In this end-of-the-year newsletter, we celebrate the accomplishments of students in our Department of Arts Student Programs, all of the learning achieved by CPS Arts teachers and schools in Department of Arts Education led Professional Learning series and teacher-led learning communities, and a joyful combination of district-wide teacher and student good news in our Shout-Outs! section. There is a lot to proudly share with your students, families, and school communities.
(Image on Left: "9/37 PM", Thalia Witkovsky, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Grade 11)
We are thrilled to have partnered with Art on theMART to showcase a selected group of seven CPS high school seniors' artwork, with accompanying original music, on the facade of theMART as a part of Art on theMART’s new animated projection entitled "Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021”. The exhibition debuted on May 20th and is open to the public through June 26th. The program celebrates the students’ creativity on a large-scale canvas, and it is free and accessible to visitors. Visit artonthemart.com/CPS for more information, to get a sense of the incredible scale of the images, and to see these artworks come to life through motion graphics! The selected students are: Henry De Luca, Disney II Magnet High School; Emily Diaz, Instituto Health Science Career Academy; Jason Acevedo, Aspira Early College; Kendall Rasco, Little Black Pearl High School; Yoselin Mata, Schurz High School; Elijah Robertson, Morgan Park High School; and Victoria Mak, Ogden International School. Accompanying the projections will be individual musical pieces by: Sofia Marie Dimas, Sullivan High School; Logan Kane, Lane Tech High School; Jorge Huinac-Cruz, Young High School; and Daniela Lopez and Elijah Ruiz, both of ChiArts High School. This partnership is made possible through the support of Chicago Public Schools, the All-City Visual Arts Program, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with support from iHeartRadio.
All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions
We are proud to showcase over 1000 students from over 250 schools in the 2021 All-City Elementary and High School Visual Arts Exhibitions! The exhibition is a collaboration between the Department of Arts Education and Design Museum of Chicago and all the works in the exhibition were created by Chicago Public Schools students.
This year, we noticed a wide variety of self-portraits.
There were also artworks that used common household materials such as coffee, seen in this mixed media work, "Nine Views", by Lindblom art teacher, Jeni Crone's student, and cardboard, used in this sculptural model, "The Destroyed Room", by ChiArts student, Celia Hannan.
Students made artwork about the world around them, wrestling with real world issues like the pandemic, the elections, and protest and empowerment in the fight for Black Lives Matter, as well as depicting the interior of their homes or bedrooms, and their families, teachers, and nature. Join us in exploring the work of some of Chicago’s best young artists and designers! To view all the amazing artwork, please visit the All-City Visual Arts Exhibition website.
Thank you to the Design Museum of Chicago for their partnership in creating this inaugural virtual exhibition, and to all the students, parents, and teachers who participated.
Advanced Arts Program Spring Showcase
In preparation for every newsletter, we ask you, CPS Arts teachers, to share teaching practice tips, successful classroom projects, and other accomplishments achieved by you or your students so that we can share them in our "Shout Outs!" section.
For this issue, some of you described the problem-solving process of teaching the performing arts remotely and providing your students with rewarding opportunities to perform for their families and communities.
Mike Madonia who teaches Pre-K - 8 at DeWitt Clinton Elementary shared, "During remote learning it was difficult not to interact musically with the students [in person]. Computers lagging made it impossible to sing together. My kids love to sing in class and COVID took that away from us. But with the help of the parents at home, our 1st and 2nd graders were able to video record themselves singing a song that we learned remotely. We "used to" make a big deal about concerts for the families and the kids were so excited to perform for them. It was always a special day for the families and students. We tried to get as close to that as we could this year. Saying that I was filled with pride for my students would be an understatement. I always teach my students that "if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well" and they put their heart and souls into this project. Try not to smile when you see this video!"
Mather High School 9-12 Band/Choir teacher, Eriq Vazquez encourages us to "Keep persevering! I started doing virtual performance lessons with my students after school once a a week last Fall. Because the majority of the year was remote, we switched our curriculum to a more music appreciation based course, but students were still hungry to learn performance skills. Teaching musicianship remotely was challenging, but through a lot of trial and error, we found some success and the students grew as musicians. We recently transitioned into in person group instruction and after hearing them live, I know the remote instruction we started 6 months ago was worth it!"
