Evanston’s Economic Development Committee has unanimously approved a plan under which the city would pay local arts groups to hire minorities for administrative and professional jobs.

Cultural Arts Coordinator Jennifer Lasik told the committee Wednesday that with continuing reductions in state funding, local arts organizations are struggling to try to respond to the ethnic and racial gap in participation in arts activities.

And grants from the private sector to meet that goal are also difficult to come by, Lasik said. “Everybody wants to pay for pretty projects, but getting salary help is very difficult.”

Evanston has 92 non-profit arts organizations, based on federal tax filings, Lasik said. Proposed 2017 funding for the project is $50,000 and would come from the economic development fund budget.

With seven of the city’s nine aldermen on the EDC, City Council approval of the program is expected to be a formality

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Needs Change

    Why is this only directed at minorities? Due arts groups fall short of hiring minorities? If the city gets involved in projects like this, it shouldun not tailor it to specific groups. It should be targeted toward unemployed qualified evanston people.

    I assume that any arts groups that hire will be responsible for benefits.


    1. Answer to the question….

      DUE (meaning it is a fact) arts groups fall short, (blah, blah, blah)……..if there is change then minorities will be excluded from not only art projects, but many other projects.  If this happens, then government must rewrite the laws of inclusion of minorities.  Consider the legal fees incurred in civil litigation and inform taxpayers such as yourself for a refund in fees…

  2. 92 arts groups?

    Doesn't 92 non-profit arts groups [how many for profit] seem REALLY excessive ?

    Where did the city get the idea that taxpayers should support these groups so that, as I assume the participants [wrongly] assume they will one day get paying jobs [and those not supported by government].

  3. Pay the people hired directly

    Pay the people hired directly.  Your economic development money would be better spent paying directly to those hired and bypassing the expenses of the non-profits.  And check Charity Navigator or other like site for money uses of non-profits, for salary for themselves or gifts back to community.

    1. Expenses No
      The city should not be paying expenses for people who will be working for other organizations. That would be inappropriate. The city spends millions of dollars every year for the arts and they have been doing it for years. It is time for the city to cut back some and to start helping the taxpayers a little bit. They can start by rejecting additional money for this failed again and again theatre on Howard

      Time for the city council to start acting in a responsible way by saving the taxpayers a couple of million dollars a year.

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