NEWs releases.

Nov 17, 2015

Be Creative and Ingenuity Award $800,000 for The Arts Essentials in Chicago Public Schools

Campaign funds 580 Chicago schools to support arts partnerships, supplies and materials

Be Creative: A Campaign for Chicago Arts Education and Ingenuity announced today that through their Arts Essentials grant program, $800,000 in campaign funding has been released to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for 2015-2016. These funds represent the first set of grants to be distributed during the current school year.  

“The value in arts education goes well beyond learning to play an instrument or perform on stage, because when you invest in the arts, you invest in the potential of a child,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This commitment by our partners at Ingenuity and supporters of the Be Creative campaign will help us infuse the arts in our schools and increase opportunities for visual arts, music, dance and theater across the City.”

Ingenuity—a non-profit partner to CPS — will provide the Be Creative-raised funds for grants ranging from $1,000 - $2,000 to 580 schools throughout Chicago’s public school district. These funds, which are distributed through the Arts Essentials grant program, will support the purchase of arts supplies and materials for visual art, music, dance and theater programming for use during the school day. Typical purchases range from brushes and paints to musical instruments, props, scripts and costumes. 

Last year, Mayor Emanuel called upon the city’s business, community, cultural and philanthropic leaders to help schools deliver sufficient arts education via the Be Creative campaign. The $38 million private fundraising campaign supports CPS’ Arts Education Plan and is a critical lever in systematically bringing the arts to every CPS student in every school, from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

“CPS is thankful to Ingenuity for continuing to support the arts in our classrooms,” said CPS Chief of Education Officer, Janice Jackson. “Arts education adds a significant value to a student's learning experience and creates a well-rounded education. Being exposed to arts programming in school puts students at a great advantage in life and allows them to become more versatile individuals.” 

This year marks the third year of the Arts Essentials grant program, with Be Creative and Ingenuity distributing more than $1 million to date. Last year, Harper High School used Arts Essentials funding for theatrical make-up and materials. At Zapata Academy, students were able to compose, produce and record original songs with the help of new equipment.

Arts Essentials grants are provided to all schools that have achieved Creative Schools Certification, as determined by CPS’ Arts Education Plan, in Category 1 – Excelling; Category 2 – Strong; Category 3 – Developing; and Category 4 – Emerging. Schools must also have a current CPS Arts Liaison, a designated school leader who is charged with fostering relationships with cultural institutions and community partners that will enrich students’ understanding of the arts. Eligible schools will receive funds based on their Creative Schools Certification designations for the 2014-15 school year.

“Every subject area requires great teachers and the right resources to support learning,”stated Sydney Sidwell, associate director of Ingenuity and director of the Creative Schools Fund, which administers the funds raised by Be Creative. “We’re grateful to partner with CPS, and pleased to acknowledge, through these grants, the hard work by its teachers and administrators to incorporate arts curriculum into their daily lesson plans.“ 

“Every child deserves the opportunity to embrace their creativity, whether through art, music, theater or dance,” stated Sidwell. “These supplies coupled with arts education instruction will help sharpen the minds of Chicago’s next generation of leaders, problem solvers, residents, arts lovers, and artists of all kinds.”

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.