If you have an opinion on the best arts and entertainment events in Elgin, what it takes to attend an event, or how you define art, now is the time to speak up.
The City of Elgin is conducting surveys of residents, artists, and local groups who support, create, or donate art, and is offering a $50 Amazon gift card drawing as an incentive. this year.
The responses provided in the seven-question survey, available in English and Spanish at www.cityofelgin.org/2514/Arts-Events-Strategic-Plan, “guided the city’s continued support of the arts,” and helped people “helps express opinions” and wishes the arts and events of the City of Elgin,” the document reads.
Among other things, survey respondents are asked to check their selections from a list that explores the type of events and venues (movies, museums, live theaters, art fairs, etc.) they have had in and around their city. Certain events — Elgin Summer Theater, Elgin Short Film Festival, 4th of July Celebration, Nightmare on Chicago Street, etc — they have attended and factors such as education, friendships, and cultural heritage participate How do you decide what to do?
“So far we have received 376 responses,” said Amanda Harris, director of culture, arts and special events. “The gift card helped motivate people to take part in the survey….The last day to complete her is January 22nd.”
The research is part of a four-step process led by consulting firm Create Today, which has been paid $75,000 for the work. Data collected from the “listening” and “learning” phases, which included focus group meetings in February and March, will be used when the plan is finalized and presented to Elgin City Council for review.
According to Harris, what we know so far based on workshops held last fall is that some residents don’t attend local events because they don’t have the time or they don’t know.
Two events are on the “must keep” list, according to workshop attendees: The Nightmare on Chicago Street and the Downtown Farmer’s Market. There will be more pride parades and live music, she said.
If all goes according to plan, a new blueprint for Elgin’s art and events will be approved and will be adopted by the end of the year, officials said.
Harris says the process is comprehensive and back to basics.
Elgin “has established itself as an arts city for quite some time, but no one really understands what that means,” she said. “Everyone has their own way of feeling about it.”
With a plan in place, city officials will be better able to make decisions about what events to offer in the future, Harris said.
Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.