I wrote a couple of months ago bemoaning the fact that the powers that be in Chicago are slashing support for the arts amid an unprecedented budget shortfall and just wanted to write a quick update as I, among many other artists in the state, just received a disheartening email from Shirley Madigan, the chairwoman of the IAC and wife of the most powerful man in Illinois, Mike Madigan.
First of all it looks like the IAC will remain operational but, according to the email, “due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to make any funding decisions regarding applications (current, pending, and future) at this time.” The thing that really gets me down about this is that the cuts are not entirely owing to the budget mess.
In 2007 then-Governor Rod Blagojevich slashed the budget 35% simply because Mike Madigan was his political rival and, being unable to hurt him, he decided to hurt his wife instead. From that point on the cuts have nearly always been politically motivated including the latest round from Bruce Rauner, who also doesn’t like Mike Madigan.
Look, I don’t like Mike Madigan either, in fact I’m pretty sure that no one in the state likes Mike Madigan except possibly his family, and even that is in doubt, so I can certainly understand the impulse but you can’t create cuts that affect millions of people simply because you want to spite the wife of a guy you don’t like. That’s no way to use power. Although this is also the guy who literally hid in a closet when his budget director came looking for him so…
Since 2007 the IAC has been cut nearly every year until it’s now a shadow of itself. They apparently still have staff and an office and they’re reviewing grants but as far as I can tell they will not be able to award grant money as of this year and, most likely, going forward. Truly a shame that support for the arts are one more casualty of the never-ending partisan wars of our idiot politicians. Fire them all!