Mayor Lightfoot Announces $$$ for Chicago Arts Recovery Program


Via PR

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot Announces $11M in DCASE Grants for Chicago Nonprofit Arts Organizations—Including New “Chicago Arts Recovery Program”

CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the 2023 DCASE Cultural Grants Program plans, including $11M to be distributed to Chicago nonprofit arts organizations through the new “Chicago Arts Recovery Program,” providing $4.5M in project grant funding to aid arts organizations in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and the annual “CityArts Program,” which grew by 223% last year and continues in 2023 with $6.5M in general operating support for nonprofits of all sizes and artistic disciplines. These two programs are among the first to be released in 2023; the full list of annual Cultural Grant opportunities is below.  

 “Nonprofit arts organizations are essential to the fabric of our city," said Mayor Lightfoot. "The 2023 Cultural Grants program will support the nonprofits that empower artists and creative workers and ensure their continued recovery from the pandemic. This latest program builds upon our ongoing commitment to revitalize and strengthen our city's diverse arts community.” 

Applications are now open for the new “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” with $4.5M available in support of marketing and audience development, facilities, technology, planning, and workforce development for nonprofit arts organizations. Supported by funds from the city’s American Rescue Plan (ARP), this program will provide resources to arts organizations to examine and address ongoing challenges brought on or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will range from $50,000 - $250,000 and include participation in learning cohorts. Applications are open now through February 28; register for webinars and apply at

Additionally, the 2023 “CityArts Program” will administer its full $6.5M budget in general operating support for local arts and cultural organizations of all sizes. In 2022, “CityArts” general operating grant sizes increased significantly and will continue in 2023 with one-time renewable awards of $10,000 - $50,000 for each recipient. These renewal grants introduce multi-year organizational support as a new standard practice for “CityArts.” Organizations not previously awarded support in 2022 will be eligible to apply for funding in 2023. Applications open February 10; to learn more, attend a webinar and apply, visit

DCASE held a series of convenings and input sessions over the past two years alongside public surveys to help determine funding allocations for existing programs and areas of focus for new strategies in the Cultural Grants program.

“Arts organizations across all disciplines are still reporting decreases in operating revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We listened to our cultural community and developed our funding programs in direct response to the needs expressed,” shared DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “These new programs are part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure that Chicago remains an innovative and thriving cultural hub.”

Over the past two years, DCASE’s budget has provided $36M in new arts and culture investments, including a $10M annual increase to the Cultural Grants Program and $16M in American Rescue Plan funds, signifying Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to the reinvigoration of Chicago’s cultural sector.


Following is the full calendar of 2023 annual Cultural Grants Programs:

  • The rolling application for “Chicago Presents” will open in February 2023, offering presenting support for free, public programs.
  • DCASE will begin accepting ideas for the “Neighborhood Access Program” in April 2023, providing support for all types of community-based arts and culture activities.
  • The next “Individual Artists Program” cycle will open in November 2023, providing project-based funding for practicing artists.
  • As announced, the “Chicago Arts Recovery Program” is currently open and the “CityArts Program” opens February 10, 2023.
  • To learn about DCASE Cultural Grants and recent grantees, visit


DCASE is committed to strengthening the capacity of Chicago’s arts and culture sector through connecting artists and arts organizations with City of Chicago grants and resources. Together, these programs provide a range of funding opportunities to bolster artists’ livelihoods as part of Chicago’s thriving arts economy and to bring enriching and impactful arts activities and services throughout Chicago’s communities.


2022 DCASE Impact Report Released

In 2022, a transformational $10M increase to the Cultural Grants budget, from $2.7 million to $12.7M, empowered DCASE to award more than 630 grants across seven programs, a 25% increase over the previous year.

There was a 60% increase in average grant size through “Individual Artists Program,” 60% of which were made to BIPOC artists and grants awarded in all 50 wards, compared to only 35 wards in 2016. The “Neighborhood Access Program” provided $1M in funding to 33 organizations and artists leading arts and culture projects in their neighborhoods, 85% of which are located on the South and West Sides and the “Together We Heal Creative Place Program” awarded $5.5 million to 48 grantees to support artists in designing and implementing art projects that promote healing and transformation in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

2022 was also the Year of Chicago Dance, which spotlighted and supported the dance sector with more than 80 grants to artists and dance organizations and a direct investment of over $2.2 million. In 2023, six dance artists have received an award of space, time, and funding for the development of new dance work in the Chicago Cultural Center dance studio, with support from the Walder Foundation.

At a reception last night celebrating DCASE 2022 grantees, Commissioner Harkey shared, “The $10 million increase in DCASE’s 2022 budget was historic, but also significant because it is intended to continue well into the future, no longer requiring that DCASE rely solely on the hotel occupancy tax to fund arts and culture. I’d like to take a moment to thank Mayor Lightfoot and her team – as well as First Lady Amy Eshleman – for their unprecedented support for Chicago’s arts and culture, both downtown and in diverse communities across our city. In 2023, DCASE will continue to position Chicago’s cultural vitality as a driving and defining part of our city.”

 Visit the recently released digital DCASE 2022 Impact Report.


Chicago Recovery Plan

The Chicago Recovery Plan is the City’s plan to amplify once-in-a-generation federal funding to create an equity-based investment strategy to catalyze a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding under the Chicago Recovery Plan, which includes funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) and over $600 million in local bond funds, is allocated alongside all other available resources in the City budget to maximize this opportunity over the next 3-5 year funding period. The initiatives and strategic priorities that make up the Chicago Recovery Plan were a result of several stages of community engagement and input during the 2022 budget development process.  View the City’s complete Chicago Recovery Plan.