Press Release
April 17, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Task Force to Study Potential Locations for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

Panel Tasked with Finding Accessible Location that Enhances Public Space, is Easily Accessible by all Communities, and Does Not Require Taxpayer Dollars
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced members of the task force that will assist in the process of exploring a potential site for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. The group represents a cross-section of community and cultural leaders, local economic development practitioners, and urban planners.

"The City of Chicago is honored to be considered by George Lucas as the future home of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. As George's adopted hometown, we are excited by the opportunity to host the collection and educational programming of one of the world's most renowned filmmakers," said Mayor Emanuel. "This task force of community, cultural and urban planning leaders will help us to determine a proper location for this unique institution that will be a local educational anchor and major international tourism draw."

The members have been tasked with determining the best potential location for the proposed museum, and to explore possible investments by the museum to enhance surrounding public space. The Mayor asked that the site be accessible to all Chicago communities, adequate size to host a museum comparable to other major cultural institutions in the city, maximize the potential to provide educational opportunities to youth, and not require taxpayer dollars.

The Mayor requested that the task force allow for robust public input and make recommendations by mid-May.

The task force will be staffed, on a pro bono basis, by the Civic Consulting Alliance, a non-profit consulting partnership that creates pro bono teams of public and private sector leaders, with the goal of making Chicago a more vibrant city for everyone.

The twelve task force members include:

Ted Beattie
President and CEO, Shedd Aquarium
For the past two decades, Ted Beattie has served as president and Chief Executive Officer of the Shedd Aquarium. In that capacity he has built conservation partnerships around the world, launched dynamic education programs, and increased attendance to nearly 2 million annual guests. He has previously been president of the Museums in the Park, a coalition of eleven Chicago museums located on Chicago Park District property.

Lee Bey
Special Projects Manager, University of Chicago
Lee Bey currently leads urban planning and government affairs work for the University of Chicago's Arts and Public Life initiative with Theaster Gates. In this role, Mr. Bey manages strategic initiatives and continues to strengthen and develop sustainable partnerships with local artists, arts organizations, community groups and civic leaders. He previously served as executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee, a civic group composed of business and cultural leaders devoted to improving the architecture, transportation, cultural life and urban design of downtown Chicago, and was architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Gia Biagi
Chief of Staff, Chicago Park District
Gia Biagi serves as the Chief of Staff of the Chicago Park District where she focuses on strategic planning and special projects that enhance the city's position as a leader in providing all communities with open space and recreational opportunities.

Michelle Boone
Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Michelle 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 previously served as the Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, and prior to that was the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning job-training in the arts program for Chicago youth.

Gillian Darlow, co-chair
Chief Executive Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
Gillian Darlow serves as CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation, which works in the Chicago region to reduce the impact of poverty and provide area residents with better access to quality education, preventive health care and basic human services. She also serves as Vice Chair of Choose Chicago, the city's tourism and convention promotion office. She previously led Civic Consulting Alliance's Economic Growth practice, where she specialized in strategy development, large-scale and multi-agency collaborations and assessment of new business opportunities, and held positions at Redmoon Theatre and the Field Museum.

Nilda Esparza
Director of Youth & Cultural Programming, Latinos Progresando
Nilda Esparza currently directs all youth and cultural programming at Latinos Progresando, a leading community organization on Chicago's southwest side. Ms. Esparza previously served as the executive director for the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, where she has worked to promote and support the growth and success of businesses in Little Village and to leverage the community's unique cultural identity to generate new business opportunities.

Jeanne Gang
Founder and Principal, Studio Gang Architects
Architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is the founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based collective of architects, designers, and thinkers. Ms. Gang has produced innovative and award-winning architecture, including the Aqua Tower, Northerly Island framework plan, Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, and Columbia College Chicago's Media Production Center. Her work has been honored and exhibited widely, most notably at the International Venice Biennale, MoMA, the National Building Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Walter Massey
President, School of the Art Institute
Walter Massey, Ph.D. is currently the President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a post he assumed in the fall of 2010. He is also the President Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and was formerly the Director of the Argonne National Laboratory and the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of California system.

Jorge Ramirez
President, Chicago Federation of Labor
Jorge Ramirez is President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, the umbrella organization for Chicago and Cook County's labor unions. Mr. Ramirez currently serves on the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors as Vice-Chairman, on the Cook County President's Council of Economic Advisors, and on the boards of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois Department of Labor, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Choose Chicago, Navy Pier, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Immigrant Affairs.

Mary Ann Smith
Former Alderman
Mary Ann Smith was alderman of the 48th ward from 1989 to 2007, where she focused on issues of public safety, community redevelopment, lakefront planning, and public sector accountability. She was chairman of the City Council Committee on Parks, served as vice-chair of the City Council Subcommittee on the Chicago Lakefront and as a vice-chair of the Lake Michigan Federation. Her leadership on environmental issues earned a United Nations Environment Programme Award for Citizen Action to Protect the Global Environment.

Jackie Samuel
Director, New Communities Program, Claretian Associates
Jackie Samuel is the Director of the New Communities Program at Claretian Associates, the South Chicago lead agency funded by LISC/Chicago to support long-term comprehensive community development in 16 targeted Chicago communities. Ms. Samuel has an extensive history in the performing arts, arts education and administration, and she previously served as the lead arts consultant for LISC/Chicago's Building Communities through the Arts program, part of their New Communities Program. Ms. Samuel has also provided and coordinated professional development programs for the Bureau of Cultural Arts, Chicago Board of Education, and was Director of Bethel Cultural Arts Center.

Kurt Summers, co-chair
Senior Vice President, Grosvenor Capital Management
Mr. Summers is a member of the Strategy and Corporate Development Team at Grosvenor, where he helps guide the short- and long-term objectives of the firm. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Cook County Board President, and as Chief of Staff on the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee. Mr. Summers is active as a leader in other organizations, including the National Council for The Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Public Safety Action Committee for the City of Chicago, and as a board member and Finance Committee Chair for Navy Pier Inc.

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