James Cuno

Category: Artist Published: Thursday, 29 July 2010 20:13 Hits: 2975

Statement

Here at the Art Institute of Chicago, we have taken a very long view of the current economic and cultural climate. Historically, museum attendance has increased dramatically during periods of economic stress, such as the Great Depression or the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s. This fact tells us that museums provide solace, inspiration, and perspective during difficult times. Now more than ever, it is of paramount importance that we continue to uphold our mission as a truly civic institution. Most immediately, we are striving to remain as accessible as possible to all visitors, which we are able to do through offering more than 400 hours a year of free admission and by consciously designing our new addition, the Modern Wing, to create more civic space in the form of our bridge into Millennium Park, our sculpture terrace, and our education center. All of these new spaces are completely free and open to the public. We aim to be at the center of the cultural life of the city by offering not just exhibitions and the display of our permanent collection but also by offering musical performances, lectures, poetry readings, and, this year, even a residency with one of the leading modern dance companies in Chicago. All of these efforts are, of course, accompanied by creative fundraising, but we are lucky that Chicago has always been—and continues to be—a city that generously supports its world-class cultural institutions.