Grace Jeong, Director of Choirs at Whitney Young Magnet High School (WYHS) had to transform a Whitney Young tradition. She explains, "It’s been a WYHS choral tradition each spring to have an alumni concert where current students and alumni join together on stage singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. This year, due to the pandemic, the choir family had to reunite virtually. Through weeks of zoom rehearsals, alumni from 2010-2020 from across the country and even the world, reunited through song to make this memorable video. Please enjoy this video presented by the WYHS choral department."
Congratulations to all who received grants and awards this year!
Erin Philyaw, Drama teacher at Von Steuben Metropolitan High School reports, "This year we received a grant funding 3 workshops with the organization, Broadway Weekends at School, that provide workshops led by performers who've worked on Broadway or Off-Broadway. We also received a matching grant for a 12 week workshop with Porchlight Musical Theatre for next year, to work with students to create our school musical focusing on student experiences during this past year.
Students in Cheryl Reynolds-Fefles art classes at Carl Schurz High School created Changemaker Awards for the "Students ReBuild Changemaker Challenge". A changemaker is an everyday hero - a teacher, neighbor, health care worker, family member or friend that rises up to help. Students created digital awards or used recyclable materials to create physical awards for the everyday heroes in their lives.
For every award received, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $10 to programs supporting changemakers in the U.S. and around the world. Forty-four works of art were submitted, for a total of $440.
M.K. Victorson, Pre-K-6 grade Dance teacher at Hibbard Elementary School, was awarded an Innovation Circle Grant from Fund for Teachers. M.K. will participate as a fellow in the Art and Design as a Lever for Equity circle, with teachers from around the country. With her award, M.K. is planning to attend Karida Griffith's acclaimed virtual teacher workshop, "Roots, Rhythm, Race and Dance."
We are impressed by the student projects you shared with us.
West Park STEAM Academy K-8 STEAM teacher, Wynter Rose says, "Our middle school STEAM program students used the design process to design houses, schools, and apartment buildings with green architecture elements. The students had a choice of sketching or using an app such as Google Sketch Up for their final project". Get inspired by the student work by clicking on the button below!
Frank Cademartori, CICS Irving Park Elementary School Music teacher relates that, "This past school year has really changed both what and how I taught. When we initially started remote leaning, middle school students had an opt-in class that was pretty sparsely attended. However, some students took it upon themselves to show up every day, some days, or even just once in a while. Our final project was open-ended with a loose rubric centered around creating “lo-fi beats” using BandLab with the intent of publishing them on Spotify. So, the 13 songs featured here are the result of dedicated and driven students who were committed to their music. For me, this really encapsulates why I teach".
Since 2011, Melinda Wilson, Dance teacher at Curie Metropolitan High School, has been leading Curie's Dance Department and students in working with "Her Story Theatre" creating original performance and video works to create awareness around human trafficking. Students created a performance awareness group called: Per4mers4change. With classrooms virtual for most of the year, and stages dark, Curie's Dance Department worked in conjunction with CNN's Freedom Project to create global awareness around human trafficking. On March 16, 2021 Curie's Dance Department went live with 35 Public Service Announcements on social media as well as being part of a student-driven event hosted by CNN.
Laurel Kulig and Darcy Zaretzky, CICS Northtown Academy teachers and leaders of the Latin Dance Club, report, "Northtown Academy Latin Dance had a wonderful year of learning new styles of movement, choreographing dances that could tell the story of the lyrics and music, and building relationships with one another". Please enjoy this group performance, Malamente.
Aoko Omwony-Hope, K-8 Visual Arts Teacher at Doolittle Elementary School wanted to recognize their 8th grade student, Quincy Onyiaorah who "has put her amazing talent at the service of our school, Doolittle, since she was in 7th grade. From drawing anime characters for coloring sheets for our primary and intermediate students or developing a video on her tablet for the Art Club, Quincy is on her way to an illustrious high school career in graphic design. Her passion for art is felt throughout the school; she is the go-to person for flyers, bulletin board decor and T-shirt designs. Most recently, she created a themed flyer for Doolittle's first, upcoming Art Fair, all while working remotely. Quincy is someone you should know".
Created with images by Nietjuh - "carnival color desktop background" • fancycrave1 - "people jumping happiness"