Chicago’s Arts77 plan will invest in local artists


The plan will give artists grants for art in Chicago’s 77 community areas.

Colin Leslie, Assistant editor

On April 20 the City of Chicago announced the launch of Arts77, which includes an initial investment of more than $60 million in the form of grants to different local artists and organizations and increased funding for public art projects.

The name refers to the city’s 77 community areas.

The grants are spread over different programs, including the Neighborhood Access Program, Chicago Presents, Artist Response Program, Chicago Cultural Grants, the Capital Plan and the O’Hare International Airport Terminal 5 Expansion Project.

U-High art teacher Sunny Neater said she hopes grants will be accessible to up-and-coming artists.

“I think that one of [Arts77’s] goals is to reach out to or kind of lift up those artists who might be what we call emerging artists, less established, maybe less financially stable,” Ms. Neater said, “to essentially pay them to make art and create performances that will bring people safely together.”

In a statement on April 20, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the arts were critical to Chicago’s economy before the pandemic, and that Arts77 would renew their role on the economy.

Ms. Lightfoot said, “With this incredible program, we will not only be able to revitalize this critical sector and provide support to our artists, creative workers and organizations, but also place the arts at the center of our city’s recovery efforts.”