Perspectives on Be Creative: The Campaign for Creative Schools

“We’re at a unique moment in time for arts education in Chicago and we need to take advantage of it. There’s considerable momentum behind the idea that the arts are essential to the education of our children. We see support for this campaign from all corners of the city – leaders in education, arts and culture, business, community organizations and government. It’s really become a movement, calling for more arts in our schools.”
-Steven Crown, General Partner, Henry Crown and Company; Chairman, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; Vice Chair, School of the Art Institute of Chicago


“Providing our schoolchildren with a deep educational experience in the arts has so many benefits. The arts inspire creative thinking that can help students with all of their studies, in future careers and in navigating the challenges of a lifetime. Studies show that the arts improve academic performance and encourage students to stay in school.

As a matter of simple equity, we must provide every child in CPS schools, regardless of neighborhood or economic background, with a vibrant arts education.”
-Susan Kiphart, philanthropist active in the arts and children’s health and education; former teacher.


“The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO believes in and cultivates the transformative power that the arts, and specifically music, has on the development of young people, their families and communities. We are pleased that Chicago Public Schools has developed a plan and secured a funding source to offer arts education to all of the district’s students. We are proud to support this plan as a leading arts partner and applaud the vision, leadership and commitment of all involved.”
-Charles Grode, V.P., Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO


“Since the beginning of my work as Creative Consultant with the Negaunee Institute and the CSO, I have seen the vision of the CPS Arts Education Plan capture the imagination of many arts specialists and arts organizations across Chicago. The dedication and passion of these teachers and artists helps children in the Chicago Public Schools to build skills such as creativity, collaboration, and empathy through music and the arts. I’m delighted to celebrate this important step in the implementation of the CPS Arts Education Plan.”
-Yo-Yo Ma, Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra


“With the creation of the CPS Arts Plan, Chicago is poised to lead the country with an innovative approach to improving public education, through a serious commitment to the arts in our curriculum. But this plan’s success depends on the support, in a tangible, financial sense, of the entire community. Now, with momentum on our side, I believe the generosity and leadership of these first donors will inspire others to play their vital roles by supporting the Creative Schools Campaign.”
-Renée Fleming, Creative Consultant, The Lyric Opera of Chicago


"Over the course of my professional career the thing that has set me apart from my colleagues has been my understanding of the power of creativity when applied to all aspects of my life. Not only am I excited to be a maker, I'm excited that making has the potential to create new ways of imagining how other systems in the world work. For this reason it's important that our students not only understand the value of STEM-based education, but how creativity in the arts allows them to fully develop and apply creativity to all endeavors. Our great leaders in the sciences and technology all have curiosities about how the world works. These curiosities are often nurtured because of a life of meaning-making through the arts."
-Theaster Gates, Director of Arts and Public Life, University of Chicago


"It is so gratifying to watch the Chicago Arts Education Plan making a powerful difference in how the arts effectively put their unique learning tools to work in Chicago schools. I see this plan with its groundbreaking coordinating and data collection elements as a model for cities around the country."
-Damian Woetzel, Director, Aspen Institute Arts Program


“This is one of those moments in public service that you really cherish: an idea takes shape, grabs hold, becomes a movement and results in actions that change lives. Be Creative: The Campaign for Creative Schools is the direct result of the Chicago Cultural Plan we unveiled in October 2012. The one thing that consistently bubbled up at the community meetings where we asked people what they wanted to see in the plan was more arts education in our schools. Here we are two years later with a plan firmly in place, and now, thanks to The Campaign for Creative Schools, the resources we need to make sure it’s fully implemented. The Campaign’s tagline says it all: Arts for every student in every grade in every school. That’s truly music to my ears.”
-Michelle Boone, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events