The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Joan Small

Share on Social Media

Information about Joan Small

Profile image of Joan Small

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Government Official

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Bacon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Italy, France, Hawaii, New Buffalo, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
If You Don't Know What You Don't Know, You'll Never Be Able To Learn.

Birthplace

Born:
9/12/1941
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Government Official

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Bacon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Italy, France, Hawaii, New Buffalo, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
If You Don't Know What You Don't Know, You'll Never Be Able To Learn.

Birthplace

Born:
9/12/1941
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Joan Small is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Commissioner Joan F. Small was born on September 12, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for three years before transferring to Roosevelt University where she received her B.A. degree in psychology and social work in 1964.

Small was employed by the Cook County Department of Public Aid in 1964 as a caseworker where she worked in public housing at the Robert Taylor Homes. In 1969, Small became a member of the administrative staff of Metropolitan Family Services (originally the United Charities of Chicago). Small played a key role in the expansion and implementation of Metropolitan Family Services’ development program. She was hired by the City of Chicago in 1987 as the director of development for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. In that role, she organized and implemented various fund-raising campaigns. She also developed marketing strategies and established sponsorships with corporate partners and local cultural institutions and arts agencies. In 1988, Small was appointed as the First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Over the sixteen years she held that position, she managed the daily operations of the department. With a staff of 160 employees and an annual budget of $16.4 million, Small oversaw most program divisions and administrative activities, including grants, visual arts, performing arts, public art, cultural tourism, fundraising, the Chicago Sister Cities International Program and other international projects. Small developed and implemented programming, personnel procedures and oversight for the department’s seven non-profit entities. She also served as the department liaison to the mayor’s office for key governmental functions and legislative issues.

Small has been active in various local and national non-profit organizations. These include serving as a director of Americans for the Arts for twelve years and chair of the Leadership Advisory Committee of The Art Institute of Chicago. Small also served as a member for Know Your Chicago, the Chicago Chapter of The Links Inc, Chicago Chapter, National Smart Set, and The Friday Club. Previous board affiliations include the Alliance Franchise of Chicago; the Chicago Chapter of the National Conference of Community and Justice (formally National Conference of Christians and Jews); the women’s board of The Goodman Theatre; the International Visitors Center of Chicago; the Advisory Board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and the Women’s Board, Metropolitan Family Services.

Commissioner Joan F. Small was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 21, 2013.

See how Joan Small is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joan Small's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joan Small lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joan Small talks about her mother's personality and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joan Small describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joan Small describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joan Small talks about her maternal great-great-great-grandfather, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joan Small talks about her maternal great-great-great-grandfather, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joan Small describes her maternal aunts and uncles
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joan Small remembers her maternal great uncle
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joan Small describes her research into her maternal relatives in Canada
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joan Small talks about her father's early years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joan Small recalls her parents' bridge playing skills
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joan Small remembers her father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joan Small describes her early years in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joan Small talks about Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joan Small recalls running for Snowball Queen at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joan Small remembers facing discrimination at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joan Small describes her favorite teacher at Austin O. Sexton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joan Small talks about her experiences at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joan Small recalls her decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joan Small remembers transferring to Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joan Small describes her husband's career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joan Small talks about becoming a social worker at the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joan Small recalls the shortcomings of the Robert Taylor Homes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joan Small describes the political motivations behind Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joan Small talks about becoming an intake social worker for the United Charities of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joan Small recalls transitioning to development fundraising for the United Charities of Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joan Small remembers her challenges as a development fundraiser for the United Charities of Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joan Small describes her strategy for fundraising with the United Charities of Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joan Small talks about her volunteer work as a development consultant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joan Small recalls joining the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joan Small remembers the start of city government fundraising for arts programs in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joan Small describes Lois Weisberg's impact on arts and culture in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joan Small talks about her role as first deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joan Small describes the organizational focus of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joan Small talks about the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' budget
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joan Small recalls the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' relationship with the Chicago City Council
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joan Small remembers the staff at the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joan Small describes the history of Sister Cities International
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joan Small talks about the cities involved with Sister Cities International
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joan Small recalls her travels with Sister Cities International
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joan Small describes the Chicago CityArts program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joan Small remembers Black Creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Joan Small talks about her accomplishments at the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joan Small recalls retiring from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joan Small talks about her favorite programs led by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joan Small recalls the corporate sponsors of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joan Small remembers the successful organizations funded by the Chicago CityArts program
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joan Small reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joan Small shares her views of the current arts community in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joan Small talks about the naming of the Muriel Williams Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri