SPRINGFIELD – To help strengthen the creative arts economy in Illinois, State Senator Dave Koehler passed an initiative to form a Creative Economy Task Force to help the state attract and retain diverse businesses and talent.

“Creative businesses employ thousands of Illinoisans from all backgrounds,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “In today’s digital era, creative arts are a driving force for our economy. This legislation keeps us ahead of the curve and will promote job opportunities for those seeking new ventures.”

The arts and culture sector generates $31.1 billion in economic impact and employs over 190,000 workers in Illinois, making it the fifth largest state for arts and culture employment. Illinois arts deliver over $478 million in state and local government revenue each year.

House Bill 4959 would form a Creative Economy Task Force within the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to draft a plan on how to further develop the state’s creative economy. Under the measure, the task force would gather data on how to help attract new creative businesses and employment opportunities to Illinois, address inequities in historically marginalized and disinvested creative communities, and produce marketable content for national and international markets. The task force would consist of 16 members and present a final plan to the General Assembly by July 1, 2026.

“This legislation would create a more cohesive plan on how we can promote this industry that generates significant revenue for our state,” said Koehler. “This task force will provide a pathway for our state to reach economic, social justice and business development goals, as well as provide artists more opportunities for their work to be displayed in our communities.”

House Bill 4959 passed the Senate State Government Committee on Wednesday and heads to the full Senate for further consideration.