Increased Support for Chicago Arts and Culture: International Connections Fund
February 28, 2008 | Press Release | International Connections Fund, Arts & Culture in Chicago, Community & Economic Development

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, MacArthur is increasing the number of Chicago area arts and culture organizations it supports from 180 to 200 and creating a new $1 million fund to enable its Chicago grantees to increase their international connections.

“MacArthur is committed to Chicago, the place where the MacArthurs made their home and the Foundation has its headquarters for our work in 60 countries,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton at a reception for the Foundation’s Chicago-area grantees today. “Our support for nearly 180 arts organizations is not just an expression of our civic commitment; it is designed to help strengthen the cultural life of our city and region. And the new International Connections Fund reflects Chicago’s growing reputation as a global city.”

MacArthur’s annual support for Chicago arts and culture will rise from $5.5 million to $7 million. The additional funding will be dedicated primarily to increasing general operating support for existing grantees and boosting the number of organizations receiving support in the future. The goal is to expand annual operating support from 180 to 200 arts and culture organizations such as museums, theaters, and dance groups. 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.

Most MacArthur 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 project or initiative that serves the entire arts sector. Examples of such grants include support for online access to the League of Chicago Theatres’ Hot Tix service and creation of a fund to help small theaters meet fire and safety codes.

The new International Connections Fund will support efforts by MacArthur’s existing grantees in the Chicago area to increase their international connections. Assistance might enable staff of a Chicago organization to attend informative international conferences, visit and learn from other programs, or establish partnerships with organizations in other countries. Support might be provided to local arts groups to perform outside of the United States.

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