To Chicago city officials the rich tradition of world-class cultural affairs programming costs 20+ individual positions in their administration. News of the dismantling of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs spread quickly and like many other city services, responsibility will now be shared among other clusters of the bureaucracy.
But, cultural affairs are not bound to files and billing like other civil services. Culture in Chicago is the reason we fall back in love, time-and-time again with our city. The festivals, exhibits, and concerts hosted downtown are often the shared thread between an otherwise culturally segregated city.
What does no Cultural Affairs Department really mean to Latino arts in Chicago? It means more than ever, local endeavors such as the Festival de Musica Electronica Latina (FMEL), Rockotitlan, The National Museum of Mexican Art, Teatro Luna, the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, world music promoters such as Sound Culture, Ratio Nation, and Aguzate (and many, many others) will be leading the way in the preservation and display of what our city has to offer.
Many of these entities have thrived without official sponsorship from the city and will continue to do so. Maybe this means that those who counted on the glossy prints from the city will now explore other venues in search of art and individuals brought on by the visions of the countless cultural pioneers we all know inside our communities.