CPS Department of Arts Education Winter Newsletter 2020

Artwork from the All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition at The Neiman Center (SAIC), January 7, 2020. TITLE ARTWORK: Sea of Words, Beata Semeniuk, Ogden International School. FROM TOP LEFT: Childhood, Allyson Zano, Von Steuben High School; Ceci with Dark Chocolate, Powdered Sugar, and Carmel, Cecilia Budzyn, Chicago High School for the Arts; tranquil path, Estefania Palma, Lake View High School; Greasing the Bearings, Charlie Voyda, Disney II Magnet HS; Raspberry Pi, Clare Haffner, Chicago High School for the Arts; Irradiate, Darryl Wedgeworth, Kenwood Academy; Self as William Still, DeAndrea Carr, Chicago High School for the Arts; American Halloween Costumes, Lila Nambo, Kenwood Academy. (Images of the artworks may be cropped from their original dimensions in this format.)

We Hear You!

This winter, we’ve had unique opportunities to hear feedback and get departmental input from our students, teachers, and the greater Chicago arts community through two developing initiatives we are excited to share with you—first, the revision of the Works of Art Policy and second, the first-ever CPS Arts Student Voice Committee.

Panel detail: Keith Haring: The Chicago Mural

The Works of Art Policy

Background: The Chicago Board of Education owns an extensive collection of artworks distributed throughout CPS elementary school, high school, and administrative facilities across the city. This collection is an integral part of our school environments and should be utilized in classroom instruction to support our goal to provide equitable access to high-quality arts education to every CPS student.

In January 2019, the CPS Department of Arts Education (DAE) made our first steps towards revising the Acquisition, Ownership, Conservation and Maintenance of the Chicago Public Schools’ Works of Art Policy (or the Works of Art Policy) by convening an internal CPS working group to discuss the collection. Since then, we’ve worked internally with multiple CPS departments to draft a new policy, and in December 2019, the draft policy was opened up for public comment.

In revising this policy, we hope to:

  • Squarely place equity at the center by including it in the purpose and weaving it throughout the policy through equity audits, the development of a steering committee to address artwork that may be objectionable, and more.
  • Update and broaden the definitions of types of artworks to be included in the collection.
  • Undertake an inventory and create policies to ensure the successful maintenance, documentation, expansion, and conservation of it the collection.

Next Steps: We have invited community engagement on the draft and are currently working to synthesize and incorporate what we’ve heard. Much of the feedback we’ve received will be utilized in the creation of implementation plans and guidance documents further on in this process.

We are so grateful for the generous spirit our communities have shown in offering their invaluable expertise and insights. Thank you to all! We will continue to reach out for feedback as the revision process continues.

Introducing the CPS Arts Student Voice Committee!

Our first-ever Arts Student Voice Committee is a diverse group of CPS high school students who work with the Department of Arts Education (DAE) team to discuss, create, and execute strategies for improving arts education in CPS. Led by Manager of Student Programs Melisa Rutkelis, these students have made the commitment to meet bi-weekly (after a full school day!) to discuss issues they are passionate about and create actionable strategies for addressing them. Committee members also spoke to over 200 arts teachers at our first Arts Intensive in August, and have even participated in DAE strategic planning meetings!

To support the DAE Strategic Plan, the students built several surveys to capture feedback and ideas about the DAE's districtwide student arts programming so that we can make impactful changes informed by students, teachers, and parents.

The committee would be grateful if you would take a moment to complete these quick surveys about our All-City Visual Arts program and our Advanced Arts program. Whether you've participated in these programs or not, we want to hear from you!

You can share these surveys with students, families, and others in your school community by sharing this newsletter! Thank you!

Student Voice Committee members from left to right: Fabrizio Coss, Daisy Salto, Skye Wang, Violet Barton, Joanna Soltys, Ethan Tam, and Tarik Brown. Not pictured: Fiona Fryman and Darwin Mizhquiri.

We are continually impressed by these students and their intelligence, candor, and heart. Thank you, students!

Student Opportunities

Orchestra students perform at the All-City Performing Arts Showcase, Spring 2018, Harris Theatre.

Applications for 2020 Spring All-City Performing Arts Ensembles Now Open!

