As Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Michelle Boone offers insight into how and why the city selects its visual arts exhibitions, and also discusses the future goals for sustaining and supporting the city’s artists.
“We recognize that the magnificent art schools here in the city are turning out thousands of creative degrees, but we don’t have the infrastructure in place to be that supportive to those people. We have to do a better job of making sure that artists are able to earn a living wage and that they can have affordable housing.”
Michelle T. Boone is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Prior to her appointment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011, Boone was the Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, managing the Joyce Awards program: a competitive grant opportunity available to arts and culture groups in the Midwest to commission new works by artists of color. Boone serves on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for the Arts, the Arts Alliance Illinois, Third Coast International Audio Festival, South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace. Boone was also the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning job-training in the arts program for Chicago youth through the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.