About

A small group of artists and arts administrators joined forces in 1982 to combat the threatened elimination of state funding for the arts in Illinois. Out of these early advocacy efforts, Arts Alliance Illinois was born.

In August 2016, the Alliance announced the appointment of Claire Rice as Executive Director. The organization needed to reimagine its work in the context of consistently declining public funding and a state budget crisis, specifically exploring broader definitions of advocacy and service to the field. Under Rice’s leadership, the Alliance initiated an artist-driven strategic visioning process with deep member and field engagement, through which the organization updated its mission statement and identified three focus areas for its work.

Our revised strategies move the organization beyond limited traditional notions of advocacy into meaningful and relevant service to arts and culture for the 21st century, as the only statewide, multidisciplinary organization focused on the health of the entire cultural sector.

Our mission

Arts Alliance Illinois builds the vitality of communities statewide through service and advocacy, thereby generating resources for the cultural sector and creative industries.

Through statewide civic engagement, we position arts and culture as a source of creative solutions to a broad range of challenges;

through arts education, we promote arts-centered learning and the development of a creative and adaptive workforce; and

through cultural equity, we foster equitable access to and participation in arts and culture, and advance historically neglected or marginalized forms of expression.

• • •

With more than 46,000 network members, 25,000 active subscribers, and hundreds of Alliance member organizations, the Alliance is the largest statewide arts advocacy network in the country. By driving change within the creative sector, our work is critical to the statewide arts and culture landscape.

Our goals in civic engagement and advocacy

• Collaborations between artists, arts organizations, governments, and other nonprofits and businesses lead to healthy and vibrant communities

• Our field transcends boundaries between its nonprofit and for-profit subsectors to speak with a unified voice around issues of common concern

• The sector is seen and understood to be an asset in (civic and other) problem-solving: new audiences — policymakers, government and business leaders — demonstrate new interest in arts and culture

• New resources flow toward arts and culture, including public and private funding, and sources of expertise

Our goals in arts education

• Creativity and the arts are increasingly recognized and valued by centers of authority in education across Illinois

• Illinois students demonstrate increased artistic and creative literacy, promoting their lifelong will to continue to participate in the arts as creators, participants, and supporters

• Illinois students are prepared to contribute within dynamic work environments, demonstrating adaptability, creativity, empathy, innovation, and whole-person growth

Our goals in equity and access

• Creative and cultural workers of color, and underrepresented communities of all kinds, are better networked and positioned for success in arts and culture

• Imbalances in funding to historically marginalized organizations and art forms are recognized and rectified, alongside other means of support

• Illinois’ creative sector is representative of the richness and diversity of the state’s population

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Click here to watch “Celebrating 35 Years — Looking Forward” and other videos from Arts Alliance Illinois on our Vimeo channel.