Chicago: Weathering the arts storm

February 3, 2009
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I know I'm not alone among Indianapolis arts lover in taking occassional trips to Chicago for a change-of-venue cultural fix. So I like to keep an eye on the news up there.

Well, the Chicago Tribune recently reported on some of the things that Windy City arts organizations are doing to fight the economic challenges.

These include:

-The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago freezing hiring and going without a marketing director and other positions.

--The Art Institute of Chicago has lowered the temperature of galleries from 70 to 68 degrees to reduce heat costs.

--The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago will be allowing subscribers to pay by installments.

Sound moves?

If you're working with an Indianapolis-area arts organization, let us know something, large or small, that you are doing to trim costs or increase revenue.

And, if you are someone who takes advantage of Chicago offerings, have you cut back on trips this year?

Your thoughts?
  • I haven't cut back on trips to Chicago at all, but have looked for cheaper ways to get there---I've taken Megabus, and Amtrak as well, and both were very inexpensive, and certainly far cheaper than gas, tolls, and parking!
  • I am thinking of taking a trip to Chicago *instead* of New York this year. I've not made the trek and am interested in learning about the most economical ways to get there.
  • Barbara,

    Head to and check out fares there--the earlier you book, the cheaper. Then there's as well. I think my total round trip with Megabus was something like $35, and my train ticket was $38. That's much nicer for my wallet than driving, plus there's no wear and tear on my car, no headaches over bad drivers (or my own bad driving), etc etc. Best of luck planning your trip!
  • It also depends on where you are going in Chicago. If you are seeing something near the University of Chicago, for instance, parking is a lot easier (and cheaper) than going downtown.

    I've been happy with Megabus, but you have to remember that you have very few times to choose from.

    Let us know what you see.

  • I haven't heard anything particularly bad out of Chicago's cultural scene. The Lyric Opera just reported another balanced budget and strong financial position. The economy is taking its toll there, in terms of restaurant closings, extreme markdowns on retail products, and a sagging housing market, but the arts seem to be holding up ok comparatively.

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