More Support for Chicago’s Music Community

On Behalf of Commissioner Mark Kelly

“Dear Friends,  

I’m writing today to announce that we’ve reopened the new Performing Arts Venue Relief Program for a second round of funding to support more Chicago venues. We understand the enormous economic impact the pandemic is having on our local creative community — including and especially our performing arts venues. This program will provide $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and non-profit venues impacted by COVID-19. This includes music venues, theaters, dance venues, comedy clubs, and nightclubs that feature DJs. The extended deadline to apply is Thursday, December 3, at 5 p.m. CST, and I hope we can count on you to spread the word. Details at

Please remember that the deadline for our 2021 Individual Artists Program grants is Tuesday, December 1, at 5 p.m. CST. These grants support individual artists across all disciplines including music. To download guidelines and apply, visit 

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we quickly pivoted our programming to produce 100+ free, virtual events this spring and summer (including 24 artist takeovers of the Mayor’s Instagram, Millennium Park at Home concerts, and a Virtual World Music Festival) – drawing a total online audience of 500,000 people. This was a learning experience for my team, but I’m proud to tell you that DCASE has booked more than 100 musicians and provided $3.4 million in financial relief specifically to Chicago musicians and music organizations – in partnership with the local philanthropic community including Arts for Illinois. 

This fall, we’re very excited to support the Chicago Independent Venue League and CIVLization — a virtual concert series kicking off Friday, November 27. (It’s a fundraiser for the new CIVL SAVE Emergency Relief Fund, powered by the Giving Back Fund.) Learn more at  

Looking forward to next year, Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE, along with members of the local music industry, will continue 2021 as the “Year of Chicago Music.” This citywide, year-long focus on music will lift up Chicago as a world music capital – launching our new brand for Chicago music and a marketing campaign, presenting free music programming citywide, providing financial grants to musicians, advocating for local venues and clubs, and supporting music education.  

We know you’re struggling, but we’ve got your back – and wish you and yours a safe holiday season. 


Mark Kelly
Commissioner Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events