Illinois Creative Economy Initiative

Project Description

Developing, supporting, and nurturing the creative economy is increasingly a key economic development strategy for states, cities, and regions. As communities compete for talent, innovative thinkers, and new business, and strive to enhance the quality of life for their citizens, there is growing recognition that the arts are anchors for attracting and improving these assets.

Just like any promising economic sector, the creative economy needs industry-specific policies and incentives to thrive. On March 19, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn announced the launch of the Illinois Creative Economy Initiative to be led by Arts Alliance Illinois. As part of this initiative, the Alliance assembled the Creative Economy Roundtable, a team of leaders and experts from both the public and private sectors charged with determining how Illinois can leverage its creative assets to grow jobs, strengthen the workforce, and build more vibrant communities.

Creative Economy Roundtable

Co-chaired by David Hawkanson, Executive Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Jen Hoelzle, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, the Roundtable is guided by the expertise of the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University and consists of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, who share a commitment to making Illinois a global center for talent, tourism, capital, and community vitality.

The Creative Economy Roundtable is focused on developing recommendations to grow the economic impact of the arts in Illinois, including strategies to create jobs, sharpen the state’s competitive edge, strengthen Illinois' workforce, attract talent and tourists, build more vibrant communities, and encourage new investment.

Please visit our Roundtable biography page for a complete list of Roundtable members.

Roundtable Meetings

Upcoming Meetings:

May 16, 2014
Final Roundtable Meeting

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Yondorf Hall
758 W. North Avenue (North Avenue & Halsted Street)
Chicago, IL 60610

Parking will be available and we can also arrange car pooling from the Loop. Also, it is right off the CTA Red Line stop "Clybourn" 

Yondorf Hall is a building used by Steppenwolf Theatre and holds historical significance, as well as landmarks status, in Chicago architecture. Information on the historical significance of this building can be found here. 

Past Meetings:

February 24, 2014
Kick-off Meeting
Agenda | Presentation | Meeting Notes

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park Room
78 E. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602

At the meeting, Roundtable members responded individually to the question, "What does the creative economy mean to you?" and in small groups to the question, "Based on your knowledge and experience, what is already in place to foster the creative economy in your community, and what is missing that is most important to a thriving creative economy?” The responses may be accessed by clicking the meeting notes link above.

April 11, 2014
Second Roundtable Meeting 
Agenda | Maps | Meeting Notes

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
313 S 6th St
Springfield, IL 62701

At the second of the three Creative Economy Roundtable meetings, Roundtable Members reviewed maps of creative enterprise in Illinois, discussed existing Illinois policies and programs that support a creative economy, and brainstormed new policies and programs to address unmet needs. The agenda, maps, and notes may be accessed by clicking the links above.

Arts Alliance Illinois

Incorporated in 1982, Arts Alliance Illinois is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts advocacy and service organization promoting the value of the arts to all residents of Illinois. With more than 30,000 advocates and hundreds of member organizations, the Alliance is the largest statewide arts advocacy network in the country and the only organization in Illinois that represents artists and cultural organizations across all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic areas.

Arts Alliance Illinois works to amplify the collective voice of the arts sector through legislative and grassroots action, close collaboration with policymakers and public agencies, and a robust online and social media presence. The Alliance ensures that the arts are central and indispensable to Illinois by empowering arts and culture stakeholders with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to be active participants in the policymaking process and the civic life of their communities; by proving data-driven evidence on the impact, assets, and needs of the arts and creative industries in Illinois; and by connecting and supporting leaders across multiple sectors around common goals and shared outcomes.


Roundtable Members


For additional information about the Illinois Creative Economy initiative, please contact:

Arts Alliance Illinois 
Ra Joy

Center for Governmental Studies
Patricia Inman