This program—one of the oldest traditions in CPS, going into its 56th year—attracts elementary and high school students from all across the city. Students at all skill levels (beginning to advanced) are eligible to join music, theatre, and dance ensembles, which rehearse each Saturday at Jones College Prep High School under the guidance of expert CPS arts educators and teaching artists. The first rehearsal/placement is February 8th, 2020. Students (or parents/guardians of students) may apply to join these Spring ensembles:

  • Symphonic Band, Grades 4–12
  • Percussion Ensemble, Grades 4–12
  • Jazz Band, Grades 4–12
  • Music & Media Production Ensemble, Grades 6–12
  • Orchestra, Grades 6–12
  • Choir, Grades 3–12
  • Elementary Modern Rock Band, Grades 5–8
  • High School Modern Rock Band, Grades 9–12
  • Mariachi, Grades 5–12
  • Dance, Grades 6–12
  • Theatre, Grades 6–12

Questions? Email allcityarts@cps.edu or call (773) 553-2110.

Untitled (fuzzy wire and hot glue), Rebecca Beachy

OPENING SOON: Artwork submission to the 2020 All-City Elementary and High School Visual Arts Exhibitions!

These district-wide art exhibitions showcase 2D, 3D, and digital artwork by CPS high school and elementary school students in a gallery space in the Chicago Loop. All CPS students in grades PreK–12, including charter, contract, and options schools, are eligible to apply.

The submission window for both the Elementary and High School Exhibitions is March 1, 2020—April 1, 2020. Teachers and students can prepare to apply now by accessing resources and guidelines on our website:

Questions? Email allcityarts@cps.edu or call (773) 553-2110.

Johnny "JJ" Raguay performs at the Advanced Arts Winter Showcase, December 2019.

APPLICATION NOW OPEN for CPS High Schoolers to Join the Advanced Arts Program!

The CPS Advanced Arts Program (AAP) is a free early college and career arts program open to all CPS high school juniors and seniors. Students are offered double honors or Dual Credit courses in music, dance, theatre, and visual arts, which count towards their GPA. AAP courses are taught in a vibrant Chicago Loop location by pairs of CPS teachers and teaching artists who are experts in their disciplines.

AAP courses run Monday through Friday from 2:45-4:45pm in downtown Chicago. Transportation to and from the program is provided for free (via Ventra passes), along with free arts materials and daily lunches for students.

More information on the program can be found at advancedarts.cps.edu. To access the AAP application, click below:

Students perform at the 2017 CPS Mariachi Festival.

Mariachi Festival 2020

Registration for the 2020 Mariachi Festival is open until February 28, 2020! Teachers and students can participate in the Festival in one of three ways:

  • Schools with established mariachi programs may bring students to participate in adjudicated performances, instrument-specific clinics, and a culminating performance.
  • Schools with or without established mariachi programs that do not want to participate in adjudication may bring students to watch performances, participate in instrument-specific clinics, and participate in a culminating performance.
  • Educators and arts partners who would like to attend without an ensemble or group may participate in instrument-specific clinics, learn more about implementing mariachi in their school/organization, and participate in a culminating performance.

Teacher Opportunities

Educators in a session at the 2019 Arts Education Conference.

2020 ARTS EDUCATION CONFERENCE: Registration Now Open; Proposal Deadline Extended!

In support of the continued collaborative work between teachers and arts education partners, the CPS Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity are excited to present the 2020 Arts Education Conference: Amplifying Essential Voices. Attracting upwards of 500 arts teachers, arts partners, teaching artists, administrators, and other arts professionals from across the city and state each year, the Conference is an excellent opportunity for you to learn with—and from—your colleagues and community.

The Conference will be held on April 17, 2020 from 8:30am–3:30pm at Kennedy-King College. Click below for more details and to register:

Proposals are still being accepted for the Conference—the deadline has been extended until February 10, 2020. We seek session proposals from arts educators and administrators that prioritize the representation and amplification of essential voices, experiences, and perspectives in the arts. Click below to access the submission guidelines and to submit a proposal:

PAID OPPORTUNITIES with the CPS Department of Arts Education

The Department of Arts Education is looking to fill paid staff positions for our 2020 All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions. We seek knowledgeable arts teachers to help with curation, installation, artwork selection, exhibition administration, and more. Applications are open until February 28th, 2020. For more information and to apply, click below:

ARTS INTENSIVE #3: A Recap and a Thank You!

Over 250 attendees gathered under the Tiffany Dome in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Held on January 31st at the Cultural Center, Arts Intensive #3: Creating Student-Driven Formative Assessments drew our largest attendance to date! The session was led virtually by Professor Heidi L. Andrade from the University at Albany-SUNY, an expert in formative assessment and self-regulated learning. Arts teachers from across the district explored powerful, student-driven formative assessment techniques, including co-creation of assessment criteria, peer feedback, and self-assessment. They also saw examples of real-life classroom application from two New York City teachers, Ron Sopyla (Theatre) and Angela Fremont (Visual Arts).

