Because we believe art is intrinsic to the quality of life in our communities, the Oak Park Area Arts Council celebrates, supports and promotes artists and arts organizations in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. By raising funds for the arts, and advocating for policies that promote the arts, we enhance the social, economic, and cultural foundations of our communities.
In 1974, a group of local artists founded the Civic Arts Council of Oak Park—the first incarnation of the Oak Park Area Arts Council. The organization then gained nonprofit status in 1976 and began its regranting program utilizing funds from the Illinois Arts Council.
As the Civic Arts Council of Oak Park expanded, so did its service area. The organization began serving River Forest and Forest Park, changing its name to the Oak Park Area Arts Council to reflect this growth. OPAAC also moved into the Village Hall of Oak Park.
Currently, the Oak Park Area Arts Council offers a host of programs and services including the popular youth arts employment program Off the Wall, the Village of Oak Park’s Community Mini Mural program, OPAAC’s Fine Arts Scholarship program, and technical assistance workshops. The Oak Park Area Arts Council also coordinates public art for the Village of Oak Park. OPAAC’s regranting program, now named ArtsFunds, is one of the largest local arts council regranting programs in the state of Illinois.