Funding for Illinois Arts Community Preserved

May 26, 2020

Illinois House and Senate Safeguard 2020 Funding for Illinois Arts Council Agency $50 Million in Capital Arts Funding Appropriated to Arts Alliance Capital Coalition Members

The budget bill passed by the Illinois House and Senate over the holiday weekend preserves $13.3 million in funding for the Illinois Arts Council Agency, critical funds that support individual artists and arts organizations in more than 90% of legislative districts across the state. The legislation also safeguards a historic $50 million investment to the arts sector made as part of 2019’s “Rebuild Illinois” capital bill.

Coupled with the launch of the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund in March 2020, this investment reaffirms the State of Illinois’s commitment to the Creative Economy. The Illinois Arts Council Agency is vital to the arts and culture field, having provided more than 1,100 grants in general operating and project support to individual artists and cultural organizations last year. The $50 million capital investment will fuel 36 projects dedicated to permanent improvement in cultural infrastructure across the state.

“We’re thrilled that in this era of great uncertainty for the cultural sector, the Illinois General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the arts through maintaining budget levels for the Illinois Arts Council Agency,” said Arts Alliance Illinois Executive Director Claire Rice. “We thank Senate President Harmon, House Speaker Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Brady, House Republican Leader Durkin, and all of our supporters in the General Assembly for making the arts a priority, and IACA Chair Shirley Madigan for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the artists of Illinois. Fueling arts capital projects in-progress and planned across the state is an investment in our future. Cultural spaces are not only community anchors, these capital funds will create jobs in the arts and culture, construction, and manufacturing industries.”

In addition to the $50 million allocated to the 36 members of Arts Alliance Illinois’ Arts & Culture Capital Coalition, the coalition members also received additional new direct support for their projects from legislators, totaling another $14.4 million. The coalition projects range from large scale investments, such as expanding a historic dance center, to smaller projects such as making a community theater ADA accessible. In all, the support for the arts and culture sector will benefit hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents for years to come. Further, in an important victory for equity and access, more than 30% of total coalition appropriations went to organizations led by and for people of color, 23% went to small town or rural organizations, and 49% to small organizations with budgets under $1 million.

In forming and leading the Arts & Culture Capital Coalition, Arts Alliance Illinois brought together a diverse group of 36 arts and cultural organizations, representing communities from Freeport to Carbondale, Quincy to Chicago, and throughout the state. The organizations are of all sizes and bring a wide range of arts, culture, and creativity.

The members of the Coalition are: Anna Arts Center (Anna), Artists’ Cooperative Residency & Exhibitions (ACRE; Chicago), Arts Quincy for the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County (Quincy), Barrington’s White House (Barrington), Black Ensemble Theatre (Chicago), Chicago Children’s Theatre (Chicago), Ed Paschke Art Center (Chicago), Egyptian Theatre (Dekalb), eta Creative Arts Foundation (Chicago), Freeport Art Museum (Freeport), Friends of Bloomington Performing Arts Center (Bloomington), Galesburg Civic Art Center (Galesburg), Giordano Dance Chicago (Chicago), Goodman Theatre (Chicago), Homan Square Foundation (Chicago), Hoogland Center for the Arts (Springfield), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Joffrey Ballet (Chicago), Logan Square Chamber of Arts (Chicago), Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Chicago), Mclean County Arts Center (Bloomington), National Indo-American Museum (Chicago), National Public Housing Museum (Chicago), National Veterans Art Museum (Chicago), Northlight Theatre (Skokie), Orpheum Theatre of Galesburg (Galesburg), Pullman Artspace Lofts (Chicago), Rebuild Foundation (Chicago), Rise Community Development – Edison Avenue Lofts (Granite City), Riverfront Museum Park / Rockford Symphony Orchestra (Rockford), South Side Community Art Center (Chicago), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago), Sweet Water Foundation (Chicago), TimeLine Theatre Company (Chicago), and Varsity Center for the Arts (Carbondale).

Having passed the Illinois General Assembly, the budget bill is now on Governor Pritzker’s desk, and he is expected to sign it in the weeks ahead. Once approved, the Governor has control of the individual capital allocations throughout the bill and can decide if and when the dollars will be committed.

“Arts, culture, and the creative sector are needed now more than ever,” said Rice. “This is a sector keeping us sane, connected, and inspired during the pandemic, and this critical funding will support both programs and bricks-and-mortar operations. Our sector is and will be a critical part of the healing and restoration of Illinois, and we look forward to working with the legislature, governor, and the IACA as we move our sector into recovery.”

About Arts Alliance Illinois
Arts Alliance Illinois fights for arts resources and policies that benefit our members and all Illinois residents. With 25,000 active subscribers and hundreds of members, we connect the people and ideas that are shaping the future of the creative sector. As the only multidisciplinary organization concentrated on the strength of arts and culture across the state, the Alliance takes on challenges that no single organization or artist can fight alone. Our work in civic engagement, arts education, and cultural equity positively impacts every community across the state. Visit to learn more.