Thursday, December 29, 2011

City arts staff gone missing—again

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 05:15 PM

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Yikes! An e-mail sent to the city's widely admired music programmer Michael Orlove this week came back with this auto-reply: "I no longer work for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture."

Orlove's innovations include the World Music Festival, Downtown Sound, and SummerDance; his departure would be a huge loss—if it should actually happen.

It might or might not, since what we have here is round two of the city's magic arts-and-culture-staffing show: now you see a whole team of arts workers, now you don't.

Department of Cultural Affairs employees who were sacked a year ago (because of problems with anti-patronage regulations) and then hired to do the same jobs by the "private" nonprofit tourism fund (aka the Office of Tourism and Culture), are either out of work again, or soon to be, their positions at tourism eliminated.

But don't be surprised if a number of them turn up back at cultural affairs, in its current incarnation as the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Because—heads up, unemployed curators—DCASE is hiring!

And anybody—including the folks who've held these jobs for years—can apply.

Mayor Emanuel's cultural affairs commissioner Michelle Boone has said that DCASE will be taking back some of the functions it lost to the tourism office in the late-Daley-days debacle that culminated with the departure of legendary culture czar Lois Weisberg. Exactly how this will now be OK hasn't been explained, but a DCASE spokesperson says that 14 "new positions in this department" will be posted on the City of Chicago website "as we go into the new year." (Word is at least some of these jobs were already posted, but ever so briefly, earlier this month.)

"Our goal will be to find the best people possible for those roles," the spokesperson said, adding that interviews will be held over the next month or two.

Here's what they'll be looking for: one deputy commissioner, five cultural affairs coordinators, five program directors, two curators, and one production assistant.

Nobody at the Office of Tourism and Culture was available to comment.

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