NEWs releases.

Dec 16, 2015

Be Creative and Ingenuity Award More Than $1.5 Million to Chicago Public Schools

Grants to provide 39,000 Chicago students with arts programming opportunities

Be Creative: A Campaign for Chicago Arts Education and Ingenuity announced today that through its Creative Schools Fund grant program, more than $1.5 million in campaign funding will be distributed among 156 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for the 2015-2016 school year. This is the third year of the Creative Schools Fund grant program, with Be Creative and Ingenuity distributing nearly $2 million to CPS this year, and nearly $5 million since the start of the program.

"Creativity allows us to invent and innovate; it transcends cultures, pushes boundaries and helps students and professionals to flourish," said Steve Solomon, vice president of Corporate Relations, Exelon and Be Creative co-chair. "With the help of Be Creative and Ingenuity, we can increase the number of arts programs, partnerships and in-school events. We are giving students the chance to thrive, and teachers the ability to instill a sense of creativity that students will carry throughout their lives."

Ingenuity—CPS' non-profit partner in ensuring an arts education for every CPS student—will distribute theBe Creative-raised funds through Arts Advance Program and Creative Schools Award grants. These grants, ranging from $10,000 to $15,000, will allow eligible schools to enhance arts and cultural partnerships, expand in-school partner residencies, fund field trips, in-school performances and hands-on learning, and support other arts-related needs.

This year's grant recipients include:

  • Kelvyn Park High School, which will partner with Chicago Youth Shakespeare for a school-wide effort to help students see themselves and their community in a global and historical context
  • Leslie Lewis Elementary School, which will collaborate with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago and Mexican Folkloric Dance Company to provide a fusion of dance and percussion instruction to its students, blending the school's cultures
  • Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, which will complete its Fine Arts Wing and develop a fully functional gallery and performance space
  • Blair Early Childhood Center, which will partner with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to bring dance instruction to all grades, with a focus on students with special needs and autism

"Exposure to the arts is a crucial component of a well-rounded education, and the Creative Schools Fund grant program has played an important role in infusing our schools with robust arts programming," said CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson. "We are committed to providing all of our students with an education rich in arts programming, and we greatly appreciate the continued support from Be Creative and Ingenuity to bring life-changing resources into our classrooms."

In 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called upon Chicago leaders to help schools deliver sufficient arts education by financially supporting the CPS Arts Education Plan. Since then, the Be Creative private fundraising campaign has supported the Plan and has helped bring the arts into classrooms across CPS, aiming to impact every student across the district, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"When our school received a grant last year, I witnessed firsthand how expanded arts programming can change students' lives," said Trevor Nicholas, Fine Arts department chair at Prosser Career Academy. "One student in particular learned to use her voice to overcome the loss of her brother to gun violence. Seeing her explore Chicago's musical legacy and gain the confidence to share her difficulties through song is something I will never forget."  

Last month, Ingenuity released $800,000 in Be Creative campaign funding through its Arts Essentials program, providing 580 schools with funds for materials and supplies. Schools receiving Arts Essentials, Arts Advance Program and Creative Schools Award grants have been awarded funds based on their Creative Schools Certification.

"Chicago is a city built on culture, with world-renowned theaters, museums and concert halls at our fingertips," said Sydney Sidwell, associate director of Ingenuity and director of the Creative Schools Fund. "Through these grants, and by funding partnerships with local cultural institutions, we are able to expose students to the world of the arts, opening up new pathways for Chicago's youth to expand their horizons."

About The Creative Schools Fund
The Creative Schools Fund is a grant making partnership between Ingenuity and CPS' Department of Arts Education to support the expansion of arts education in schools. Grants are made directly to CPS schools with a certified arts teacher. The Creative Schools Fund was called for in both the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan and the CPS Arts Education Plan, and was seeded three years ago by Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.