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Joan Small

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.

Accession Number

A2013.217

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/21/2013

Last Name

Small

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Roosevelt University

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

First Name

Joan

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SMA04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

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.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/12/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bacon

Short Description

City government official Joan Small (1941 - ) served as the Director of Development for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and as First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Employment

City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

Metropolitan Family Services

Cook County Department of Public Aid

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Joan Small recalls joining the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
Joan Small recalls her travels with Sister Cities International
Transcript
And you left there, in what year?$$Oh, let's see. Charlie [Charles Feldstein] came into my office quietly and said, "Please, don't tell Jerry Erickson [A. Gerald Erickson]," that was the head of the agency at the time, "and John Purdy [John D. Purdy] that I'm going to do this" (coughs). He said, "But Joan Harris [Joan W. Harris]," who was Irving Harris' [Irving B. Harris] wife who was, had just been appointed commissioner of Department of Cultural Affairs [City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events] and she wanted a direct, she wanted to start a development office at city government which was unheard of. It took her months to get that position into government but he said, "I told her when she gets the position I have the perfect person." I looked at him, I said, "What would make you think I would want to do that?" And he said, "'Cause I know where your volunteer work has been done," and it was true. I had been doing a lot of volunteer work with [HistoryMaker] Margaret Burroughs at the DuSable Museum [DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, Illinois]. Part of my, and it was an outgrowth of social work, part of my belief was that I began to realize that the children I had seen at Robert Taylor [Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago, Illinois], children I had seen in Woodlawn [Chicago, Illinois] at United Charities [United Charities of Chicago; Metropolitan Family Services] and just through other contacts, we had nowhere to see ourselves reflected on the walls of museums and major institutions and iconic places and I thought that was sad that if kids would--could go to the Art Institute [Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois] all the time, they could on really rare occasions see a black face, but one of the reasons I thought Margaret had done such a good job in starting up DuSable Museum was that children could just flock there and see their culture and themselves and their images reflected and, of themselves, reflected on the walls of institutions and quite, frankly, it, an eight year old doesn't really know the difference between the sophistication of an Art Institute and the DuSable Museum, I mean, you can take them to the DuSable Museum and if it's, works for them. So that was where I was doing a lot of volunteer work for that reason and Charlie knew that. So his comment was, "I know of your interest in culture and I think you need to try and look at this." So I met with Joan and a couple of months later went to work, or maybe three months later, went to work for her and she did get through a development office position and within a year or a year and a half, or less, I, she pr- she promoted me to first deputy commissioner.$$Who was the mayor at that time?$$When I first started looking at the position, Harold Washington was the mayor. And then, by the time, and it took a long time for her, I shouldn't say three months, it must have taken several months for her to get that through the budget process, by the time I took the job, and it was approved, I guess the position was approved in the fall but they wouldn't let her fill it, and then he died, and then there was a change, so it was Gene Sawyer [HistoryMaker Eugene Sawyer] to answer your question, but there were a number of things that happened in that process. So Gene Sawyer was there and then after that it was Rich Daley [Richard M. Daley].$How many of the cities did you actually get to go to?$$You know, she had a very, very hard fast rule and so did the mayor [Richard M. Daley] and so did I that we, the easiest thing to come, for sister cities' downfall is to, that it begins to look like a boondoggle. So we didn't go to that many cities. It was only after, maybe six, seven years that, oh, I know the North African city was Morocco, just (laughter), in Casablanca, I mean, Casablanca in Morocco. He would not go until five or six years, he would say, "Nope, nope" because taxpayers start talking about it as a boondoggle, the press picks it up and, you know, they're quick to jump on anything and should. I'm not saying they shouldn't, but they should. So we finally convinced him, one of the rules of the sis- International Sister Cities program is that you have to have a signing, a formal signing of the mayor, with the mayor of each city in each city. So when he signed the one for Lucerne [Switzerland], he had to, you know, the mayor of Lucerne, for example, would come to Chicago [Illinois] and he signed an agreement here. It isn't fully established until Chicago's mayor goes to Lucerne. So whenever he would find himself for some other reason in another part of the world, he would, we managed to convince him to go by and formalize this agreement. Eventually he began, as the business contacts for Chicagoans began to increase, he began to say, "Okay, I can justify this." It isn't that he didn't see the value in it, he had to justify the value because, and you never could justify the value of Lois [Lois Weisberg] and I traveling that much, so she never went. I think she may have gone on one sister cities trip. I went with Mrs. Daley [Maggie Daley] to Prague [Czech Republic]. I went to, where else did I go? I went to Durban [South Africa] but that was not because of, I mean it was because of sister cities but it wasn't on a sister cities trip, it was because they wanted me to come and give a paper in Johannesburg [South Africa], Durban and Cape Town [South Africa] on cultural tourism at their request right after Mandela's [Nelson Mandela] administration took hold. I had to go over an expert, as an expert and do that which was wonderful. I went to, where else did I go? I went to, didn't go to Asia. I can't remember, maybe three, four, oh, Milan [Italy]. I went to Milan.$$How did you track the business flow in terms of what benefits Chicago or the sister city got out of the relationship?$$Import, export through the staff. Our sister cities staff did it and the committees and the volunteers. If you're a businessman who wants to do business in, and our two Chinese sister cities were Shanghai [China] and Shenyang [China], and let's say you had something you wanted to do import, ex- import or export to or from Shanghai then you got involved on that committee and we knew that. I mean, it wasn't a negative, it was, you had to have access and you monitored it. You made sure it wasn't abused but you, we could, we could track it because we knew who was involved and then we could track how many exports were done. We could track how many new businesses were set up. We could track how many new businesses would fail.

