Meet Our Team

Melissa Cherry, VP for Cultural Tourism and Neighborhoods, Choose Chicago

Setting the Stage

There's nothing in life more universally treasured than art and culture. Lucky for us, we work for a city that's deeply rooted in a creative tradition. Choose Chicago's Melissa Cherry is responsible for pulling the curtain on our city's rich artistic pursuits and directing an award-winning show, starring Chicago.

Melissa begins her day early. Like first hour of the Today Show early. In her first 90 days with Choose, she'll do a comprehensive strength assessment of the city's assets. Chicago is one of the most culturally influential, architecturally marvelous cities in the world and, right now, Melissa is involved in a careful evaluation of its inventory.

Anchored in a rich musical history and realized by a thriving theater scene, Chicago has grown to become a popular cultural destination. Through retaining our city's and - by extension - the world's greatest artists, Chicago can become the cultural destination. That, in a nutshell, is her ultimate goal.

Pulling the Curtain

Now, it's close to noon. Melissa is laying the groundwork for a master cultural calendar. If she's going to market Chicago's artistic experience to visitors, she'll need a plan. Her blueprint is built on communal relationships, an inspirational marketing effort and coffee. Lots of coffee.

Simply put, Chicago has the opportunity to support tremendous growth in our cultural and artistic attractions. Sustainability and retention will require incredible cooperation, but the payoff both intrinsically and economically could be profound.

Starting the Show

Melissa's key goal is to position Chicago as a global cultural destination. In 2010, out-of-town arts attendees spent, on average, 2.5 times more per person than comparative locals. By leveraging the rich and diverse resources of our city's cultural organizations and neighborhoods, Chicago will bring more visitors to our creative spaces. And that's certainly worth a round of applause.

It's a little after 5:30 pm and Melissa is cleaning off her desk. She likes to start every morning anew, but her day's far from done. Tonight she'll be visiting an art gallery and tomorrow she'll be touring a music venue. She's ambitiously building on Chicago's ever growing cultural framework and we can't wait to start the show.

For more information on what Choose Chicago is doing to elevate the artistic and creative profile or our city, contact Melissa Cherry: mcherry@choosechicago.com.