Lois Weisberg (born 1925) was the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, Illinois from 1989 until January 2011. She founded the Chicago Cultural Center and Friends of the Park, and was responsible for the establishment of the renowned Gallery 37 program, which gathered Chicago youths to a vacant block in downtown Chicago to make art; she also created the Taste of Chicago festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Gospel Festival, citywide neighborhood festivals, and the Chicago Holiday Sharing It Program. She launched Chicago's Cows on Parade exhibit, the first in the US.
Renowned for the breadth of her acquaintanceship as well as for an ability to make keen and canny introductions, Weisberg was described as a "connector" by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in a January 11, 1999 New Yorker article titled "Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg." The article is included in Ira Glass' compilation The New Kings of Nonfiction. Portions of the article were republished in Gladwell's book The Tipping Point (2000).
She has won many civic and arts awards, including the League of Women Voters Civic Contribution Award, Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year Award, the Harold Washington History Maker Award, an honorary Doctorate from Chicago's Spertus Institute, and the Chicago Tribune “Chicagoan of the Year” award.
The recipient of many honors during her tenure, Weisberg will receive an inaugural Five Star Award from the City of Chicago.
Despite her long history of fundraising, in a 2009 interview with Chicago Life Magazine, she reported not always enjoying the process, stating "Even since I first started with the Shaw celebration in 1956, I’ve never really liked asking people for money. I don’t mind asking people for money for something I’m not involved with, and I bet a lot of people feel that way."
- Kogan, Rick. City's culture guru leaving amid rift with Daley, Chicago Tribune, 19 January 2011, accessed 1 January 2014.
- Curry, Jessica.(9 December 2009)."Stone Soup", Chicago Life. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
Lois resigns: http://www.suntimes.com/business/3393531-418/story.html
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