Department of Arts Education SPRING NEWSLETTER

Title Image: Nest (detail), Thalia Agosto, 12th grade, Chicago High School for the Arts

Spring Into Opportunities!

By Melisa Rutkelis, Arts Education Specialist

The Department of Arts Education is excited to grow the success of CPS students through our free, district-wide student arts programs! We strive to engage more students in the arts in multiple ways:

Last year we had over 1500 student submissions to the inaugural All-City Elementary Visual Art Exhibition, 16 new schools were added to our All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition, and we are currently at full capacity in our Jazz and Dance All-City Performing Arts Ensembles for the first time in years. We hope you join in and engage your students in these free opportunities to expand their CPS arts experiences! Currently, you can visit the All-City High School Visual Arts Exhibition, now open at Expo 72 (72 E Randolph Street). Through April 20th, stop by the gallery to view outstanding works of art from over 600 CPS high school students from across the district!

Read on for upcoming deadlines and events, and to learn about what your fellow teachers and students are doing in the Shout Outs section!

Spotlight on Advanced Arts at Gallery 37

By Pam Glynn, Principal of Advanced Arts Program

WHAT?! You’ve never heard of the CPS Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37?

The CPS Advanced Arts Program (AAP) at Gallery 37 is nearing its 20th anniversary in the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts building at 66 E. Randolph. Our mission is to identify young artists in 11th and 12th grade from across CPS high schools and to encourage and nurture them in visual, digital, performing, and culinary arts. We partner with our city’s leading museums and cultural institutions such as the Lyric Opera, Chicago Shakespeare, and Hubbard Street Dance to provide our students with master classes and unique experiences in the arts. Our students come from CPS schools near and far—from neighborhood schools to selective enrollment schools. We are committed to equity and try to remove barriers by providing all materials and free bus fare to and from Gallery 37. We build an enriched community across culture, race and gender. We take special care to ensure that our students are “seen” in their work, artistic expression, and as human beings.

A typical day at AAP might start with culinary students serving up hot cocoa to all on a frigid Chicago afternoon or cupcakes on Valentine’s Day, followed by a rigorous two-hour session taught by two instructors in dance, vocal arts, jazz, theater, photography, animation and sequential arts, video, drawing and painting, or mixed media/ceramics. Students’ passion, hard work and dedication pays off. They are accepted to the most prestigious art schools and conservatories across the county – Julliard, Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Parsons, Pratt, California Institute of the Arts, RISD, University of Michigan, U of I, and the School of the Art Institute Chicago (to name a few!). They also secure scholarships (many receive full rides) and have been finalists and semi-finalists in numerous competitions such as YoungArts, IHSA, Shakespeare Slam, CCap, and the August Wilson Monologue Competition. For seven consecutive years, one of our students has received a full scholarship to the School of the Art Institute Chicago valued at $189,000!

We look for students with a keen interest in the arts who are committed to 10 hours of arts instruction weekly (Mon-Fri) in a community of like-minded artistic people. We are taking applications now for SY 2019-2020 at advancedarts.cps.edu and conducting interviews, auditions, and portfolio reviews. Most of our courses are dual credit. Additionally, we are available for presentations at school sites and for information sessions with students and key stakeholders.

We hope to see your students at AAP very soon! Follow us on social media:

Watch what our students and teachers say about AAP:

Upcoming Department of Arts Education Public Events

Invite your students and families to our upcoming events!

  • All City Elementary Visual Art Exhibition Opening Reception | May 1, 2019 | Expo 72: 72 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL | Time: 4:30pm-7:30pm | The exhibition runs through May 12.
  • Pictures From an Exhibition CSO/DAE Collaborative PreK-12 Visual Arts Exhibition | May 16-21, 2019 | Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
  • All-City Performing Arts Spring Showcase | May 19, 2019 | Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL (time is TBD)
  • Advanced Arts Spring Showcase | May 22-23, 2019 | Gallery 37, 66 East Randolph St, Chicago, IL | Times: May 22: Performing Arts, 3pm and 6pm. May 23: Visual Arts and Culinary Arts, 4:30pm-7:00pm

Mariachi Festival Registration has been extended to May 1, 2019!

The 2019 Mariachi Festival is accessible to schools and directors with and without established mariachi programs, as well as arts partners. The festival provides an opportunity for students to receive feedback, clinic time, and onstage performance time, and for directors/arts partners to participate in clinics and professional learning about creating mariachi programs. Large ensembles, small groups, and solo performers can participate in adjudication, sectionals, and a culminating performance involving all participants in the festival. The festival takes place on June 1, 2019 at Gary Elementary School.