Michelle Boone

City administrator Michelle T. Boone was born in Chicago, Illinois. She later moved with her family to Gary, Indiana where she was raised and attended school. Boone graduated from high school in Gary and then enrolled in Indiana University at Bloomington and went on to receive her B.A. degree in telecommunications in 1983. Later, in 1998, she earned her M.P.A. degree in nonprofit management from the Indiana University at Bloomington.

Boone began her professional career in 1983 as a television engineer working for Chicago network affiliates such as WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, and WBBM-TV. During her tenure at WLS-TV, Boone worked with the team that launched The Oprah Winfrey Show (formerly AM-Chicago). Boone continued to work as a freelance television engineer. In 1990, she was brought on as the Midwest Regional Promotions Manager with Virgin Records after several other stints in the record industry with Capitol Records, CEMA Distribution, and Orpheus Records. While there, she was responsible for promoting popular R&B recording artists, including Paula Abdul, Lenny Kravitz, After 7 (Virgin Records), M.C. Hammer, Freddie Jackson, Dianne Reeves and many others.

In 1994, Boone served as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Chad, Africa where she worked to install pumps and wells in small villages throughout the Southern region of the country. In 1998, after completing her M.P.A. degree, Boone joined the City of Chicago’s youth job training program, Gallery 37, and was ultimately promoted as director of the program. In 2003, she became the senior program officer of Arts and Culture at The Joyce Foundation and was responsible for managing an annual $2 million arts portfolio for arts and culture initiatives. She also managed the innovative Joyce Awards program that supports the development of minority artists. In addition to her duties at The Joyce Foundation, she also served as an adjunct professor at De Paul University in 2007. In 2011, Boone was appointed Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Boone has served on the national boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for Arts. She was appointed as a member of the board of directors of the Arts Alliance Illinois, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace. In addition, Boone served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Ramuson Foundation, and the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Program in Ohio. In 2010, she was awarded the Actors Equity Association Spirit Award; and, in 2011, she received the August Wilson Award from the Goodman Theatre.

Michelle T. Boone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.219

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2013

Last Name

Boone

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Schools

Indiana University

First Name

Michelle

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BOO03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Marrakesh, Morroco

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/17/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

City commissioner Michelle Boone (1961 - ) was the former senior program officer of Arts and Culture for The Joyce Foundation, and served as Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Employment

WBBM TV

WLS TV

Virgin Records

Peace Corps

Gallery 37

Joyce Foundation

DePaul University

City of Chicago

WMAQ TV

Favorite Color

Black