From the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs web site -
Department of Cultural Affairs Overview
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs was established as a municipal department in 1984 to promote the arts, make them accessible to the widest possible audience, and market the city’s abundant and diverse cultural resources and attractions to a worldwide audience. Under the leadership of Commissioner Lois Weisberg since 1989, the department is now widely regarded as a national model for effective municipal support of the arts and culture.
By offering hundreds of high quality free exhibitions, performances and programs each year at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park and other venues throughout the city, DCA promotes the arts and makes them accessible to a remarkably wide and diverse audience. DCA visual and performing arts programs bring respected national and international artists to Chicago, presenting artistic and cultural experiences and ideas from around the world. In addition to the visual and performing arts, DCA offers culinary programs and, in 2006, added fashion events to its repertoire to reflect Chicago’s growing role in the fashion world.
The department supports artists, cultural institutions and community organizations through grants, workshops, the Chicago Artists’ Resource (CAR) website and by creating myriad opportunities to showcase their work. DCA markets Chicago as a destination for culture and entertainment through the Office of Tourism; develops global partnerships and encourages cross-cultural understanding through the Chicago Sister Cities International Program; and affirms the value of the arts to the social and economic fabric of the city.
The department consists of several divisions and venues, each charged with overseeing specific functions and programs that further the department’s mission.
More information here