Art Works Blog

Art Works in Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate (popularly known as "The Bean") is one of the public artworks installed at Chicago's Millennium Park. Kapoor has reportedly said, "What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline ... so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work." Photo by multisanti via Flickr.

Standing Together (or Falling Apart)

Collaboration is not only part of many artists? nature, but it has proven to be a valuable tool in building and sustaining healthy and vibrant arts organizations and communities. This is particularly true in times of scarce resources, as my visits with organizations and artists throughout our state have proven. More and more, groups of all shapes and sizes are bypassing old-fashioned competition in favor of cooperative competition.

Innovative collaborations are cropping up all over Illinois. What excites me most is seeing the way lines between sectors are blurring. One such new initiative involving nonprofits, business, and government working together is called ?Experience Quad Cities.?

Led by the Quad Cities Convention and Visitor Bureau, more than twenty groups from Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, Moline/East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois, and a number of surrounding smaller communities have banded together in a campaign to spur economic development and improve the quality of life in their region of the Mid-Mississippi Valley. It?s a remarkable enterprise that will benefit artists, arts organizations, area businesses, residents, visitors and more. It may even serve as a catalyst for other collaborations as partners begin to seek out and learn more about one another.

?Arts does more than let us survive in a community,? said former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert at the launch of this initiative. ?It allows us to thrive.? Their new website,, is scheduled to launch on July 1st.

Working together with artists, educators, and organizations to build vital, prosperous, and livable communities in our state has long been the way of the Illinois Arts Council. ?Just as art is meant to be shared with others,? reads one of our core value statements, ?we believe in partnership and collaboration in all aspects of our work.?

I believe the same core value will provide strength to initiatives like Experience Quad Cities statewide. In fact, it seems clear to me that the survival of a great many organizations in our state depends on it. We must stand together, or risk falling apart.

Visit the Illinois Arts Council website to learn more.

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