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From the Chair of the Board

As I reflect on my second year as Chair of the Board of Trustees, it is gratifying to note that strong alliances—financial, cultural, civic—are enabling us to bring contemporary art, and the conversations it initiates, to an ever-larger and more diverse audience. Contemporary art sounds a strong call to action. It is born out of our own dizzying times, and it is our particular responsibility to foster. Across the gamut of making, experiencing, and presenting works of contemporary art, each of us has a role to play. We can all be benefactors—and we will all benefit.

A long history of bold, even courageous decisions has made the MCA a strong, resourceful arts institution, which has made a positive difference for us in a challenging financial climate. The creativity and energy that characterize our exhibitions, performances, and education programs must also drive our efforts to build meaningful, ongoing support. Fortunately, this is happening on a broad and inspiring scale, as we added distinguished corporations, organizations, foundations, and individuals to our growing list of partners. We balanced our budget and closed the year with healthy finances.

The MCA has never been more visible. We raised significant funds through our annual fund campaign. Project support, particularly for the Universal Experience exhibition and the Paul Taylor Dance Company performances, was robust. Our membership in Chicago's Museums in the Park and a marked increase in attendance by Chicago residents attest to an enthusiastic appreciation of the MCA as a thriving center for contemporary culture. Clearly we are engaged and engaging.

Every day I feel the good fortune of the MCA's extraordinary Board of Trustees. It is a privilege to know and collaborate with each of the trustees, and I extend an enthusiastic welcome to our newest members: Jennifer Aubrey, Michael Canmann, Barbara Ruben, Cari Sacks, and Kai Sotorp. I want to thank in particular those who served as committee chairs: Steven Berkowitz, Stefan Edlis, Lois Eisen, Jack Guthman, Mary Ittelson, Sally Meyers Kovler, Ron Levin, Michael Markman, Martin Nesbitt, Terry Perucca, and Penny Pritzker. Each of these individuals brings not only critical knowledge and experience to our effort but also an agility of mind and a sincerity of dedication that serves the MCA extremely well.

Our passion for contemporary art is contagious. Just as support draws more support, the MCA's potential continues to grow with our accomplishments. We have not only the vision but the strategies necessary to keep the MCA at the center of contemporary art activity and discourse while broadening and diversifying our audience. We will continue to seek and secure new sources of support and higher levels of participation. I thank all of our donors, members, staff, trustees, and Pritzker Director Bob Fitzpatrick for their achievement of excellence in 2005. I could not be more excited for another artful year with all of you at the MCA.

Helen Zell,
Chair of the Board of Trustees