Building on Chicago’s architectural heritage

Pro Bono Partners

Jones Day

Building on Chicago's architectural heritage

Chicago takes pride in its global reputation for architectural creativity and innovation. When Civic Consulting Alliance helped Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) release the City's first Cultural Plan in 2012, the Plan included a bold vision for a new, city-wide architectural celebration. Three years later, with the help of countless partners, the city enacted that vision through its first-ever Chicago Architectural Biennial (CAB). The 2015 event attracted more than 500,000 attendees and garnered positive accolades from around the world.

As the planning began for the 2017 Biennial, DCASE asked Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partner Jones Day to strengthen CAB's structure to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Working with CAB partners—One Chicago Fund, the Graham Foundation, Choose Chicago, and architects from across the city—the Civic Consulting/Jones Day team conducted extensive best-practice research on other large-scale arts and culture events and synthesized a variety of perspectives on CAB's mission and strategic priorities.

Based on its findings, the team made recommendations on CAB's structure, staffing and roles, along with a new strategic focus: innovation, creativity, and experimentation as a means for social transformation.

These recommendations will help CAB achieve success for the 2017 event and future biennials.

More information on the 2017 Biennial can be found here


Civic Consulting Alliance's work built on the solide foundation of the successful 2015 event and leaves us even more enthusiastic that the Biennial will be a cornerstone of the city's cultural landscape for years to come.

David McDermott

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events