NEWs releases.

Aug 26, 2015

Be Creative Welcomes New Honorary Chairs Joakim Noah and Cecilia Rodhe

Athlete and Expressive Art Therapist Join Campaign for Arts Education in Chicago

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and his mother, expressive art therapist and sculptor Cecilia Rodhe, today joined Be Creative: A Campaign for Chicago Arts Education as honorary chairs, Ingenuity announced.

Be Creative: A Campaign for Chicago Arts Education is a $38 million private fundraising initiative, built on the fundamental principle that the arts are essential to education. Be Creative supports the CPS Arts Education Plan—a master plan to bring arts education to every Chicago Public Schools student in every school; Noah and Rodhe's support will help bolster the movement for arts education in CPS.

"We are excited to welcome Cecilia and Joakim as honorary chairs of Be Creative: A Campaign for Chicago Arts Education," saidPaul Sznewajs, executive director of Ingenuity, which administers the Be Creative campaign and Creative Schools Fund. "Their combined passions will help raise awareness of how important it is for all Chicago Public Schools students to have the arts as a central part of their education."

Noah and Rodhe join an already impressive roster of arts proponents for Be Creative, including Renee Fleming, creative consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Yo-Yo Ma, acclaimed cellist and Judson and Joyce Green creative consultant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Programs and former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet.

"It's been a privilege working alongside Be Creative and its honorary chairs," said Ma. "I'm proud of the work we are doing, and I'm thrilled to welcome Joakim and Cecilia – two uniquely talented individuals who are passionate about the need for and promise of arts education. We share the goal of bringing Chicago students more opportunities for meaningful arts education and I can't wait to begin our work together."

Founders of the Noah's Arc Foundation – a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping children develop a strong sense of self through the powerful combination of art and sport – Noah and Rodhe have worked to empower Chicago's youth and influence change. Alongside Be Creative, Noah and Rodhe will further their mission and that of the campaign, to ensure arts education is accessible to every CPS student, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"I've experienced firsthand the impact activities like sports and arts can have – how an emphasis on arts education can encourage kids to gain confidence, think outside of the box and embrace creativity," said Noah. "We are fortunate that initiatives like Be Creativeexist to make sure students aren't left out of these experiences."

Funds raised by the campaign will put essential classroom materials in the hands of students and teachers, such as musical instruments, cameras and scripts. Be Creative's grant-making arm, the Creative Schools Fund, also translates these funds to support teacher-designed programs in partnership with Chicago's wide array of cultural institutions large and small, in every corner of the city.

With this programming, students get the opportunity to learn transferable skills like collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving that will guide them into the future.

"Every child has a unique passion, and with the Noah's Arc Foundation, we actively work to encourage kids to discover their true selves," said Rodhe. "We're so proud to take what we have learned and join a campaign that has the same goals, gives back to the community and pushes the great city of Chicago forward through the learning and discovery of creativity, which is essential."

About The Noah's Arc Foundation
Noah's Arc Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2010 by Chicago Bulls center, Joakim Noah, and his mother, renowned sculptor and expressive art therapist, Cecilia Rodhe. Through art and sports programming, NAF provides youth with diverse opportunities that encourage them to engage in positive self-expression, avoid turning to violence and become conscious of their ability to make a positive impact in their community. For more information, please visit: