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Illinois State-Designated Cultural Districts

Governor Pritzker's administration on September 22, 2023, launched the application to apply to become a State-Designated Cultural District in Illinois. State-Designated Cultural Districts are communities, towns, or specific geographic areas that have a distinct shared historical and cultural identity that binds the community together.

The purpose of this program is to:

  • Promote distinct historical and cultural communities;
  • Encourage economic development and entrepreneurship;
  • Encourage the preservation and development of historic and culturally significant structures, traditions, and languages;
  • Foster local cultural development and education;
  • Provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening the unique cultural identity of communities; and
  • Promote growth and opportunity without generating displacement or expanding inequality.

Governor JB Pritzker and DCEO announced (10) designees on February 26, 2024. As outlined in statute, DCEO selected ten recipients (five for 2023 and five for 2024) and will be selecting an additional five recipients in 2025, with a focus on downstate and rural communities.

Recipients will be eligible to apply for $3 million in funding that will be tailored to fit the needs of individual Cultural Districts and support the goals of the program to foster economic development and help communities preserve their unique cultural identities. The state will launch the funding opportunity following the selection of the final five cultural districts.

State-Designated Cultural Districts for 2023 & 2024 are:

Designee Location/District Name
City of Champaign (2023) Champaign - North First Street Cultural District
City of Chicago (2023) Chicago - Bronzeville District
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (2023) Chicago - Chinatown 
DevCorp North dba Rogers Park Business Alliance (2024) Chicago - Clark Street/Camino Clark
Greater Chatham Initiative (2024) Chicago - Mahalia Jackson 79th Street Cultural District 
Little Village Community Foundation Corp (2024) Chicago - Little Village 
Puerto Rican Cultural Center (2023) Chicago - Puerto Rico Town
SkyART NFP (2024) Chicago - South Chicago Cultural District 
Springfield Urban League Inc. (2023) Springfield - Central East Cultural District
The Springfield Project (2024) Springfield - The Southtown Cultural District