In the May 12, 2011 issue of TimeOut Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel credited a 2007 Economic Impact Study by the Chicago Music Commission, which was written by several University Chicago faculty members including Lawrence Rothfeld, Associate Professor in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature and a Research Affiliate at the Cultural Policy Center. In the interview Mayor Emanuel cited the 2007 study as proof of Chicago’s status as a sophisticated and accessible destination for a wide variety of cultural events.
From TimeOut Chicago:
I want to create a spirit or a sense that Chicago is a sophisticated city culturally and is, arts and culture-wise, very friendly. I love the Art Institute, I love the Lyric Opera. But Louder than a Bomb is in that lake. What I saw at Double Door the other night? It’s in that lake. We are the city that generates, I think, a billion dollars of economic activity just on music alone*. Outside New York and L.A., Chicago is the destination for music. We have a rich history. You don’t have the blues without Chicago. We’re far superior to Memphis or St. Louis, which have their venues on that same railroad track coming north. One of the places I went to on my 50 Wards in 50 Hours tour was a hardware store in Bronzeville [the former Sunset Café] that’s a historic landmark because that’s where all the great blues and jazz musicians played. It’s a hardware store! It’s unbelievable. We have great historic landmarks north and south that represent our rich history in the music scene.
[* He’s right: According to a 2007 Economic Impact Study by the Chicago Music Commission, “Overall employment in all music sub-industries in the Windy City is 53,000, in businesses that generate payrolls totaling over $1 billion.”]
To read Mayor Emanuel’s interview about the arts in Chicago in detail please click here, and to read the Chicago Music Commission’s unique 2007 study about the economic impact of the music and arts scene on Chicago please click here.