As a leading cultural stakeholder in a city marred with the label “most segregated city in America”, the Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) has taken a monumental step towards encouraging Chicagoans to connect in a new and meaningful way – through cultural heritage.
This October the Chicago Cultural Alliance will launch Inherit Chicago, the city’s first intercultural festival that brings together over 30 cultural centers and heritage museums in collaboration to produce programming in 20 neighborhoods in the region.
The goal for this inaugural year: to have a wide, inter-generational cross-section of Chicagoans visit a neighborhood and experience a cultural exchange they had little knowledge of before.
“Inherit Chicago is a festival created by the neighborhood cultural centers and heritage museums,” says Emily Reusswig, Executive Director at the Chicago Cultural Alliance. “We want to put Chicagoans in the driver seat of experiencing all of the culture, food, performance, art that the neighborhoods have to offer. We believe that when you experience culture, you not only gain an understanding of that community, but you gain a better understanding of yourself. Inherit Chicago reflects on our past, and asks Chicagoans to embrace our collective future.”
Inherit Chicago will offer Chicagoans and visitors a cultural journey through arts, conversation, and food in a month-long, multi-event festival happening in collaboration with 30 neighborhood based heritage museums and cultural centers, all members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance.
“A lot of people, unfortunately, understand how segregated Chicago is ethnically, racially,” says Dr. Masequa Myers, Executive Director at the South Side Community Art Center. “So to have a collaboration like Inherit Chicago, it brings communities together. We get a chance to understand each other by communicating and sharing stories. So I believe this festival can do nothing but good as it relates to bringing people together.”
The festival kicks off in October with “World Dumpling Fest”, an opening celebration on October 7, 2017 from 11am-5pm at Millennium Park Chase South Promenade that features performances from the Lion Dragons, Kreyòl Roots, and the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective, heritage-based artists and of course, dumplings. World Dumpling Fest will highlight chef-created dumplings from neighborhood-based ethnic restaurants like Tryzub Restaurant and more.
The kick-off is followed by collaborative programs and events from:
Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, Haitian American Museum of Chicago, and Ukrainian National Museum
Mitchell Museum of the American Indian and the South Side Community Art Center
National Hellenic Museum and the Indo-American Heritage Museum
DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, OPEN Center for the Arts, and Polish Museum of America
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and Dominican American Midwest Association
Intuit – The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and the National Cambodian Heritage Museum & American Indian Center
The Japanese American Service Committee, Japanese American Historical Society and Arab American Action Network
Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago, the Turkish American Society, and Trickster Art Gallery
Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
The Swedish American Museum and North Park University
The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago and University of Chicago Logan Center
The Hana Center & STOP – Southside Together Organizing for Power
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture and National Public Housing Museum
That Belongs in a Museum and Irish American Heritage Museum
MALA: the Muslim American Leadership Alliance
Programs in the neighborhoods range from a gallery talk with Puerto Rican and Ukrainian Artists talking about the shared language of abstraction in their art, to issue-based programs like one led by the Japanese American Service Committee, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society and Arab American Action Network, discussing the difficulties in keeping heritage alive in times of political and social distress and upheaval.