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 to the post by Mayor Rahm Emanuel May 2011.
Prior to her post with the City of Chicago, Michelle was the Senior Program Officer for Culture at The Joyce Foundation, responsible for distributing nearly $2 million annually to arts and cultural institutions in Chicago. She also managed the Joyce Awards program, a competitive grant opportunity available to arts and culture groups based in major Midwestern cities to commission new works by artists of color. Michelle has served on the boards of several national organizations, including Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for the Arts, and on multiple local arts boards such as the Arts Alliance Illinois, Third Coast International Audio Festival, South Chicago Art Center and NeighborSpace. She has been a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, Rasmuson Foundation, and the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture program (Ohio), among others. Until her recent appointment as Commissioner, she also worked as an adjunct professor at DePaul University.
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. Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a master’s degree in Public Affairs (nonprofit management major) from Indiana University, Bloomington.