Thursday, January 28, 2010

The lllinois Arts Endowment

Illinois State Representative Harry Osterman assembled and moderated an excellent panel for his State of the Arts Symposium yesterday at the Swedish American Museum Center in Chicago. The speakers joining Osterman were Ra Joy of Arts Alliance Illinois, Terry Scrogum of the Illinois Arts Council, and Michelle Bibbs and Eva Silverman of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The audience contributed to a lively questions and discussions session, which I led off by discussing Coaccession's potential to contribute a ray of sunshine amidst the dark clouds -- I hope I didn't sound as nervous* as I felt! The speakers ably illustrated the very challenging environment facing arts organizations, and had a number of useful responses, including more advocacy, networking, audience engagement and event promotion. The overall experience was quite valuable.

Particularly heartening for me were reactions to my discussion of Coaccession's potential to contribute to the cultural sector's response to its challenges. Osterman noted the cultural endowment at his son's school, while Joy said he'd like to discuss the endowment concept further. No one had a negative word to say. One of the participants even requested that I send along a couple of paragraphs giving the gist of my proposed Illinois Arts Endowment.

Here's hoping that Coaccession can indeed contribute substantially to the cultural sector's comprehensive response to the challenges in its changing circumstances. Fortunately, the cultural sector has historically created so much financial value to complement its cultural value that a successful adaptation should be a forgone conclusion. Crafting a creative response is within our abilities with leadership like that shown by Osterman, the panelists and the audience.

The lllinois Arts Endowment

The State of Illinois has invested in artworks for its buildings and landscapes through much of its history, establishing over the years a public art collection with tremendous cultural and financial value. Extending that history of wise arts investments is essential in these challenging fiscal times, as that strategy will continue to offer the great cultural and financial returns that it has in the past. Fortunately, Coaccession(tm) offers Illinois a way to mobilize its existing investment in artworks to support continuing arts investments.

By creating investment opportunities in the Illinois public art collection, Coaccession can let Illinois offer the public the same stable store of financial value that has benefited the State through its history, generating proceeds to establish a new pool of income-generating assets that can support continuing investments in artworks and in the cultural sector that enhances their cultural and financial value. Tapping the financial reserves embodied in artworks now can help Illinois extend its history of wise investments.

Coaccession: Artworks supporting the arts.

* when CAN-TV plays the tape, you can judge how nervous I sounded -- of course, only I know how nervous I was.

UPDATE 2/23/10: A good friend saw my discussion point on CAN-TV and thought I sounded fine.

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