School Of The Art Institute Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Unionizes
“In a victory for labor, the non-tenure-track faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have voted overwhelmingly—377 to 33—to unionize. As a result, more than 600 faculty will unionize with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,” posts labor reporter Steven Greenhouse.
Harpers Bazaar Fashion Spread Features Chicago Art
“The city’s reigning artists, gallerists, curators, and community builders have created a style all their own,” writes Harpers Bazaar in an exceptionally long piece with sidebar profiles headlined, “How Chicago Became an Art-World Capital Without Giving In to Art-World Clichés.” Limns Stephen Mooallem, “If there is a great creative tradition in Chicago, it is in that unerring sense of potential and place. It’s in the work today of artists like [Theaster] Gates and Nick Cave, who have cultivated practices and studios that have become part of the fabric of the neighborhoods that surround them. It’s in the plethora of public-art projects that fill the city, like Kerry James Marshall’s mural at the Chicago Cultural Center honoring twenty women who helped shape Chicago’s creative landscape. It’s in the constellation of venues to see and exhibit art, which is now vast and varied: from mainstays like Gray, Kavi Gupta, and Rhona Hoffman; to independents like Mariane Ibrahim, Monique Meloche, Patron, Document, Regards, Volume, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Stephen Daiter, and FLXST Contemporary; to nonprofits like 3Arts, Art on theMART Foundation, Chicago Artists Coalition, ThreeWalls, Woman Made Gallery, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Hyde Park Art Center; to artist-run spaces like Prairie. And it’s in Jackson Park, on the South Side, where the Obama Presidential Center broke ground in 2021.”
Museums With Looted Artifacts Face Repatriation
No Chicago museums are listed in a report by the New York Times on the repatriation of historical artifacts, but “many U.S. museums are facing a reckoning for their aggressive tactics of the past. Attitudes have shifted, the Indiana Jones [and Thomas Hoving] era is over, and there is tremendous pressure on museums to return any looted works acquired during the days when collecting could be careless and trophies at times trumped scruples. Though the tide turned more than a decade ago, the pace of repatriations has only accelerated in recent years. In just the last few months, museums across America have returned dozens of antiquities to the countries from which they were taken.”
AIA Chicago Announces 2022 Distinguished Service Awards
The recipients of the 2022 AIA Chicago Distinguished Service Awards are Jack Catlin; Bonnie McDonald and Landmarks Illinois; and Laurie Petersen. Since 1955, the AIA Chicago board of directors has recognized individuals and organizations who have given outstanding service to the Chicago architectural community as a whole, including service to the profession, public service and education. Details here.
CTA Will Buy Up Property Surrounding Red Line Extension
“The CTA and the Cook County Land Bank Authority have reached a $4 million deal to buy and manage vacant Far South Side properties in preparation for the Red Line’s long-awaited extension south from 95th Street,” reports Block Club.
Legislation Introduced To Bar Hedge Funds From Buying Up Residential Property
Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has introduced legislation to forbid hedge-fund ownership of residential housing. “Everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home,” Merkley writes. “In every corner of the country, giant financial corporations are buying up housing and driving up both rents and home prices. They’re pouring fuel on the fire of the affordable housing crisis that so many of our communities are facing, leaving working families behind. The housing in our neighborhoods should be homes for people, not profit centers for Wall Street. It’s time for Congress to put in place commonsense guardrails that ensure all families have a fair chance to buy or rent a home in their community at a price they can afford.”
DINING & DRINKING
Jean Banchet Awards Return In 2024 As Independent Nonprofit
The Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence will become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit and hold its next awards ceremony in 2024. The awards, named for the chef who put Chicago dining on the map in the 1970s and 1980s with his Wheeling restaurant Le Francais, will continue to recognize local innovators on the restaurant scene. Over the next year, under Michael Muser’s direction, it will apply for 501(c)3 status, set a new charitable mission, sign and re-sign sponsors, and hire leadership. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which founded the awards, will not play a role. More here.
Establishments Listed For Chicago Restaurant Week
The sixteenth Chicago Restaurant Week will run Friday, January 20 through Sunday, February 5. Diners can reserve tables and view menus online for multi-course meals at 335 Chicago-area sites. “Chicago Restaurant Week provides residents and visitors with an exciting opportunity to experience our unparalleled culinary talent, along with the cultural richness of our great city and its neighborhoods,” Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of Choose Chicago says in a release. “Whether exploring restaurants in Hyde Park, Little Village, Andersonville, or any other pocket of the city—food enthusiasts will be reminded of our diverse, gastronomic richness and how it makes Chicago such a special place to live and visit.” The participants represent thirty-four distinct Chicago neighborhoods, including thirty-seven suburban restaurants. Of the participants, fifty-five are women-, minority- or Black-owned enterprises. Fifty-one restaurants make their CRW debut, with participants including a range of both recently opened and established locales. More here. Opening night’s First Bites Bash, returns, too: tickets are on sale for the celebratory kick-off event, Thursday, January 19 at the Field Museum from 6pm-9pm. Tickets here.
