Mayor Lightfoot has announced donations from Showtime to Greencorps Chicago, a green job training program, and the Chicago Public Art Group. The donation focuses on areas where The Chi is filmed.
Chicago’s mayor joined Puja Vohra, Showtime’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, and cast members from its Chicago-based show The Chi, as well as community leaders. Showtime announced a $500,000 donation from the TV network to the city’s Greencorps Chicago green job program and the Chicago Public Art Group.
The funds will be used to assist and invest in the South Side and West Side, which have served as major settings for the four seasons of the hit drama series.
Aside from that, the grant will pay for the cleaning and beautification of 32 vacant lots in Bronzeville and North Lawndale, as well as six accompanying art installations, as part of Mayor Lightfoot’s Invest South/West initiative, which aims to revitalize community areas in Chicago that have suffered from a legacy of underinvestment.
New employment opportunities for Chicago residents
Mayor Lightfoot made the announcement at a site on Ogden Avenue in North Lawndale that is being cleaned and greened. During the occasion, one of six new art installations made by artists Damon Lamar Reed, Dorian Sylvain, and Delilah Salgado was unveiled. The city-owned properties that are being transformed were chosen based on Showtime filming sites for The Chi. The funding will also cover the cost of maintaining the lots for a number of years.
“From vibrantly depicting our city’s neighborhoods on The Chi to now investing in our city’s sustainability, employment and art initiatives, Showtime has demonstrated its commitment to supporting and uplifting our residents,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
As a critical component of the mayor’s economic recovery strategy, the Chicago Film Office works to enhance the city’s TV and film sector. This leads to an increase in employment, which benefits Chicago. According to the mayor’s office, filming in 2019 resulted in $560 million economic impact; 51 percent of local crew recruits were women or minorities.