Essential Readings

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The Shoulders Upon Which We Stand

While writing our themes and prompts, we sought to learn from other initiatives, reports, and groups who have done or are currently doing work around anti-racism in the arts. We’d like to share with you a selection of the sources that were most impactful in shaping our work. In general, we sought out resources that covered at least two of the three following areas: arts and culture, anti-racism, and the city of Chicago.

  • A Portrait of Inequity by Enrich Chicago
    A deeper understanding of the racial and ethnic makeup of funders, arts and culture organizations, and arts and culture audiences helps us to shed light on local trends in philanthropy and the overall landscape of philanthropic support in the arts and culture community.
  • Arts 77 by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events
    A citywide arts recovery and reopening plan for all of Chicago’s 77 community areas, representing an initial investment of over $60 million.
  • Chicago Made by World Business Chicago
    A report profiles Chicago’s creative industries; quantifies the creative industries’ contribution to the broader economy; and identifies what is needed to elevate the ecosystem for creative industries.
  • Cultural Asset Mapping Project (C.A.M.P.) by the Chicago Park District
    A community storytelling and data visualization project, where Chicago artists and community storytellers collaborate to better understand artistic excellence and cultural vibrancy in our communities.
  • Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
    The City of Seattle’s commitment to realize the vision of racial equity. RSJI is a citywide effort to end institutional racism in City government, and to achieve racial equity across our community.
  • Racial Equity in the Arts Funding by Grantmakers for the Arts
    “We move forward from our assessment that racism is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and that meaningful progress on advancing racial equity will have significant positive impact on challenging other discrimination-based injustices.”
  • Re:Center by the Chicago Parks District
    A creative placemaking initiative driven by local artists and residents and anchored in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Through Re:Center, the Chicago Park District’s fifteen Cultural Centers have collaborated with surrounding communities to re-imagine cultural priorities and programming at each site.
  • We Will Chicago by the City of Chicago
    A new three-year, citywide planning initiative under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot that will encourage neighborhood growth and vibrancy while addressing social and economic inequities that impair Chicago’s legacy as a global city.

Additional Resources and Inspiration


We recognize that there are multiple, concurrent initiatives happening within Chicago’s arts and culture sector in 2021. We aim to work alongside these other efforts and welcome the opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge.