June 28, 2023
Community Space attendees connecting with each other. Photo by Zoha Hussnain
On June 1, we gathered with Chicago area community arts educators at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) to hear their perspectives on the present and future of community arts education, and what kinds of support they need.
As we did at our previous Community Space gatherings in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Memphis, we asked attendees a series of questions about what community arts education looks like in Chicago, what challenges they are facing in their work, what kinds of programs and resources would be most beneficial to them as individuals and to their organizations, and what inspires them.
We were delighted to be joined by Miss Illinois International, Mandy Marsh, whose platform is arts education for children!
Guild Executive Director Quanice G. Floyd and Miss Illinois International Mandy Marsh. Photo by Zoha Hussnain
Participants shared that the Chicago community arts education field is vibrant and collaborative, but access to creative learning opportunities is not yet equitable across different areas of the city. People expressed a need for more resources (funding, meeting space, technology, etc.) for community arts education; increased compensation, decision making power, and professional development opportunities for teaching artists; more programming for adults; and more funding and opportunities to teach indigenous art forms and values. Some shared that it can be challenging to provide a supportive creative environment when many of their program participants are dealing with economic challenges and violence in their communities.
Flipchart papers full of attendees’ answers to the prompts (left), and Aurora reading the answers aloud while Guild Deputy Director Ashley Hare holds a flipchart paper up (right). Photo by Zoha Hussnain
When asked what would be helpful and supportive in their work, participants mentioned that the Guild could set a bar for equity in the field; support national accountability around teaching artist pay (the Teaching Artist Guild’s Pay Rate Calculator was mentioned as a valuable resource); and provide networking, and professional development, and leadership opportunities.
Community Space attendees participating in discussion. Photo by Zoha Hussnain
Visions of the future of community arts education included removing colonial practices from community settings; making cities more liveable for artists; lifelong learning and intergenerational engagement; embracing new technology and innovation; and more places for the arts everywhere!
Our closing circle. Photo by Zoha Hussnain
Thank you to everyone who attended, The Chicago High School for the Arts for being such gracious hosts, and Zoha Hussnain for capturing photos of the event!
Published: June 28, 2023