Thru July 3, 2020
Travel around the world and ask people what they think of when you mention Chicago and you’ll usually hear a spontaneous Michael Jordan, or maybe Barack Obama, and sometimes even Al Capone. Then ask what music people think of as being most Chicago— and the rush of options from Chicago’s rich music history ensue. Jazz, Gospel, House, Blues- and that’s just the start!
It’s not just Chicagoans who will be missing the usual summer music festivals, but also the many tens of thousands who visit one or more of these famous music festivals. How apt that one of Chicago’s leading support organizations for the arts- -The Arts and Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) invites all lover of the Chicago music scene to cast their votes for the top 35 moments in Chicago music history (#ChiMusic35).
Here, Picture this Post (PTP) talks with A&BC’s Executive Director, Kristin Larsen (KL) about the Chicago music scene and this #ChiMusic35 campaign her organization is sponsoring.
(PTP) Please tell Picture This Post readers about the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) and how you became involved with it.
(KL) The Arts & Business Council of Chicago is a nonprofit that has been providing business consulting services to creatives and their organizations across Chicago for 35 years. To date, A&BC has trained and placed hundreds of skilled volunteers on management consulting projects, providing over 100,000 hours of pro bono consulting to over 600 unique arts businesses.
I was the Director of Programs for A&BC in the early aughts. I returned as Executive Director in 2017 after 15 years of producing live theatre in Chicago. My husband, a professional Actor and I have had a terrific life working in the arts in Chicago. As my career advanced, I became increasingly interested in working on a larger canvas appreciating how our art makers make Chicago a vibrant city to work and live in.
What was the inspiration for the #ChiMusic35 Campaign and how will it unfold?
As Chicagoans face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, all of us at A&BC want to do our part to help make things better for our art partners who are suffering from the impact of the pandemic and for the city at large. To do this, we decided to celebrate what bonds our city and brings our communities together: music. We launched the #ChiMusic35 campaign to honor the Year of Chicago Music and celebrate A&BC’s 35th anniversary of supporting the city’s arts, cultural and creative enterprises to help ensure that the beat goes on.
A&BC’s #ChiMusic35 campaign, @ ChiMusic35.com, encourages having some fun and doing some good by participating in the #ChiMusic35 Challenge and Raffle. First, you can submit and vote on your favorite Chicago music moment that you feel best defines The 35 Greatest Moments in Chicago Music History. Along with this there is a raffle for prizes. The funds from the raffle will be used to help support Chicago artists who are struggling to survive during COVID-19, particularly in disinvested communities.
This campaign seems very much a labor of love. Is it for you personally?
Is #ChiMusic35 a labor of love? Most definitely. This campaign stems from the passion that all of us at A&BC have to support the wellbeing of Chicago and help artists survive COVID-19, particularly in the city’s South and West sides where people are suffering most right now.
Which little known facts of Chicago Music history have you learned about through this project ?
As you can imagine, there’s a whole group of experts on Chicago music. They have an astonishing body of knowledge, and it’s endlessly fascinating to hear from them about the city’s music. Take house music, for example. I still love house music, coming of age in that era. I knew it originated here, but I recently learned the genre is named after The Warehouse, a West Loop club that operated in the early 80’s at 206 South Jefferson Street. DJ Frankie Knuckles was its first musical director and you can find a playlist of his work on Spotify—that’s how influential he was in creating the genre.
Is this strictly a Chicago endeavor?
We welcome everyone inside and outside the City of Chicago to join our #ChiMusic35 campaign. Chicago is world renown for its music; it’s been a hotbed for creating music genres that go global for decades, and it’s still going strong. We certainly encourage music fans, art lovers and everyone from across the country and around the globe who love Chicago and its music to help identify the 35 greatest moments in Chicago music history, and provide some support for our city’s artists who are suffering from the impact of COVID-19.