Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rahm: (Another) Renaissance Man

Chicago mayors have a penchant for the Renaissance. Be it Mayor Daley who piloted the now-failed Renaissance 2010 as the cure for the failing CPS, or most recently, Rahm Emanuel who believes he is leading Europe's Chicago's charge out of the Dark Ages with his newly launched CPS arts initiative: Be Creative (this could well be the title for Chicago's history with voting, pensions, and budgets). 

Tuesday's announcement asks, "Chicago's business, civic, cultural and philanthropic leaders to help raise $38 million dollars in private donations..." to fund arts programming which will, "create a robust experience...to nurture the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers." And so it is that Rahm the benefactor has bestowed the arts upon all of CPS, at least until 2018 - 19 when the public will assume funding this initiative. How the public will do this is unclear, but until then, let there be arts! 

With Rahm's grand talk of the arts and its patrons you'd think we were in Renaissance Italy.

A quick history lesson tells us: 
  • Wealthy Florentines flaunted their money and power by funding the arts.
  • Wealthy patrons like the Medici family feuded with other families to gain political influence and power.
  • Those living during this time believed they were undoing the backward thinking of the past.
Chicago's current cultural and political landscape tells us:
  • Wealthy patrons like the Prtizker family hold sway politically and culturally, but without the warfare.
  • We are living in enlightened times, or so says B3, "The arts opens the door to new ways of thinking and learning, of imagining creative solutions in fields of study across the curriculum..."
WCT is left to wonder if teachers--technology and modern conveniences aside-- in 2014 Chicago are not so unlike peasants 1420 Italy: grateful the arts are being funded, but frustrated this is a ploy to buy votes, placate the masses, and another opportunity for the monied to pat themselves on the back (and perhaps buy an indulgence for Heaven).

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