Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicago Elections

For the next few weeks, this blog will be all about Chicago’s Mayoral and Aldermanic elections. I sincerely hope that you will all want to be involved in these elections in some way. We are going to be providing you with all the tools and information you need. We can make a difference in this election but we MUST make some noise. Arts funding and support gets cut because politicians think it doesn’t matter to their constituents. Let’s change that.

Here’s what you can start to do now. Think about what city support for theatre in general and for your theatre in particular means. What’s important to you? Is the shake up at the Department of Cultural Affairs something that you want to know more about? Is it something you are angry about? Is it important to you that the city continues to make an investment in the arts? Do you receive City Arts funding? Is that important to you? It goes without saying that each of our theatres is vital to the cultural fabric of our city, but you might have to remind politicians of that. Do a little “Wonderful Life” thinking about your theatre, if you weren’t there, what would the city lose? And, I’m sorry but you have to think about what’s important to politicians, voters and jobs and education and safety. How can you work yourselves into that? Why do I want you to think about these things? Because I want you to talk to your aldermanic candidates and the mayoral candidates about what is important to you and what you mean to this city.

The League is partnering with Arts Alliance Illinois to have an impact on this election. We will be providing the candidates with information about the arts in Chicago and encouraging them to develop an arts policy. We have a lot to lose in Chicago and we want to be sure that support for the arts is maintained in our city.

AAI is developing a website where you will be able to go for all kinds of information about the election and to learn about all kinds of ways you can be involved. That should be ready to go next week.

The League is developing a page on our website where you will be able to go and learn who is running for Alderman in your ward and what other theatres are in your ward – maybe you can all contact your Alderman together. That should also be ready to go next week.

We have developed a core principles document which will be shared with the candidates to assist them in developing an arts policy, the League will be sending theatre specific information to the candidates.

The League is co-sponsoring the ABC7 candidate debate on February 17 at 7:00 PM at the Oriental Theatre.

We will be sending a direct mail piece to the top 5-10,000 theatre goers in Chicago (determined from the Chicago Community Database), inviting them to examine the arts policies of the candidates.

We will be providing you with stuffers or curtain speeches, talking points, and frankly, whatever you tell us you need to get this job done.

Here’s a few things that we will be asking you to do:

Encourage candidates to develop an arts policy.

Let your Aldermanic candidates and Mayoral candidates know that the arts are important to you and your constituents.

Send emails to your constituents asking them to join you in letting the candidates know what is important to you.

AAI will be providing web stickers for your websites.

Do curtain speeches or stuffers, asking patrons to support the arts by speaking up.

Attend our advocacy training on January 24 (see the broadcast).

Invite candidates to your events.

Do any of it, do all of it, it is important. More next week.


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