Mayor Daley should be the No. 1 hero to everyone in this country who cares about art, because he was a visionary in this field before it was a field. His work, I should add, began in 1989, 13 years before New York City’s great arts advocate, Mayor (Michael R.) Bloomberg, was even elected. Daley spent public money to restore the old vaudeville houses in Chicago, and created a bustling, downtown theater district, he built Millennium Park, with its dynamic arts installations, and connected it to the Art Institute of Chicago, and now both are powerful attractions for Chicagoans and tourists. It sometimes seems like he has created an arts festival for every neighborhood in the city.
At the same time, Columbia University professor Gregory Mosher gave a very interesting lecture anticipating a "tsunami" coming for our established art institutions similar to the wave that hit print journalism. This is a well laid out speech that starts by detailing the history or arts funding starting with President Kennedy up through our current situation. While this may not be the end-all-be-all speech, any arts administrator needs to be thinking about some of these issues. [Thank you to Cott Mail for sharing this lecture]