Department Office Locations:
Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St., 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Maxwell Street Market
800 S. Desplaines St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Michelle T. Boone is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which presents and promotes high-quality free festivals, exhibitions, performances and holiday celebrations each year in parks, the historic Chicago Cultural Center, and other venues throughout the city. She was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel May, 2011.
Prior to joining the City, Michelle was the Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, responsible for distributing nearly $2 million annually to arts and cultural institutions in major Midwestern cities. She also managed the Joyce Awards program, a competitive grant opportunity available to arts and culture groups in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland and Indianapolis to commission new works by artists of color. Michelle serves on the national boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for the Arts, as well as local board service on the Arts Alliance Illinois, Third Coast International Audio Festival, South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace.
Prior to the Joyce Foundation, Michelle was the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning job-training in the arts program for Chicago youth through the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Her professional career began in entertainment working in television, film, and the recording industry, and later she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a master’s degree in Public Affairs (nonprofit management major) from Indiana University, Bloomington.