Remarks as prepared for delivery.
Welcome, and good evening. I am Bob Gallucci, president of the MacArthur Foundation.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this event that brings Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, to our great city. Chicago’s international reputation as a place where the arts are valued, supported, and flourishing drew his attention. MacArthur is delighted to have helped bring him here to see your work first hand.
We could not have done this without Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Our thanks to Lois Weisberg, our remarkable Commissioner; Janet Carl Smith, and all their staff. We are grateful to be here at the Chicago Cultural Center tonight, thanks to their generosity.
The Arts Alliance Illinois and Illinois Arts Council also helped in planning this event. We thank Ra Joy, and Terry Scrogum and all those who did so much to ensure its success.
I am also pleased to welcome several elected officials today: Aldermen Vi Daley, Walter Burnett, and Latasha Thomas. In addition, I’d like to recognize representatives from the offices of Senator Dick Durbin, Congressmen Bobby Rush and Mike Quigley, and Congresswoman Melissa Bean. Mayor Daley was unable to be with us this evening; we are pleased to welcome Mike Segobiano, his Deputy Chief of Staff. Thank you all for your support.
The MacArthur Foundation awards $230 million dollars in grants each year in the United States and across the world. But no place is more important to us than Chicago. It is our headquarters and our home. Over the past thirty years, MacArthur has invested nearly $800 million dollars in this city.
Chicago has it all. Institutions of international renown: world-class orchestras, art collections, opera, and dance; a deep and vibrant theatre scene; brave experimental work; and a rich array of ethnic and neighborhood groups. MacArthur is proud to support more than two hundred cultural organizations with over $7 million each year.
But we are only one of a network of arts supporters that enables our most creative talents to enrich our lives and communities.
At the center of that network is Lois Weisberg. I know that she hardly needs an introduction since she knows most of you, and all of you know her.
Lois’ contribution to this city is monumental.
She has helped save some of our greatest buildings; founded events, from Blues Fest to the Taste of Chicago, that are now landmarks of our civic year; and brought the arts to venues like this great Cultural Center and Millennium Park.
Lois is at the heart of the cultural life in Chicago, and it is my great pleasure to call on her to introduce Chairman Rocco Landesman.