Arts Professional Learning

Mastering the Standards Series: A Recap

Photo by David Saradin

We wrapped up this year’s Department-led, district-wide Mastering the Standards series on February 1 with a full day on Aligning Assessment at the Chicago Cultural Center.

After listening to CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson speak about the importance of arts education in the district, participants engaged in hands-on lessons and activities, experiencing quality arts assessment in action. Later in the day, they engaged in lively discussions around arts-related data from the University of Chicago’s Hidden Risk report. Here’s what some teachers had to say about the event:

I loved the lesson that we did. It was great to put ourselves in our students' shoes and to actually participate. The assessment discussions were also very insightful and helpful.
Arts Instruction Specialist Brian Mead (center) leads a Visual Arts breakout at Mastering the Standards #3: Aligning Assessment. Photo by David Saradin
[The session] was very helpful & relevant for arts teachers—something that is not often the case for PD workshops.
I appreciate the deep dive on assessment development in the arts and I was inspired by sharing ideas with other arts educators.

Access all materials and resources from SY18-19 Mastering the Standards sessions by visiting cpsarts.org/teachers/professional-learning/mastering-the-standards/. Or browse our Standards Toolkit at cpsarts.org/teachers/arts-instructional-resources/standards-toolkit/.

Upcoming Teacher-to-Teacher Learning!

The Department of Arts Education has developed a number of teacher-led professional learning opportunities this year, so that CPS arts teachers across the district can learn with and from one another. Our second round of Lesson Feedback Sessions are just around the corner—register now!

Eager to give and receive feedback on your arts lessons or units? Arts Instruction Specialists host and facilitate these sessions, at which each participant has a chance to share an arts lesson/unit, ask questions about areas of concern or challenge, and receive constructive feedback from peers, Specialists, and DAE staff.

Our Spring Lesson Feedback Sessions in Visual Arts, Dance, Media Arts, Music, and Theatre will take place May 9th, 2019 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the CPS Garfield Park Office, 2651 W. Washington Blvd. Parking is free and refreshments will be provided.

Upcoming Ingenuity Professional Learning

Chicago’s single hub for data, strategy, advocacy and partnerships related to arts education

Shelter From the Storm: Recognizing, Understanding and Defining Trauma Understand the different ways the experience of traumatic and/or stressful events plays out in the classroom. Thursday, April 25, 2019, 4:30-7:30PM | Charles A. Hayes Center, 4859 S. Wabash Avenue

"Clap Once If You Can Hear Me": Setting Expectations and Creating Boundaries Learn to set clear expectations, mutually-understood boundaries, and create a safe classroom space for exploring artistic practice. Thursday, May 2, 2019, 4:30-7:30PM | Charles A. Hayes Center, 4859 S. Wabash Avenue

Stages of Creativity: Child Development and the Arts Learn about arts-discipline-specific pedagogical approaches and practices for children at every phase of development and degree of agency. Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 4:30-7:30PM | Chicago Children's Theatre, 100 S. Racine Avenue

Celebrating our Teachers and Students!


For their semester final, Sarah Heston's senior dance class at Acero Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz created a modern dance piece called "Scorched Earth." They told a story of how war impacts individuals, communities and the environment. They presented their work at Stage 773 on January 22, and the final piece was submitted and accepted to the Trifecta Student Showcase!

Vicki Hayes' students at McDowell Elementary, Jordyn Davis and Heterah Chamas, won the @FreshFilmsDT #MilkIt Video Competition! As part of the prize, Ms. Hayes was nominated to receive a $500 educator grant. Watch their winning video and check out the other entries on the Milk It! YouTube page.

Mather High School students and alumni donated artwork to become part of a permanent Mather Legacy Art Collection. Facilitated by their teacher, Jenny Brown, Mather students were invited to create art, frame, curate, and install the artwork. Art projects were created in the classroom; and after school Mather Art Club students framed and installed the art. The funding for this project was provided by a "SPARK" Friends of Mather alumni grant and money allotted by principal Peter J. Auffant.

From left to right: Mather High School's Legacy Art Collection; students prepping artwork for framing; another view of the collection from the hallway.

Dance teacher Lola Schaefer of Kenwood Academy High School shared the news that Diva Hunt, a member of student dance company Kenwood Dance Project, had her choreography "Run" selected to be performed in a showcase at the Regional High School Dance Festival hosted at University of Wisconsin Madison on March 16th! Congratulations, Diva and Ms. Schaefer!

