Chicagoans respond to draft Chicago Cultural Plan

"My husband and I are both artists, and we may have to leave Chicago, because it has been so hard to find space to live and work (in) here," Kalwinski told her group. "My friends are leaving every week."

Fo Wilson, an artist and educator, thoroughly agreed.

"I'm very new to Chicago," she said. "When I came here, it was very hard to find space."

But at least one of the plan's suggested sources for arts space, which had been suggested at earlier Town Hall meetings, drew some resistance.

Gwenn-Ael Lynn, a visual artist, objected to the recommendation that said space could be found in "foreclosed properties available for cultural, creative and artistic purposes."

"I have a problem with that," he said. "Someone gets kicked out of their house, and the city would take it over and turn it into a cultural space?"

The groups grappled with these issues, which was exactly the idea.

"Two hours is a little stingy," said Jim DeJong – a Chicago cultural activist who attended all the earlier Town Hall meetings – at the end of the evening.

"But I'm sure it's about accumulation of information. … Basically, I'm impressed with what they've done with the plan."

The final verdict, however, is not yet in.

This newest round of Town Hall meetings will continue with sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.; 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at St. Augustine College-Essaney Studios, 1345 W. Argyle St.; and 6 to 8 p.m. July 31 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

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