What about the Arts?

January 31, 2011
Clef Notes
David Berner

Content

Put aside endorsements and campaign money. It’s time to look at the Chicago mayoral candidates through the eyes of those who love the rich and vibrant cultural and art scene in a city that will soon say goodbye to Mayor Richard M. Daley and hello to…well, we’ll see.

Clef Notes asked each of the mayoral candidates four questions about the arts. Their answers were quite revealing, especially when involving their own artistic talents (or lack thereof). Gery Chico admits he can’t sing a note. Miquel del Valle dreams of painting like Matisse. And Rahm Emanuel, who once received a scholarship from the Joffrey Ballet School, still imagines slipping on a pair of pointe shoes.

Several weeks ago, all four major candidates were invited to participate. Only Carol Moseley Braun had not given a response by press time.

 

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Rahm Emanuel How important are the arts to Chicago’s future?

Rahm Emanuel: “I’ve seen the arts community help to attract a major corporation – Boeing – and its opera-loving CEO to Chicago. I’ve seen a neighborhood transformed by the Old Town School of Folk Music on Lincoln Avenue. A vibrant arts and culture scene defines who we are.” What is your plan for supporting the city’s arts & culture? Rahm Emanuel: “One of my goals is to spread arts education throughout our public schools so that every child, no matter where they go to school, is exposed to the arts from kindergarten through high school.” What do you believe is Chicago’s most precious contribution to the arts and how do we preserve it?

Rahm Emanuel: “I believe it’s impossible to name just one. Blues and jazz music, the architecture of Mies van der Rohe, improv at Second City, the Joffrey Ballet, public artworks like Cloud Gate, local bands like Wilco.”

If you were an artist living and working in Chicago, what would you want to be?

Rahm Emanuel: “I studied ballet as a teenager. I have chosen a different career path, but I never miss a chance to attend a dance performance.”

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Gery Chico How important are the arts to Chicago’s future?

Gery Chico: “The city’s promotion of its early developmental programs have resulted in successful, safe platforms for our youth to express themselves, which in turn, perpetuates and builds upon the involvement of the arts in the development of the city’s future.”

What is your plan for supporting the city’s arts & culture?

Gery Chico: “I want to strengthen Chicago’s reputation as a world-leader in the arts by attracting the most renowned artists, artifacts, and performances to our city. In order to do that we have to continue to strengthen our city’s economy by creating and retaining jobs, and put our financial house in order.”

What do you believe is Chicago’s most precious contribution to the arts and how do we preserve it?

Gery Chico:

“If forced to choose, I think I am most proud of the Chicago Theater District. I worked side by side with the mayor on the development of the Theater District.”

If you were an artist living and working in Chicago, what would you want to be?

Gery Chico: “My wife, Sunny, tells me I have a lousy singing voice, and she’s been trying to convince me to take dancing lessons for years (so far, she hasn’t been successful). I think I would be best suited as a director of either theater or film.”

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Miguel del Valle How important are the arts to Chicago’s future?

Miguel del Valle: “While downtown arts and culture offerings are crucial, neighborhood and ethnic festivals, art, music, theater, and community artisans contribute to the vibrancy of the city. As I learned years ago as executive director of Association House, a social service agency in Humboldt Park, art feeds the soul.”

What is your plan for supporting the city’s arts & culture?

Miguel del Valle: “My vision and passion is to ensure that all children receive arts education as a regular part of their school curriculum. In addition, I believe that the city should invest in the arts in a balanced way that showcases fresh, energizing creativity.”

What do you believe is Chicago’s most precious contribution to the arts and how do we preserve it?

Miguel del Valle: “Our city is a beacon in the Midwestern region and is often a cultural destination for our neighbors, both suburban and nationwide; therefore our greatest contribution to the arts is our ability to make the arts accessible to diverse groups of people.” If you were an artist living and working in Chicago, what would you want to be?

Miguel del Valle:“I would be a painter. Henri Matisse is known for the layers on top of layers of paint used in his paintings. Although the end result is a beautiful painting, close observers can see revisions and the many layers of paint as Matisse added to and sought to perfect his work.”