised of Second City alumni and community members, includes artistic advisory board chair Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Dwayne Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Lynch, Tim Meadows, Peter Murrieta, Suzy Nakamura, Catherine O’Hara, Sam Richardson, Jeff Richmond, Jason Sudeikis and Robin Thede. “I’m grateful to my fellow Artistic Advisory Board members for being so generous with their time and talent,” Colbert says. “We all believe that comedy is better off with a vital Second City. We want to share our experience of this tradition which helped form who we are as comedians and artists and help encourage a new generation to make that tradition their own.” The Second City management team will continue to be responsible for day-to-day operations while the artistic advisory board “will champion the artistic standards of The Second City and inform the creative direction of the theater.” Acquired last year by private equity firm ZelnickMedia Corporation, The Second City marked its sixty-second year in business on December 16, 2021.
ARTS & CULTURE
Fox River Valley Queer Prom Sells Out
“Organizers behind the Fox River Valley’s first Queer Prom worried there might be protesters. No protesters came, but plenty of teens and their parents did, all searching for a place where they could feel accepted,” reports WBEZ.
The Roe Beat
The Reader has photos from Saturday’s downtown protests: “Hundreds of Chicagoans were joined by Governor J.B. Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton as they marched in support of abortion rights.” WBEZ has an interview with former “Roe” attorney Gloria Allred here.
“What most people don’t know is that we are already living in a reality that is much more sinister,” claims filmmaker Michael Moore at his Substack. “Confide in a desperate text to your friend your fears of being pregnant, or simply Google the word ‘abortion’ before having a miscarriage… and you can be charged with murder.” The Politico scoop on the Alito draft was the most viewed story in the outlet’s history.
“The New York Times moved swiftly to change the word fetus, Monday’s answer to its daily Wordle puzzle, out of fear that it would be seen as some sort of commentary on the debate over abortion rights,” reports AP. “The change caused confusion as it was only implemented for some of the game’s players,” reports the Guardian.
Why A Rebirth Of The American Labor Movement Now?
“Nearly every day, news reports announce another example of workers exercising their rights as nonprofit professionals, Starbucks workers, and employees at corporations like Amazon, REI and Conde Nast announce their union drives,” report Katie Barrows and Ethan Miller at Chicago’s In These Times. “The approval rating for labor unions has reached its highest point in over fifty years, standing at sixty-eight percent, and petitions for new union elections at the National Labor Relations Board increased fifty-seven percent during the first half of fiscal year 2021.” The pandemic “changed the way that we relate to work and created new sources of economic anxiety, while exacerbating old ones. Yet, young workers continue to fuel the new labor movement as they form new unions to win back a degree of control over their futures in a world fundamentally altered… With momentum in union organizing and worker activism still growing, it is important to recognize the ways that workers in every industry are helping the labor movement live up to its values and reverse the years-long decline in union density.”
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