Lois Weisberg, American civil servant and socialite, Died at 90


Lois Weisberg was born on May 6, 1925, and died on January 13, 2016.

She was the first Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Chicago, from 1989 until January 2011.

Lois was appointed by Mayor Harold Washington to head the city’s Office of Event Planning in 1983.

Miss Lois Weisberg was responsible for the establishment of the Gallery 37 program, which gathered Chicago youths to a vacant block in downtown Chicago to make art; she also created the Taste of Chicago festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Gospel Festival, multiple citywide neighborhood festivals and the Chicago Holiday Sharing It Program.

Miss Weisberg launched Chicago’s Cows on Parade exhibit, the first in the US.

Earlier in her appointment to city government, she helped found the Chicago Cultural Center and Friends of the Park.

Lois was notable for the breadth of her acquaintanceship as well as for an ability to make keen and canny introductions, Weisberg was described as a “connector” by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in a January 11, 1999 New Yorker article titled “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg.”

The article was included in Ira Glass’ compilation The New Kings of Nonfiction.

Some portions of the article were also republished in Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point (2000).

Lois was bestowed with many civic and arts awards, including the League of Women Voters Civic Contribution Award, Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year Award, the Harold Washington History Maker Award, an honorary Doctorate from Chicago’s Spertus Institute and the Chicago Tribune “Chicagoan of the Year” award.

She had conceived four children, among them Slate magazine’s Jacob Weisberg and former CIA agent turned television writer-producer Joe Weisberg.

Weisberg received an inaugural Five Star Award from the City of Chicago, in 2014.

Lois Weisberg passed away at 90 yrs old.