On a cold night in the winter of 2012, the Economic Development Committee of the DeKalb County Board hosted a meeting, seeking input from the arts community on how to create an arts council.  The County had received feedback that the area needed to contemplate the artistic and cultural aspects of the community if it wanted to attract more businesses, and thereby higher paying jobs.  The data was clear: arts and culture were vital to DeKalb County’s economic development, but the “how” remained to be seen.

By the end of that meeting, the yet-to-be-named arts council had its two co-founders who decided that, should the council be and do everything they imagined, they’d work “behind the scenes” to lay the proper foundation in order for the Council to be successful.

In July of 2013, the DeKalb Area Arts Council was registered as a corporation with the State of Illinois.

By 2014, the newly named DeKalb Area Arts Council had a full board, and was ready to start considering the best way to begin serving our beloved community.  We met with the leadership of the Rockford Area Arts Council, and several arts leaders from right here in DeKalb and Sycamore, and started seeing the vision from 2012 come into focus.

In October of 2015, the DeKalb Area Arts Council filed the necessary paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

At the October 26, 2015 regular meeting of the City Council, Mayor John Rey proclaimed October as Illinois Arts and Humanities Month, presenting the proclamation to DAAC.

In November 2015, DAAC will host its inaugural arts summit, with the aim of gathering DeKalb’s artistic voices together to hear how best to serve the community; the first of what we hope becomes an annual tradition.

DAAC is proud to join in the efforts to enhance the quality of life in the greater DeKalb Area, and thanks everyone involved in helping to get started.

Our first initiative as a council was to establish an Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Corridor (ACE) along historic Lincoln Highway, an idea that was picked up by the remarkable America’s Best Communities Grant Committee for the city of DeKalb.  The planning for this initiative continues and should launch early 2016.

Other plans for 2016 include starting educational workshops, kicking off a monthly arts event, developing a public art program, and more.


Thank you to the DeKalb County Community Foundation who provided a grant to the DeKalb Area Arts Council to help with the initial filing fees to register as a non-profit in the State of Illinois and file for 501(c)(3) non-profit status.