City culture czar Michelle Boone says she's jumping to Navy Pier

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Michelle Boone - RICH HEIN / SUN-TIMES
  • Rich Hein / Sun-Times
  • Michelle Boone

Update: Navy Pier has posted an official announcement on its website, which you can read here.

After five years as head of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, commissioner Michelle Boone has resigned, effective July 15. According to a letter e-mailed today to "colleagues and friends," Boone will step into a new job as "chief program and civic engagement officer" at Navy Pier, Inc., the nonprofit organization that operates the Pier.


At no0n today, however, Navy Pier, Inc. sp0kesman Jon Kaplan said he could not yet confirm her appointment.

Also today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the appointment of Columbia College administrator Mark Kelly as Boone's replacement at DCASE. Kelly is currently Columbia's "vice president for student success." He's worked in various positions at the college for 30 years and founded its Wabash Arts Corridor initiative in the South Loop.

Since her appointment by Emanuel in 2011, Boone has presided over   cutbacks and consolidations at DCASE, as well as a much-publicized new cultural plan, the creation and first run of the Chicago Architectural Biennial, and other new or "revitalized" programs including the Fifth Star Awards and the Lake FX Summit and Expo. 

Boone also championed and supported the city's most blatant cultural-program failure, the Great Chicago Fire Festival, which famously fizzled in 2014.


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