Mayor, Mrs. Daley and the city honored for their support of arts programs since 1989

Hizzoner, Richard M. Daley, has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Leadership in the Arts by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. The prestigious honor was presented January 18 at the Mayors’ Arts Luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Daley was cited for his unwavering support for arts programs in Chicago since taking office in 1989. He was credited with saving and restoring our beautiful old public library and turning it into a cultural center, for “Cows on Parade,” and for the creation of Millennium Park.

Along with his wife, Maggie, the Mayor also was cited for the creation of “Gallery 37,” which has been recognized nationally as one the leading arts education programs in the country.

In addition to Mrs. Daley, the Mayor’s artistic comrade-in-arms and creative guru has been Lois Weisberg, the City’s outstanding commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

Using a combination of public and private funding, Daley and Weisberg engineered the restoration of Chicago’s Loop Theatre District as well as the construction of new theatre venues in the Downtown area, among them the Lookingglass Theatre at the Water Tower Pumping Station and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier.

Some of that private and public money is being used for an $8 million make-over of the Shubert Theatre at 22 W. Monroe. When it reopens in the fall, it will have an expanded lobby, larger washrooms, new seats, new paint and a new name: the LaSalle Bank Theatre in honor of the primary patron of the restoration.

Well, names come and names go. When the house opened in 1906 it was the Majestic Theatre and Office Building (the Majestic name still is carved in stone above the doorway). The house was purchased by the Shubert Organization in 1945 and sold in 1991 to the rival Nederlander theatre chain. They kept the Shubert name rather than pay $50,000 to change the marquee! Now LaSalle Bank will pick up the tab.

They ain’t afraid of the “V” word in Arlington Heights, where “The Vagina Monologues” was such a big hit last year that the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is bringing it back. The national hit by Eve Ensler ran for five months at the Metropolis Centre and is returning for five more, February 9-June 29.

Sometimes funny, sometimes philosophical and sometimes angry, “The Vagina Monologues” may not be a show for the whole family, but it’s definitely one men should see (although it might make you uncomfortable at moments) as well as women. The Metropolis Centre cast features Tanya Canaday, Robin M. Hughes, Lucinda Johnston and Melissa Fosse-Dunne. The director is Lauren Rawitz.