On Friday night, February 11th, 2011, SIFC partnered up with The Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) at their space in Pilsen. This was not just any event—it was an occasion, an opportunity for the art communities and political figures in Chicago to meet and engage in conversation with one another. Other partnering organizations included: Three Walls, Cro, New City, Chicago Reader, WBEZ Radio, Gozamos, Urban Gateways, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago Public Art Group, The Chicago Art Department, Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Institute For Arts entrepreneurship and Barrio Bonito Urban Showcase.
SIFC set up shop with a video confessional booth. We invited anyone to address the mayoral candidates by answering one question: “Why is art in Chicago important to you, and why should it be supported by our next mayor of Chicago?”
Lauren Pacheco and Peter Kepha (directors and founders of The Chicago Urban Art Society) have been pushing hard for progressive citywide support of the arts. They have met with numerous aldermen and are two of the most important ambassadors of art in the city of Chicago to date.Those who spoke in the SIFC confessional as well as those who conversed with us all evening definitely agreed that there is an undeniable necessity for such support.
One person explained, “The Chicago arts community should get the kind of support that you see in other progressive cities like L.A and New York as well as Europe. We need to be mirroring and learning from them.”
“The public needs to take their civic responsibilities seriously and the city’s politicians need to become human beings,” said another.
The point of the confessional booth was not to provide one answer but perhaps a few solutions that hopefully will be taken further than the SIFC website and into the minds of those with the power to bring them to life – at the least, to create further awareness of what the needs of art in Chicago are. After listening to the words of the people that took the time to sit in the booth including both Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle, it became clear that political and community support is vital to the survival and progression of art in Chicago.