Blog Posts for Illinois

Undoing Power Dynamics by Incorporating Youth and Community Voices

Posted by Ashraf Hasham, Oct 18, 2017 0 comments

By wishing to incorporate youth and their communities in decision-making for initiatives that are intended to engage them and their peers, organizations and program managers are (knowingly or unknowingly) giving these young people a lesson on power dynamics, the power of organizing, and policy development via focus grouping, researching, and consulting with experts (aka themselves). By welcoming youth into the decision-making process, we can begin to show them how decisions—within our organizations and more broadly in society—could be made differently. Let’s lean into it and, in fact, give these young folks more power over programs that are meant to be for them, particularly in organizations that have little or no history of incorporating young people in admin-level spaces.

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Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: How the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Impacts the Economy in Your Community

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Jun 17, 2017 0 comments

When recently asked how best to advocate for the arts in the current environment, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)—co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus and chief sponsor of the CREATE Act—was unequivocal: “Start by telling every one of your Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.” This familiar refrain is one we have heard for decades from city council chambers to governor mansions to the halls of Congress—and it works. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 does just that. It changes the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.

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Invigorate Your Practice and Advocate Through Exhibitions

Posted by Chris Sykora, Mar 15, 2017 0 comments

How do we speak to people who have never taken part in art education? If someone has not experienced the arts personally or effectively, words may not be able to explain their value. In order to speak constructively with opponents, we must provide an environment that cultivates the sharing of ideas. It just so happens that art exhibitions are the perfect venue for advocacy discussions. Art communicates in unique and non-literal ways, which facilitates an openness that allows people to form their own conclusions. Exhibitions provide opportunities to talk about curricular impacts through the work on display. Audiences can connect artwork with student educational experiences in direct and empathetic ways. And most importantly, exhibitions easily unite advocacy for art programs with advocacy for the most powerful evidence we have: the students themselves.

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The Curious City Challenge

Posted by Claire Meyers, Mar 01, 2017 0 comments

I was fortunate enough to be awarded Urban Gateways’ 2017 PROPS Award for my proposal “Claire’s Curious City Challenge.” Influenced by a phrase our organization often uses, “The City as a Classroom,” I am using the funds to embark on a yearlong mission to explore the exciting and diverse programming that makes Chicago a vibrant city. I see this challenge as an opportunity to learn more about the interesting work happening in the city, for both my own interest as an active member of the Chicago arts community and for the potential it has to inform future programming and partnerships at Urban Gateways.

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Why Does Your Business Value the Arts?

Posted by Jessica Gaines, Dec 15, 2016 0 comments

In their acceptance speeches at the 2016 BCA 10 Awards, twelve industry leaders spoke about what being honored at the 2016 BCA 10 means to them and why they encourage and seek out opportunities to bring the arts into their worlds.

"We believe that everyone in this room is art. And when art and the folks in this room come together, we spark innovation; we inspire youth. We celebrate and heal communities. We stimulate economies. We sustain this great nation."

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Healing Trauma through the Arts in Chicago and Beyond

Posted by Eric Delli Bovi, Oct 12, 2016 1 comment

This year, our Sweet Home Chicago also recorded its most violent and deadliest summer on record—with no end in sight. For too many of Chicago’s children, the wealth of opportunities this city provides is seemingly too distant to access due to the many barriers that remain in place.

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