MacArthur announced that it is increasing its commitment to Chicago arts and culture, with most of the new funding dedicated to smaller organizations. 

The Foundation awarded 14 arts grants totaling nearly $14 million, including a five-year renewal of support for the MacArthur Funds at the Prince Charitable Trusts and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, as well as new support for three organizations: the Chicago Artists’ Resource, an online information service for creative professionals, the Grant Park Orchestral Association, and the Writers’ Theatre

“The creative work of our theaters, museums, and cultural groups has helped make Chicago a vibrant arts center and popular cultural destination,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton.  “MacArthur’s grantmaking nourishes and supports this creative climate, strengthening the economy and improving the quality of life in our region.”

In 2006, MacArthur provided $39 million in grants in the Chicago region, including significant investments in community and economic development, the transformation of public housing, juvenile justice reform, as well as arts and culture.  The Foundation is increasing its annual arts and culture grantmaking from $4.5 million to $5.5 million, starting in 2007. 

MacArthur provides operating support each year to 180 museums, theaters, dance companies and other arts and culture groups in the metropolitan area.  At the request of local arts leaders, most grants provide multi-year, general operating support, offering the flexibility necessary to take creative risks and fund on-going work.  Occasionally the Foundation will make a grant in support of a special, time-limited project or initiative that serves the entire arts sector.  Examples of such grants include support to expand the Chicago Artists’ Resource website, provide online access to the League of Chicago Theatres’ Hot Tix service, and create a fund to help small theaters meet fire and safety codes. 

MacArthur makes grants directly to 46 large institutions (those with budgets over $2 million).  Arts organizations with annual budgets between $500,000 and $2 million are supported through the MacArthur Fund at the Prince Charitable Trusts.  Small groups, those with budgets of less than $500,000, receive grants through the MacArthur Fund at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.  Each of these Funds will receive a total of $5 million from the MacArthur Foundation over the next five years, which represents an increase of $2.25 million for the Fund at Driehaus and $1.25 million for the Fund at Prince.

“If its cultural life is one of Chicago’s great assets, the mid-sized arts organizations are important contributors,” said Benna B. Wilde, Managing Director, Prince Charitable Trusts.  “They work in all art forms, in all parts of the city and, while they are some of the most vibrant, they are also some of the most vulnerable.  Support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has been an important factor in their success and stability.” 

“We’re delighted and gratified by MacArthur’s additional support for our focus on small arts groups.  It will enable us to make more grants and larger ones to a growing number of applicants that provide a rich diversity of arts programming,” said Sunny Fischer, Executive Director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

MacArthur’s grant of $225,000 will enable the Chicago Cultural Center Foundation to update and expand the Chicago Artists’ Resource website www.chicagoartistsresource.org, which provides information about services, events and programs for the city’s 80,000 creative professionals.  The site is currently targeted to visual artists, and this grant will allow it to expand content for theater, music, and dance professionals. 

Today’s grants will support the following organizations:

• Richard H. Driehaus Foundation– $5 million over five years for the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation;
• Prince Charitable Trusts – $5 million over five years for the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Prince Charitable Trusts;
• Chicago Symphony Orchestra – $500,000 over five years for general operations;
• Lincoln Park Zoo – $500,000 over five years for general operations;
• Lyric Opera – $500,000 over five years for general operations;
• Goodman Theatre – $300,000 over five years for general operations;
• Steppenwolf Theatre Company – $300,000 over five years for general operations;
• Chicago Architecture Foundation – $250,000 over five years for general operations;
• Hubbard Street Dance Chicago – $250,000 over five years for general operations;
• Chicago Cultural Center Foundation – $225,000 over three years to update and expand the Chicago Artists’ Resource website.
• Court Theatre– $200,000 over five years for general operations;
• Northlight Theatre – $200,000 over five years for general operations;
• Grant Park Orchestral Association – $200,000 over five years for general operations; and
• Writers’ Theatre – $200,000 over five years for general operations. 

Arts & Culture in Chicago, Arts & Culture, Chicago