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More Confusion in Chicago’s Newspapers

March 19, 2009

And not to be left out, the Chicago Tribune is also confused about the Art Institute and its Free Days.

Spurred on by public outcry over the Art Institute raising its fees, two Chicago Alderpeople, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Ald. Virginia Rugai (19th) are proposing cutting off some free city services as an act of revenge on the museum. Undoubtedly incurring these new costs will allow the museum to drop ticket prices, which is exactly the kind of backwards, nonsensical logic we expect from our Chicago politicians.

And of course in the midst of this nonsense, the facts are wrong. Tribune staffer Hal Dardick reports that according to park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, the Art Insitute has free admission:

“has year-round free admission on Thursday evenings and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day”

This is INCORRECT. There is no free admission on Tuesdays, it’s Friday and Thursday evening. Some simple fact checking would be nice to see from Chicago’s largest newspaper. From the Art Institute’s website:

Over 300,000 people visit the museum for free. There are many such opportunities:

  • One late evening per week (Thursdays after 5:00 p.m.) throughout the year
  • Two late evenings per week (Thursdays and Fridays after 5:00 p.m.) during the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
  • The entire month of February
  • The week of the opening of the Modern Wing, from May 16 to May 22, 2009

Absent in this fray is both the museum’s PR team and Trib art catchall, Alan Artner. It might be a good idea for especially the museum to start returning phone calls and being proactive, rather than just sitting there taking punches.

My opinion you ask? Well here:

Ironic isn’t it that a Chicago politician is soapboxing about a museum trying to stay afloat when the average Chicago citizen is far more affected by HIGH TAXES in their many chicago forms and are the HIGHEST IN THE NATION. The Tribune even has a countdown about that tax hike. And what about the CTA! How many of us use that every single day? And didn’t they just hike fares from 1.75 to 2.25? That’s almost a 30% increase!! What about Quinn’s income tax increase? And people listen to this guy when he’s upset about the museum?

People complain about the “millions they have in reserves” that’s called an endowment, and the money that that money makes, pays for the bulk of everything else. And with the economy in the toilet that money is less, so the museum has less money. If you spend that down it’s the final step to closing the doors for good. Is that simple enough for everyone?

If we want to talk about where the real fiscal hit is coming to Chicagoans, it’s taxes and it’s the CTA. It’s laughable that a politician blames a museum

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