Deepa Gupta

The annual Oak Park Area Arts Council meeting is tomorrow night at Pleasant Home, starting with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by presentation of the 2015 Arts Funds recipients and remarks by keynote speaker Deepa Gupta, director of education initiatives and strategy in the global corporate citizenship group at Boeing. Who knew that Boeing had a global corporate citizenship group?

Well, the arts may need all the corporate citizenship they can elicit because help from the state of Illinois seems to be in short supply. The Illinois Arts Council’s Shirley Madigan (yes, that Madigan), who chairs the IAC board, recently sent out an email notifying arts groups (including our own OPAAC) that 2015 arts grants were on hold, pending the budget battle between the governor and the legislature. 

That affects OPAAC’s annual program grant, which is used for general operating support, said Camille Wilson White, OPAAC’s executive director.

But Wilson White said the arts have been through scares like this before — in 1983 under Jim Thompson, 1993 under Jim Edgar, and 2003 under Rod Blagojevich. 

“But in each case the funding came through,” she said. “I’m optimistic it will this time, too — hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Meanwhile, Wilson White is optimistically continuing to work on their 2016 grant application.

If you want to get a sense of where the arts stand in the Oak Park area, head over to Pleasant Home (always a pleasant experience), 217 Home Ave., on March 19 for good food and creative camaraderie. For more information, call 708-358-5690 or visit

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