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Mark Kelly served as commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special events for more than five years. Now that he’s no longer in office, “I get to be another citizen enjoying the glories of our city that have been put together by so many people,” he said.

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House music is returning to its neighborhood roots in 2021. (Courtesy of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

As part of the city’s reopening celebrations, a nine-part House City series is bringing free events to the Chicago neighborhoods where house music got its start. 

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A mural in Chicago’s South Loop. (WTTW News)

Arts 77, a new citywide arts recovery and reopening plan named with a nod to Chicago’s 77 community areas, will work to support local artists and organizations, a sector “decimated by the global pandemic,” according to an official.

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The Blue Angels are a fan favorite of Air and Water Show observers. (Courtesy of Blue Angels)

Will two massive summer events take place this year amid an accelerated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine — and the possible end to the pandemic? Or can Chicagoans expect another round of “re-imagined festivals” in 2021, with virtual concerts replacing in-person events?

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The Blue Angels are a fan favorite of Air and Water Show observers. (Courtesy of Blue Angels)

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated Chicago’s cultural landscape, and that pain is likely to continue into 2021, Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said during Thursday’s budget hearings.

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Ramsey Lewis (Courtesy City of Chicago, DCASE)

The Chicago Jazz Fest is expanding its scope and reach. We discuss what’s new – and what to expect this weekend – with Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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Taste of Chicago (Credit: City of Chicago, DCASE)

The city’s mega-food fest returns to Grant Park. We get a preview of the Taste of Chicago.

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The 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project aims to bring more public art to all of Chicago's neighborhoods, including murals like this one in Bronzeville. (Courtesy of the City of Chicago)

New murals, sculpture and other works of public art are coming to each of Chicago’s 50 wards as part of the city’s Year of Public Art initiative.

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An estimated 54.1 million visitors came to the city in 2016, getting totals closer to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of annually attracting 55 million out-of-towners to Chicago by 2020.

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Mark Kelly of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Free events like the Chicago Blues Festival are evolving. We speak with Chicago’s new commissioner of cultural affairs and special events about the future of city celebrations.