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It’s an exciting time in Chicago for the arts and culture.

While we so appreciate everything that Chicago’s Cultural Leadership has given us to date, times are changing. A new leadership team was just announced and Broadway In Chicago thanks everyone involved for choosing to serve Chicago. We look forward to an amazing future for the most innovative artistic community in the world.

Just in case you haven’t heard the news – here are the details on the players Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has tapped to lead Chicago’s Cultural Affairs Team.


Mayor-elect Emanuel today named his Cultural Affairs Leadership Team,
announcing that Michelle T, Boone will be the Commissioner of the
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and David McDermott
will serve as her Chief of Staff. The Mayor-elect also named the
leaders of a reinvigorated Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory
Committee. Nora Daley will serve as the Committee’s Chair and Marj
Halperin as the Vice Chair.

“Our diverse arts and cultural scene is a key part of what makes
Chicago a vibrant and dynamic place to live,” said the Mayor-elect.
“We treasure our flagship institutions, and we also love living in a
city where new music, theater, dance and visual arts are being created
every day in hundreds of smaller venues. Each member of our leadership
team has deep roots in the arts and cultural scene, and each knows
that Chicago’s thousands of artists and non-profits are a critical
piece of our economic strength. Michelle, Nora, David and Marj will
bring the fresh ideas needed to help new talent flourish and keep
Chicago a world leader in the arts.”

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Leadership

Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Michelle T. Boone is the senior program officer for Culture at the
Joyce Foundation. In addition to her duties at the Joyce Foundation,
Boone is an adjunct professor at DePaul University. She serves on the
boards of Arts Alliance Illinois, Grantmakers in the Arts, and other
Chicago community-based arts organizations.  She has been a reviewer
for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council,
and the Cuyahoga (OH) Arts and Culture program, among others. She was
previously the director of Chicago’s Gallery 37 and began her career
working in television, film, and the recording industry. She served as
a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. Michelle holds a B.A. in
telecommunications and a M.A. in public affairs from Indiana
University, Bloomington.

David McDermott, Chief of Staff, Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

David McDermott has spent the last seven years working as a senior
aide to Senator Richard Durbin. Most recently, David led the Senator’s
Department of Community Outreach, ensuring that non-for profits,
businesses, elected officials, and unions had access to Senator Durbin
and federal resources. During the 2008 election cycle, David served as
Deputy Campaign Manager on Senator Durbin’s re-election campaign and
has also managed campaigns at the congressional, county, and municipal
levels. David received a degree in Public Policy from Trinity College
at the University of Dublin.

Cultural Affairs Advisory Council

The Cultural Affairs Advisory Council will serve a critical role in
helping the Department of Cultural Affairs to carry out its core
function of engaging Chicago’s diverse artistic communities.
Membership will be drawn from all segments of the City’s arts and
cultural community, representing a cross-section of neighborhoods and
artistic specialties. The Council will act as the outreach arm of the
Department to engage stakeholders in the new cultural plan.

Nora Daley, Chair, Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee

Nora is the Director of Outreach at Metropolis Strategies, a business
and civic organization implementing policy initiatives and programs
for regional action on issues including land use, transportation,
justice and violence, sustainability and the economy. Daley is the
Chair of the Board of Trustees of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, one of
the nation’s leading ensemble theaters, producing up to 16 productions
each year in its three Chicago theater spaces, including programming
dedicated to the development of new plays and theater for young
adults. Daley also serves on the board of Navy Pier, Inc. and on
committees at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science
and Industry. Daley received a BA in Art History from Fairfield
University in Connecticut.

Marj Halperin, Vice Chair, Chicago Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee

Marj Halperin is the past President and CEO of the League of Chicago
Theatres, where she guided Chicago’s live theater industry to
international prominence. She served as a member of President Obama’s
campaign committee for arts and culture policy and has been a speaker
on a variety of arts and marketing-related panels. Halperin has held
positions directing communications policy for the Chicago Park
District and the Chicago Public Schools. She began her professional
career as an award-winning journalist.