Kenwood Dance Project students (photo by Michelle Reid)

Elizabeth Vivion of Lewis School of Excellence shares, "This is the second year of our Performing Arts program and so many amazing things have already happened! Through Donor's Choose I was gifted a platform stage and risers in 2017 and this year, also through through Donor's Choose, our classroom was gifted 5 iPad Minis. Our students have began working on stop-motion animation and creating movie trailers. The enthusiasm for this creative discipline has been huge and I am so excited to see where Lewis School of Excellence goes with their arts programs in the years to come!"

4th grade teams at Lewis School of Excellence researching how to use the technology (L); creating their first movie frame together (right)

Rachel Lechocki, art teacher at Acero Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz wanted to call out two of her students, Myra Luna and Michelle Torres, who continue to impress her with their "...innovation and dedication to their craft, among their other classes and jobs. These young ladies show the power of expression through art and demonstrate the strong presence of quality female, contemporary artists. Their work is consistently getting better and so is their use of techniques, such as various types of painting, using recycled material, and exploring palette knives."

Artwork by Ms. Lechocki's students at Acero-Cruz. Top and bottom left: "People on Cardboard Series," 2019, Myra Luna (Grade 10), acrylic and ink on cardboard. Right: "Portrait," 2019, Michelle Torres (Grade 11). Using the grid method very carefully, Michelle took a pre-printed image and recreated it in pencil and charcoals.

This year a group of Lexi Coffee's George Westinghouse College Prep students opened a student-run art gallery! The gallery shows a variety of exhibits all curated and installed by the students. The gallery is called the House of Green and Gold—a name chosen by the school community at the end of 2017-18 school year. It has been a great success and they are about to mount the 5th exhibit of their inaugural year.

Left to right: Westinghouse students who run the House of Green and Gold gallery with Ms. Coffee; the fall ribbon-cutting ceremony; the inaugural opening exhibit of faculty and staff artwork.

The students at Ruben Salazar Elementary put on a Black History Program on February 27th and 28th which included an original play created by 4th-8th grade students collaboratively taught by their music teacher, Mr. Prizy, and teacher's aide Ms. Regus. The teachers facilitated learning and skill-building of the students' devised play and also taught them the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. The school community was excited to see the outcome of all the students' hard work and dedication!

Krystal Grover-Webb, a visual arts teacher and Arts Liaison at Daniel S. Wentworth Elementary, was selected to display her artwork at the Museum of Science and Industry's 2019 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition (January 14 - February 24). Ms. Webb's students had an opportunity to see her featured art and analyzed the connections between the field trip and museum, classroom learning, and real-life experiences. In November of 2018, Grover-Webb was among 10 recipients to receive the 3Arts Make A Wave grant. Ms. Webb uses her art accomplishments as a part of her instructional practice.

Left to right: Krystal Grover-Webb with Wentworth students Duane Terry (8th grade), Antwanae Meeks (8th grade) , and Tashonne Posey (7th grade) at the Museum of Science and Industry; Grover-Webb's collage, "Flourishing Imagination".
Clockwise from left: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.; the Curie Metropolitan High School organization Per4mers4Change logo; US Varkey Teacher Ambassadors (Curie HS dance teacher Melinda Wilson is second from left).

Melinda Wilson of Curie Metropolitan High School for the Performing & Technical Arts had the opportunity to represent Chicago Public Schools at two National Conferences in March! First, she attended the National Summit on School Safety in Birmingham, Alabama, founded by U.S. Varkey Teacher Ambassadors (USVTAs) and other teacher leaders from throughout the United States, where K-12 educators shared their voices, needs and ideas in order to develop proactive solutions to prevent and address school shootings. Then she and some of her Curie dance students (members of her students-rights advocacy group Per4mers for Change) attended the National Arts Action Summit in Washington, DC, a multi-day event bringing together arts advocates from across the country. Together, they had the opportunity to learn the latest research and legislative arts priorities from experts in a full day of training sessions, attend the Nancy Hanks Lecture on the Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and join Arts Alliance Illinois on Capitol Hill for meetings with Illinois Congressional leaders and staff to advocate for the arts.

From all of us at the Department of Arts Education: Have a wonderful, relaxing, and creative Spring Break!

"Exchanging Worlds" by Gisselle Ramos, Amundsen High School (Grade 12). This piece is part of the 2019 All-City High School Visual Arts Exhibition, now open until April 20th at Expo 72 (72 E Randolph), 10am-6pm on Mon-Fri and 11am-4pm on Sat-Sun. Over 600 CPS student artworks are on display!


Created with an image by Anthony DELANOIX - "party fans raised their hands"Photos and graphics from Department of Arts staff, AAP staff, and CPS Comms Department.

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