Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is dead; DCASE is hiring | Bleader

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is dead; DCASE is hiring

Posted By on 06.22.12 at 10:37 AM

Diamond Jim 2004/Wilson Hand Kidde
  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • Diamond Jim, by Wilson Hand Kidde, from the Richard Harris collection
Last week, the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture formally announced its own demise and the sacking of its 88 employees (effective June 30) with a celebratory press release.

After noting that its dual functions will each be going their own way—tourism to the private-sector nonprofit Choose Chicago (aka the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau), and culture to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events—the COTC lauded itself for "20 years of service marked by unprecedented cultural advancement and economic achievement for the City of Chicago."

"COTC leaves the city with a thriving $11.1 billion tourism industry that attracts more than 42 million visitors annually," the release said.

That's still four million fewer visitors than there were in 2007, before the economy tanked, but never mind.

Previously known as the nonprofit Chicago Tourism Fund, COTC took on its hybrid identity in early 2011, after somebody noticed that reporting relationships between its employees and those of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs were violating Shakman regulations. There was a hurried shift of DCA employees to the private organization, which then got city contracts that allowed those employees to continue doing their old jobs.

Now DCASE has the cultural jobs back, along with some of the old staff. (The Reader's Peter Margasak reported a major loss that won't be recovered back in March, when longtime city music program director Michael Orlove was hired by the NEA.) According to a spokesperson, these are the latest positions the department has filled, starting with two newcomers:

As reported in the Bleader in April, New York producer Shoshona Currier has been hired as program director for performing arts.

Daniel Schulman, former Art Institute of Chicago associate curator of modern and contemporary art, is on board as program director for visual art.

And Carlos C. Tortolero, who had been programming music for COTC, is DCASE's new coordinator for performing arts.

Longtime Cultural Affairs curators Lanny Silverman and Greg Lunceford are back as curators of exhibits.

Still to be filled: a creative industries program director for music and a music industries coordinator, plus a program director for the fashion and culinary industries. The latter position (with a salary of $63,516) was still listed this week on the city's online job postings.

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