2 Updates from Arts For All Chicago!

Cara Winter, the Program Manager for Arts For All Chicago, provides this update about 2 new programs in The Windy City.


The students at LibbyWorking on the Rose Elementary have been hard at work over the past six weeks on their Mural Project!  Teaching Artist Damon Reed has been providing guidance and instruction at each step of the way; the students came up with the concept/theme, then Damon assisted with the initial sketch phase, and the students are now almost through the painting phase!

I visited last week, and it is inspiring to see how far the Mural has come along.  The students’ excitement and dedication are palpable.

The images on the mural came directly from the students, and are meant to inspire the school as a whole:  a young girl engrossed in her favorite book, a young boy proudly hoisting a trophy for his academic achievement, and a single red rose growing up out of a crack in the concrete, referencing a poem by Tupac Shakur:

The Rose That Grew from Concrete
by Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin nature’s laws wrong
It learned to walk without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams
It learned to breathe fresh air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
When no one else, even cared

We hope to see the finished Mural installed at Libby, some time in January, weather permitting.

On a related note, Mr. Helbig, the art teacher at Libby, has secured a grant to turn the empty lot adjacent to the mural into a community garden!  So… perhaps in the not too distant future, actual roses will grow where concrete and weeds once stood.


I have just begun teaching a Creative Writing class to a small group of 5th and 6th grade students at Hammond Elementary‘s After School All Stars program.  We began by talking about the different genres and styles of creative writing (poems, stories, lyrics, TV shows, and more!).  Then we discussed the various reference books at their own school library, essential for any creative writer (dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, etc).  After our discussion, we set about to write for about 25 minutes, during which time each student wrote a one-page story.

I am looking forward to getting back to the classroom this week, to talk about fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction – and write some of our own!

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