The Latest:

SBIF Funding Can Help Upgrade your Work Space

Chicago's Small Business Improvement Fund

An important tool for revitalizing Chicago's neighborhood businesses -- including arts and creative businesses -- is the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program.  SBIF uses local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues to help
owners or tenants of commercial and industrial properties within
specific TIF districts to repair or remodel their facilities.   

Artist Live/Work Space License and Zoning Information

From the Chicago Dept of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

Artists interested in
operating a home-based Artist Live/Work Space
should consider the following licensing information from the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer

"Showing your art or another person's art to friends or for a private
party, in your home, not open to the public or advertised to the
public, and even selling art in your home does not require a business
can make art in any residence in
without a license. 

Arts Engagement Exchange

An Online Resource to Help Build Arts Audiences

The Arts Engagement
(AEE) is a learning network for
Chicago arts and cultural groups on topics related
to audience engagement. Created through a partnership between the Chicago
Community Trust and the Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the
Wallace Foundation, the AEE works to build
Chicago’s arts audiences by offering free events and
audience development grants to local arts organizations. The AEE website expands the opportunities for dialogue with other organizations that wish to
increase participation in the arts, reach diverse audiences, and deepen
existing audiences’ participation.

What is Fiscal Sponsorship? NYFA's ArtSpire

And how does it relate to you?

Fiscal Sponsorship is a critical way for individual artists, artists' collaborative projects, and emerging arts organizations in all disciplines to apply for funding usually available only to organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The right fiscal sponsor will not only allow you to manage your project efficiently, but can actually help you to raise more money and realize your artistic vision.

Musicians at Work Forums

Audio Archive

Musicians at Work Forums strengthen Chicago's music industry by presenting experts in candid discussions about the music business.  Launched in 2003, MAWF have covered topics ranging from how to get a gig, build your audience, license your music, songwriting, touring and more.  Notable presenters include:  Jim DeRogatis, Greg Kot, Martin Atkins, Shala Akintunde, Bettina Richards, Steve Albini, and many more.  

Now available, courtesy of the Chicago Music Commission, is a free audio archive of past forums:

Artists United for Health Care

Participate in the Health Care Debate

The Actors Fund’s Health Insurance Resource Center (HIRC), in partnership with The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), has launched a national artists’ health care reform website, Artists United for Health Care.

As attention to health care reform takes center stage nationally, the Artists United for Health Care site brings attention to the critical place of artists in the reform debate.

Free Business Education Workshops and Certification

Sponsored by the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Licensing

Tough economic times may be the best time for entrepreneurs to get a leg up.  Just ask the 200 or more Chicago entrepreneurs that have enrolled into the City of Chicago's Business Start-Up Certificate program. Take it from entrepreneur David Clayton, "This program is outstanding, it provided me with the absolute fundamental knowledge to start a business."

Arts at the Core

A Curriculum Guidebook by the Illinois Arts Alliance

Arts at the Core: A Guidebook and Planning Tool is a helpful resource for arts educators across the disciplines created by the Illinois Arts Alliance. The guidebook addresses major questions posed by teachers and administrators, such as what constitutes a quality curriculum, how to integrate the arts into other subjects, and how to deal with a lack of resources.

Health Insurance Information

From the Actors Fund Health Insurance Resource Center

The Actors Fund Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC) has been connecting artists, craftspeople and entertainment industry workers around the country to health insurance and affordable health care since 1998.

Getting Started as a Teaching Artist

excerpted from Teaching Artists Journal

You want to teach!  Now what do you do?  Thisshort document lists some resources, strategies, andinformational sources you will want to think about andinvestigate.

City of Chicago Promoters Ordinance (4-157)

Facts to know about planning events

What is an Event Promoter?

An Event Promoter is a person inside or outside the City of Chicago who engages in the business of promoting amusements or events within the City of Chicago and is directly or indirectly compensated for providing that service. The ordinance requires Event Promoters to obtain a license and provides guidelines to operate responsibly in the City to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people attending these events.

License Application Requirements:

Protect Your Gear With Insurance

What's the best way to insure
your music and sound gear? If you consider your gear personal property,
your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy should protect it. Ask
your insurance carrier to be sure. However, if you use your
equipment for business (and hopefully exploit the tax advantages of
this strategy), you must check with your insurance carrier.

City of Chicago's Entertainment, Performing Arts and Theater Licensing

Ensure your venue has proper licenses and permits

If you offer entertainment as part of your business or are planning a large event in the City of Chicago, you may require a special license. These licenses range from PPA - Public Place of Amusement to PAV - Performing Arts Venue to Indoor Special Event Licenses.

Richard Florida's High-class Glasses

Article by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

When Richard Florida took the mainstage at last year's Americans for the Arts conference in Portland, Oregon, the woman next to me—we had never met—leaned in with an immediate response. "Hubba-hubba," she murmured in my direction. The Carnegie-Mellon University professor of economic development had come a long way since the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class in June 2002.

Beyond Richard Florida

A Cultural Sector of Our Own

Now that Richard Florida has moved on from the “rise” of the creative class to the “flight” of the creative class, the cultural sector is left with the question: are we better off today than before he re-classified us?

Managing to Succeed

Article by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

Whatever your personal goal as a photographer (to earn a living, to develop a reputation, to share your passion with friends and family—or all of the above), you need to manage your photographic practice.

What that means, simply, is organizing your work so that you are both efficient (giving minimum effort) and effective (getting maximum results).

Most of us are very efficient. We’re getting alot of stuff done. The question is: Is it the right stuff? Are we actually being effective with our energy, accomplishing the most important things?

Mission Accomplished

by Ann Daly, Arts Consultant

By day I am a cool-headed consultant, advising arts organizations and leading workshops with titles such as "How to Write a Mission Statement That Succeeds." But tonight I am a frustrated board member, just back from another meeting that leaves me wondering about the future of this organization and our capacity to help it move forward. Without a clear sense of mission, we are hamstrung. There is no coherent viewpoint from month to month, and therefore no consistent criteria for making decisions, plans, or innovations.

Unemployment Benefits for Artists

by Melissa Potter, New York Foundation for the Arts

Unemployment insurance provides an income to workers who have been laid off or terminated without cause by an employer. Employers pay a separate tax, which the New York State Department of Labor uses to pay these benefits. Unemployment insurance is a universal entitlement to those who qualify, even for some artists who work seasonally or part-time. However, many artists who are self-employed or work freelance may not qualify for unemployment benefits.