Chicago, Illinois, USA is home to nearly 3 million residents, making it the third largest city in the country. The 'Windy City', located adjacent to Lake Michigan, is also home to wonderful resources on Indonesian culture, history, and art. In particular, the Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia, Chicago and The Art Institute of Chicago offer visitors an excellent opportunity to learn more about Indonesian society, in the past and today.
ISFA members recently traveled to Chicago and visited these institutions. A quick summary of what they learned is offered here.
The Consulate General serves people over a wide area of the Midwest United States. Located in the state of Illinois and close to three others, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the Consulate is an important resource in the region.
In addition to administrative and travel services, the Consulate conducts numerous outreach activities, especially in the social, educational, and cultural arenas. The Consulate is a social anchor for the Indonesian community in and around Chicago. Frequent communications and publications from the Consulate keep people informed of events of interest all over the city. Many of the expert staff members at the Consulate interface with and lecture at area schools, colleges, and universities. In fact, this past winter, the Acting Consulate General himself, Mr. Stephanus M. Suwaryanto and his wife traveled to Ann Arbor to participate in the Indonesian Cultural night at the University of Michigan.
The Consulate has their very own Gamelan Orchestra as well. They have established classes in traditional music and dance from across Indonesia. Everyone involved in these cultural arts know Bapak Waleed well from his many years of promoting the traditional Indonesian arts and culture throughout the United States and abroad. Mr. Igusti Ngurah Kertayuda, Choreographer of Indonesian Traditional Cultural Dance & Music was particularly happy to hear from Bapak and enthusiastically replied that they are always interested in collaborating with him in the future. Mr. Ngurah was happy to showcase the Gamelan instruments and even play a little as well.
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago next to Milenium Park and Grant Park, the Art Institute Museum is a real treasure. Some ancient artifacts from Indonesia, and the rest of South East Asia, can be viewed in their main gallery. Other peices from their collection can be researched online.
Their mission states:
The purposes for which the Art Institute of Chicago is formed are: to found, build, maintain, and operate museums, schools, libraries of art, and theaters; to provide support facilities in connection therewith; to conduct appropriate activities conducive to the artistic development of the region; and to conduct and participate in appropriate activities of national and international significance;
And from their history:
The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879 as both a museum and school, first stood on the southwest corner of State and Monroe Streets. It opened on its present site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893. Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school's graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country. Within the next decade, a new complex will continue this process of growth.
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