Here's what participants had to say about the day:

[Heidi] Andrade's presentation was very informative and made me really reflect on my practice.
I struggle with assessment and this PD directly addressed my problems and offered informed, practical uses of the content for my classroom.
[My favorite part of the session] was chatting with my table about ways to realistically adopt strategies in real-life classrooms with real-life students.
I FINALLY understand the difference between summative and formative assessments!

Whether you attended or missed the session, all of the resources (including slide decks) are available for download here. You can also access them on our website along with all other resources from this year's Arts Intensives!

A special thank you to the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for generously providing our teachers a beautiful space to learn and connect with each other!

Shout Outs!

Congratulations, Students and Teachers!

2019 CPS Advanced Arts Winter Showcase

Congratulations to our talented Advanced Arts Program students who performed, created culinary masterpieces, and exhibited their artwork at the Advanced Arts Winter Showcase on December 12, 2019 at Gallery 37!

Students in Theatre Arts, Vocal Arts, Modern Dance, Ballet, and Hip Hop Ensembles perform at the 2019 Advanced Arts Winter Showcase.
2019 Winter Showcase artwork from AAP students in Drawing and Painting, Culinary Arts, Photography, Creative Arts Studio & Ceramics, and Animation & Sequential Arts.

WBEZ's StoryCorps Features Participants from Sullivan High School

We're pleased to share this special story featured on WBEZ's StoryCorps Chicago webpage about Sullivan High School Digital Media Arts teacher Samantha Spencer and her former student Fildaus Umutoniwase.

Samantha, Fildaus and Vivian at the StoryCorps booth in Chicago.
In 2017, Fildaus Umutoniwase moved from Uganda to Rogers Park. She wrote poetry for herself but talked to almost no one. At Sullivan High School, she met Samantha Spencer, a teacher who helps run the poetry club. At the StoryCorps booth, Fildaus — who is now a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — talked with her former teacher about the process of growing comfortable.

2020 All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition

Pictured from top left: members of the All-City Jazz Ensemble; installation views of the exhibition; Hug Me, Naida Hasanovic, Ogden International High School; Gold Within, Tarik Brown, Northside College Prep High School.

With gratitude we recognize our partner, the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and our dedicated CPS Arts teachers, who helped us celebrate the achievements of 267 Seniors from 35 High Schools at the 2020 All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition at the The LeRoy Neiman Center on January 7th. Each student accepted into this show receives the SAIC Competitive Excellence Award Scholarship. The crowd celebrated with good food, conversation, and music from the All-City Performing Arts Jazz Combo.

Chopin Elementary Student Art Show: What Wakes You Up?

Wake Up!, Amari, 6th grade

Sarah Larson's Chopin Elementary art students will be exhibiting their artwork in the Chopin Student Art Show, What Wakes You Up?, hosted by neighborhood business, Star Lounge Coffeeshop, 2521 W. Chicago. Opening reception Friday, February 21 at 4 pm.

More Shout-Outs!

Congratulations to Daniel S. Wentworth Elementary School Visual Arts teacher Krystal Grover-Webb, who has artwork featured at the Museum of Science and Industry's 2020 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition and the RESONANCE Exhibition at the South Side Community Art Center!

Amy Kintner of Keller Regional Gifted Center shared this good news with us: "Keller School was awarded a Creative Schools Fund Grant from Ingenuity, to partner with Urban Gateways. The program, entitled 'Crafting Our Story: The Art of Filmmaking,' provides students in grades 5 through 8 with the opportunity to learn and practice the art of film production as a means of self-expression and communication with their world." Well done, Amy!

Share Your Good News with Us!

Watch your inboxes in March for an email from cpsarts@cps.edu with the subject line, "Share Your Good News!" In it, we'll ask you to share information about the outstanding arts programming going on in your schools and communities!

NOTE: Email is The Department of Arts Education's primary line to you. It's how we share information about professional learning, student program opportunities, paid positions with the Department, and more. We know you get tons of emails every day—watch for the ones that come from us so you don't miss out!

Missed an email? Need more details about our programs and events? You can also visit our website at www.cpsarts.org for the latest news and information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


Photos by members of the CPS Comms team, DAE staff, and AAP staff. Shout Out image by Jason Leung - "untitled image"