Galit Partners With Pretty Cool Ice Cream For Dessert
Two of Chicago’s leading makers of pastry, Mary Eder-McClure and Dana Cree, have teamed up for a December treat. Leading Galit’s pastry program, Mary Eder-McClure has pulled inspiration from countries across the Middle East while incorporating nods to her Jewish heritage and Lebanese cuisine from her grandmother. Pretty Cool Ice Cream expanded to add a Lincoln Park location down the street from the Michelin-starred Galit. The pair have teamed up for Krembo, the bite-sized Israeli sweet treat, in two ways: Available at Galit for dessert is the Pretty Cool Krembo, made with orange blossom marshmallow parfait, olive oil chocolate ganache, cardamom spiced shortbread, and a pistachio-mandarin crumble. Pretty Cool Ice Cream locations are serving the Krembo Ice Cream Bar, made with orange blossom-scented marshmallow ice cream, coriander shortbread, dark chocolate, hints of mandarin orange and pistachio. Also available at Pretty Cool Ice Cream will be a Halva Chocolate Chip cookie, sandwiched between caramelized honey and tahini ice cream dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in crumbled halva. More about Galit here; more on Pretty Cool Ice Cream here.
Lagunitas Taproom Reopening Pushed Back
“Lagunitas Brewing pushed back the reopening of its Chicago taproom, which will cause the Douglas Park facility to lap three years since it first closed to the public at the onset of the pandemic,” reports Crain’s.
Chatham Wine And Cheese Bar Gets $250,000 City Grant
A South Side wine and charcuterie bar has gotten a quarter-million-dollar city grant, reports Block Club Chicago. “A Black-owned business led by a husband-and-wife duo was one of sixty beneficiaries of the city’s Community Development Grant… The grant, created under Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Recovery Plan, awards funding to businesses citywide as they recover from the pandemic… Park Manor 75 will bring craft cocktails, mocktails and charcuterie boards—a craft… mastered during the pandemic—to Chatham, the owners said. Neighbors can expect a low-key space that prioritizes low drum music and local artists’ work on the walls.”
North American Bookselling Takes Blow As Largest Canadian Chain Turns To Lifestyle
Canada’s largest bookseller, Indigo, with eighty-eight superstores and eighty-five smaller-format stores, sells over half the books in Canada, with Walmart, Costco and independent bookstores accounting for most of the rest, reports Canada’s The Hub. “Indigo has been backing out of the book business. If you follow the firm’s marketing, it’s all about ‘intentional’ and ‘purposeful’ living… Indigo is intentionally and purposefully attempting to reestablish itself as a general merchandise supplier to youngish women… Indigo hasn’t come right out and said we’re through with books. It can’t, given that [the owner] has spent the last twenty-five years building herself up as the queen of reading in Canada. Also, the Indigo brand is still associated with books in most people’s minds and that won’t change overnight no matter how many cheeseboards it stocks. So [the owner] talks about a gradual, natural transition: ‘We built a wonderful connection with our customers in the book business. Then, organically, certain products became less relevant and others were opportunities.'”
Media Protest Mayor’s Plan To Encrypt Police Scanner Traffic
NBC Chicago publishes an open letter from Chicago media: “Mayor Lightfoot has revealed the City of Chicago’s plan to block live transmissions of Chicago Police Department scanners–restricting access to transmissions that have always been available to the public and to the news media. We are a coalition of Chicago-area news organizations concerned with this planned encryption and are sharing our concerns to raise awareness about how the City’s plan will impact our ability to provide timely, accurate and potentially life-saving news to you. Our newsrooms monitor emergency scanner traffic to report everything from traffic congestion to developing threats to public safety… Real-time access to police scanners promotes transparency and accountability by law enforcement. An analysis of the scanner transmissions in the Uvalde, Texas school shooting revealed that law enforcement’s response was not as local authorities had first portrayed it. The availability of scanner communications also directly led to the video recording of the killing of Alton Sterling by two Baton Rouge police officers. To put it simply, the media’s informative reporting on these events would never have been possible without real-time access to scanners.”
Sun-Times Columnist John W. Fountain Is “Free. At Last”
“On November 25, John Fountain resigned as a columnist after Sun-Times executive editor Jennifer Kho told him in a telephone conversation that she would not run a column he had written after he did not agree to one of her two revisions or revise that column in the way she had suggested,” Fountain posts. “The editor’s revised versions included restructuring of Fountain’s original column as well as revised sentences and the insertion of the editor’s own words. Fountain subsequently published that column, a tribute to the life and memory of a former journalism student Aaron Lee, on [this] website. Days after resigning verbally, Fountain sent two other Sun-Times editors a letter on November 29 about the exchange with [Kho]. One of those editors followed up with Fountain by telephone, saying that Fountain, who has written a column as a freelance journalist for the Sun-Times since January 2010, would be allowed to write a final farewell column. After Fountain submitted that column Friday, December 2, that editor called again to inform Fountain that the executive editor had made the decision to not run it.”
