food for the soul ~ chicago style

Agora, Magdalena Abakanowicz

Something struck me on a recent visit to Chicago ~ why are some cities meccas for cultural philanthropy and others are not? Everywhere I turned in Chicago it seemed, there was another outstanding example of civic leadership in support of the city’s arts and culture.

Lion outside the Chicago Art Institute

Chicago has a cultural asset practically on every corner – outstanding public art, theaters large and small, classic and experimental dance companies, museums, public gardens, historic homes…and the list goes on and on.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park

My visit inspired me to think about what makes a community like Chicago so successful at nurturing and breeding civic stewardship?  Is it born of the cultures that settle in a given community? Does the size of the community figure into the equation? Does it take one or two passionate, outstanding individuals to stand up and serve as role models? For example, has Seattle seen an increase in philanthropy as the result of Gates and Allen as role models?

Ben, Deborah Butterfield, Senca Park

A couple of years ago in Austin the non-profit community launched a public service program called “I Live Here, I Give Here” to encourage Austin residents to become philanthropic. I love the idea of this program, and it seems to have legs from a marketing standpoint, but I think it is still too early to judge if it will have a long lasting effect.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies

I don’t have answers to this question, and I would really love to hear your thoughts about what you think encourages citizens to care about their cultural and social heartbeat.  I invite you to share your thoughts here.

~ Catherine

American Windows, Marc Chagall, Chicago Art Institute


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2 responses to “food for the soul ~ chicago style

  1. Catherine, your selection of art is beautiful. A city can foster support for the arts, yet it is the people that need to fully participate and become engaged for the benefits to really be seen. Here in Austin an artistic culture is supported by Museums, businesses and benefactors. The recent CowParade art around the city is another recent attempt to bring color to open city spaces and guide the people from one location to another to experience these unique creations.

  2. Laura, thank you for your insight, especially bringing it back to the importance of our own involvement in the arts and culture of our given community. It was hard to choose what images to publish for this posting. I’m glad you liked what I chose.
    ~ cat

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