Michelle T. Boone is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), which presents and promotes high-quality free festivals, exhibitions, performances and holiday celebrations each year in parks, the historic Chicago Cultural Center, and other venues throughout the city. She was appointed to the post by Mayor Rahm Emanuel May 2011.
During her inaugural year as Commissioner, Michelle led the ambitious process for crafting a new Chicago Cultural Plan; it was released October 2012. The Plan includes over 240 initiatives to support 10 key priorities to guide Chicago’s cultural future. Michelle frequently does public speaking to share the Chicago Cultural Plan with municipalities across the globe.
Prior to her post as Commissioner, Michelle was the Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, and prior to that was the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning job-training in the arts program for Chicago youth. Her professional career began in entertainment working in television, film, and the recording industry, and later she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a master’s degree in Public Affairs (nonprofit management major) from Indiana University, Bloomington.