Issue 13 / February 23, 2024

In this issue:

• IAC Budget Update IAC Program Staff Feature Bronzeville Children's Museum Honored The Business of Art Conference Black History Month Events Additional Opportunities

A Huge Win for Arts Funding in Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker

The IAC is excited to report on the governor’s proposed $10 million increase to it’s 2025 budget. The increase to $26.9 million would restore the IAC budget to 2007 funding levels and move Illinois from 25th to 11th place in the nation in per-capita support amongst state arts agencies. The IAC funds roughly 850 organizations annually, making it the sixth largest creative economy in the country.  

With this dramatic increase, the IAC hopes to triple the size of support for its Youth Employment in the Arts grant, increase project support to artists and organizations through the Creative Catalyst grant and activate its new national model for direct support of individual artists through the Creative Accelerator Fund

The governor’s support sees the arts as essential to building up neighborhoods and communities that have been hard-hit by the pandemic. “The needs of the arts sector are similar, whether it’s in a small rural community or a neighborhood in Chicago” says IAC Board Chair, Nora Daley. The arts are a core value, but this is more,” she said. “It’s about investing in small and mid-sized businesses and helping to rebuild communities.”


Give Illinois the competitive edge. Illinois is well behind other states like Florida and Minnesota when it comes to per capita funding for the arts. Increased funding will help attract tourism, investment, and workers, while helping to attract and retain talent in Illinois.

Empower communities to spend dollars where they need to go. IAC funding has reached 97% of state legislative districts for the past two years. Public investment is the best vehicle to get money to localities that need it most, deepening impact in underserved communities often overlooked by private funders.

Leverage and catalyze private investment. Public investment in the arts helps to incentivize and amplify private giving and leads to public-private partnerships that benefit local communities across the state, leading to more equitable distribution than private investment alone.

Support small businesses and entrepreneurial activity. Many creative workers are sole proprietors, founders, or employees of startups or microenterprises that create new goods and services and enliven neighborhoods.

IAC Program Staff Feature

Angelique Grandone, Program Director – Central Region, Chicago Metro 2

A new major shift of the IAC this year was to divide the state into six distinct regions allowing Program Directors to oversee entire communities as opposed to artistic disciplines. The Muse will feature its Program Directors over the next few weeks so you may better get to know who will be working within your community. Angelique Grandone is a new member of the team responsible for the the Central Region as well as Chicago's Metro Region 2. Please refer to the Region Map and the Regional Program Director Finder page on IAC's website to determine your respective Program Director.

Angelique comes to the Illinois Arts Council after seven years presenting performance in the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks program, where she also served as managing director of Theater on the Lake: Chicago’s Summer Theater Festival. With a background in theatre making and social justice, she has most often worked as an arts manager focusing on contemporary performance on the stage and in the streets. A graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, IL, she draws upon skills acquired in a wide variety of settings including work as a performer, a doula, a health educator, a community organizer, a company manager and a producer. After 22 years in Chicago, she purchased a home in the rural downstate community she was raised in, and now divides her time between the two.


Some things to know about Angelique:


·       Trained as a singer but went to school for theatre

·       Has run away with the circus 6 times, so far

·       Speaks Swedish, badly at this point

·       Is an avid gardener and an aspiring farmer

·       Loves cats but thinks dogs are pretty cool, too

Bronzeville Children's Museum Honored

IAC Board Member and Bronzeville Children's Museum Founder, Peggy Montes (center) was recently honored

Chicago's Bronzeville Children's Museum, celebrating its 26th anniversary, was recently honored as the first and only African American Children's Museum in the country by Black History Honors. 

The 2024 Black History Honors, is a docu-entertainment series, which takes viewers on an inspiring journey through the heart and soul of African American history, legacy, and heritage by exploring the museums that celebrate the richness of African American culture. The Bronzeville Children's Museum celebrated it's 30th anniversary in 2023. It's founder, Peggy Montes is also a long-time IAC board member. The museum's hands-on play experience is central to its belief that children will remember what they learned and not just that they had time to play. Follow the LINK for more information on this historic museum. Also featured by 2024 Black History Honors are Chicago’s DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center and the National Museum of Gospel Music.

Peoria Advances The Business of Art

Chelsea Carmona, Dr. Mae Gilliland Wright (Arts Partners Exec. Dir), Christi Steelman, Alex Carmona, keynote

Artist and Associate Director of ART, Inc Jonathon Romain

Christi Steelman, Arts Partners Board President Frannie Heine, Macomb Artist Ximena Barreto

IAC Board Member, Christi Steelman, attended ArtsPartners of Central Illinois annual conference "The Business of Art" held at the Romain Art Center in Peoria, Illinois on February 10. Says Christi Steelman, "It was an exceptional event! Each of the speakers brought insightful information for visual and performing artists looking to formalize their profession. From organizing to taxes, social media to perseverance, so many difficult topics were covered in both panel and breakout sessions. The event also featured an inspirational keynote address by "Old School" Alex Carmona during lunch."

Selected Black History Month Events

2024 ETA Creative Arts Presents Stepper's Night on February 27, 2024

The Light of Truth: Richard Hunt's Monument for Ida B. Wells at Epiphany Center for the Arts on February 28, 2024

The Art Of Our Storytellers: Selections from the Johnson Publishing Co Collections at DuSable Museum - Permanent Collection

Remembering Dr King at Chicago History Museum - Temporary Exhibit

Pauli Murray Virtual Exhibit at American Writers Museum

Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition at Museum of Science and Industry - through April 21, 2024

Other Opportunities You May Have Missed

Experimental Sound Studio and DCASE Collaboration: urban+nature sonic pavilion - Deadline March 1st

Water Street Studios: Telling Her Story - Deadline for Submissions, March 1st

DCASE Announces Healing Arts Chicago, A New Program Offering Free Arts Services to Support Mental Health and Wellness

New American Paintings 2024 Midwest Competition Accepting Submissions - Deadline, February 28

X As Intersection: Latinx Artists In Conversation - February 28, 2024, 3pm CST Via Zoom

National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant - Deadline, April 25

National Endowment for the Arts Research Awards - Deadline March 25

The Illinois Department of Human Services Youth Artist Competition

“Are You Really Winning?” - Deadline: March 31

Art House Convergence and Film Festival Alliance present The Independent Film Exhibition Conference - Chicago June 25-28, 2024

McLean County Arts Center, Call for Artists - Historic Rte 66, Juried Art Exhibition - Deadline June 1

See Chicago Dance, Chicago Dance Month Performance Opportunities - Deadline March 8

The Muse, The Illinois Arts Council Newsletter, is published bi-weekly. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission of the IAC is strictly prohibited. The Muse is distributed free of charge. Contributions from our readers are welcome. The IAC reserves the right to edit or reject any material.

Masthead photo courtesy of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism / Coronado Theater, Rockford, IL Angelique Angelique Grandone Photo Credit: Jon Wes