Mayor Richard M. Daley (D - Chicago, IL)
Richard M. Daley has placed a high importance on the partnership between private and public arts support since he took office as Mayor of Chicago in 1989. For Mayor Daley, the arts are a personal crusade. When the Cultural Affairs Commission needed a home, he called for the restoration of a beautiful old library where now, in addition to offices, daily events are open to the public in a rotating exhibition and performance center. His leadership in presenting the Cows on Parade sculptures led to numerous cities replicating the concept. Most recently, Mayor Daley spearheaded the creation of Millennium Park, a $450 million cultural mega-project in the heart of Chicago. First planned in 1997 as a way to create new parkland in Grant Park and transform an eyesore of railroad tracks and parking lots, it has evolved into one of the most significant millennium projects in the world. The 24.5-acre Millennium Park is an unprecedented cultural playground that features world-class art, music, architecture and landscape design, interactive public art, ice skating, and free classical music presentations. Featuring accessible fountains, sculptures, and skating rinks, kids and tourists can now visit day and night for free. Mayor Daley, along with his wife Maggie, established the “Gallery 37” program which has been recognized nationally as one the leading arts education programs in the country.