Fountain publishes that column: “This is the post-mortem of a Black Chicago newspaper columnist and a page in the diary of a free Black journalist. I am gone, for real this time. Having succumbed to a thirty-seven-year career of Reporting and Writing While Black but having been finally liberated by the last insult, indignity or innuendo, and finally made free. The challenge was always to try and be authentically me in a predominantly white journalism world that challenges, rejects, or else seeks to modify our words, voice or perspective. A world in which even some ‘Black’ journalists have, at times, seemed more foe than friend. At least not supportive, or a defender, if not co-conspirators in my tumult and ultimate newspaper journalism demise. And yet, I am free. At last.” (Eric Zorn asked Kho, who demurred, for comment.)
R. Kelly Messages Sun-Times From Prison: “Leave My Music Alone!!!”
“The Chicago Sun-Times received the message through an email service for federal inmates… ‘just leave my music alone, because it is all I have left, it’s all my fans have left. And they deserve to be able to listen to the music despite what people try and say about me, what they think about me or even do to me. So please, again, LEAVE MY MUSIC ALONE!!!'” Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s defense attorney, “said the note appeared to be an authentic message from her client, though she said it was likely typed by someone else. Kelly purportedly can’t read or write.”
Palmer House Hosts Annual Tuba Christmas
The annual Tuba Christmas performance will return to the Palmer House, bringing together tubists and other experienced musicians from around the world for a holiday event inside the hotel’s Grand and State Ballrooms conducted by Retired Colonel Michael Colburn of the U.S. Marine Band. Sunday, December 18, 11:30am. Registration begins 8:30am. More here.
Chicago Tap Theatre Promotions Announced
Chicago Tap Theatre, in its twentieth-anniversary year, has promoted Sterling Harris to a new position as artistic associate. Company member and production manager Molly Smith assumes the role of rehearsal director vacated by Harris. “Harris’ new role recognizes the quality of the work he has consistently brought to CTT and both solidifies some of his earlier duties while giving him a greater artistic voice in the organization. Most crucially, he will be focused on the internal development of the dancers, with a special focus on expanding their improvisation ability,” the group relays. “Having watched and listened to his musically sophisticated, compositionally satisfying work in our shows, I can’t wait to see what he does with a full-length show premiering in June,” artistic director Mark Yonally says in a release. “We are very much endeavoring to give him any resources he needs to bring his vision to life, including rehearsal time, musicians and a budget for lights, sets and props.”
Zephyr And SITE/less Granted $70,000 From City
Zephyr and its space SITE/less, in association with Bridge NFP and Workman Studio, have received a Community Development Grant award of $70,911 from the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, one of eight arts organizations and sixty-one total organizations selected in this third round from a pool of more than 1,600 applicants. “Zephyr is an experimental dance company that pushes the art form’s boundaries. SITE/less, located at 1250 West Augusta in Chicago, aims to rethink the connection between movement and architecture and deepen the relationship between the viewer and the venue beyond the typical model.” More here.
Cleveland Play House Hiring Managing Director
Cleveland Play House seeks “an experienced, ambitious, and collaborative individual” to be the 107-year-old regional theater’s next managing director, working as a co-leader with the artistic director. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Illinois Humanities Announces $150,000 In Envisioning Justice Grants To Address Mass Incarceration
Illinois Humanities has announced new Envisioning Justice grants which will provide funding totaling $150,000 to twenty-three organizations and individuals working statewide to address the injustice of mass incarceration. The projects receiving funding use the arts, humanities and community organizing to further change, influence public opinion and promote a more just society through community-based approaches to accountability and public safety. Illinois Humanities has, since 2017, provided more than $500,000 in grants to individuals and organizations working in Illinois to develop events and resources for communities disproportionately affected by mass incarceration. The 2022 Envisioning Justice grantee partners include: the Chicago Community Bond Fund (Chicago), which will create a multimedia campaign about the Pretrial Fairness Act; Knox College faculty member Leanne Trapedo Sims (Galesburg), who will create a new Inside-Out Prison Exchange program with Knox College students and students incarcerated at Henry Hill Correctional Center; Sonja Henderson and the Mothers Healing Circle (Chicago), who will create an art installation in North Lawndale created by mothers who have lost loved ones to violence; and Education Justice Project (Champaign), who will develop a reentry guide and zines to share knowledge and resources to support people returning from prison. The 2022 Envisioning Justice grants are funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Polk Bros. Foundation. Recipients and more here.
Illinois Holocaust Museum Increases Hours
Beginning January 2, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will be open six days a week, Wednesday-Monday, giving visitors more opportunities to learn the history of the Holocaust and other human rights issues. (It will remain closed on Tuesdays to support field trips.) Monthly free days continue on the last Friday of every month. More here.
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