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6 Arts Organizations Offering Fantastic Programs to Chicago Public Schools

Written by:
Keith Contorno
Nov 27, 2019

As jobs become increasingly automated, it is a skillset in creativity, storytelling, language, and big ideas that will separate job candidates. These types of skills are developed through arts and humanities. Unfortunately, schools are still necessarily dependent on outside organizations for support when it comes to arts education. It might be a surprise to some that it is these partnerships with arts organizations that provide in-school as well as after-school art programs for Chicago’s youth. Through the below partnerships, children’s eyes are opened. Kids are energized. Their minds are expanded. They’re taught possibilities. They’re exposed to arts.

1. Changing Worlds

Through their programs, kids can learn to dance. How about Latin, Brazillian, or African dance? Who wouldn’t want to know a Latin step? They can immerse themselves in theater and can aspire to be the next Jim Henson by storytelling through puppetry. They study and develop visual arts, as well as photography and filmmaking. The next Wes Anderson could be straight out of Chicago. They offer a myriad of disciplines for kids, all of them, to change worlds. 

2. Chicago Opera Theater

Opera For All! That’s the name of the Chicago Opera Theater’s program that services over 1,200 kids across Chicago. It is a remarkable opportunity to learn music and storytelling from nationally recognized opera company. The kids not only contribute to the tradition of opera, but they also get to participate in the entire creative process–writing, composing, dancing, painting, performing. 

3. 826CHI

Their project-based writing workshops provide opportunities for kids to create original stories and become published authors. 826CHI wants kids to find their voices. And what is more encouraging than when your voice is heard? The world needs original and diverse voices. More important than that, the world needs thinkers. And writing is thinking. 

4. Chicago Sinfonietta

The Chicago Sinfonietta has a mission to strengthen community by promoting equity and inclusion. They recently performed alongside a showing of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a film that was a haunting reminder that we are not living in a post-racial world. Eighty-six percent of the students that their Audience Matters program services are students of color who would not otherwise be exposed to musical education. 

5. Child’s Play Touring Theatre

Writing and reading play an unparalleled role in our lives. The Child’s Play Touring Theater is committed to demonstrating this important truth to Chicago’s youth while letting kids revel in the joy of performance.

6. IPaintMyMind

Making art accessible to everybody is a bold mission! IPaintMyMind has proven to be up to the task. They are a locus of affordable and emerging visual art, connecting Chicago Public School kids with their creative communities. Not only does IPaintMyMind immerse children into an artistic environment by installing galleries directly into schools, but they also leverage those galleries to introduce kids to the varying roles that visual arts play in their lives. Their enriching curriculum encourages creative development and a greater understanding of how their own sense of self and community is bolstered through visual art.

Written by:
Keith Contorno
Nov 27, 2019