ArtShop is part of a larger education initiative at the Art Center called Pathways, a K-12 learning pathway that focuses on a core group of south side schools to develop students’ art-making skills, support them in becoming more engaged learners, and facilitate the growth of their creative identities. Hyde Park Art Center launched Pathways in fall 2011 to address the fact that many youth do not receive arts education, especially in underserved south side neighborhoods experiencing historic disinvestment in arts and culture. Today, the program works over with 800 youth from neighboring schools by providing academic yearlong programs in every classroom at every grade level at elementary schools, intensive after school programs at middles schools, and two year-round teen programs at the Art Center, Youth Art Board and ArtShop.
Through Pathways, Hyde Park Art Center works collaboratively with CPS classroom instructors to develop impactful arts curricula that enable students to learn technical art skills and discover how to express themselves creatively. From classroom instruction to individualized mentorship to field trips and free studio art classes at the Art Center, Pathways provides youth artists with a variety of cultural experiences and diverse peer and mentor groups to deliver an innovative, meaningful learning experience.
The Art Center is dedicated to the idea that students from all backgrounds deserve access to arts instruction and creative learning experiences. Partnerships with like-minded individuals, institutions, and organizations including Chicago Public Schools; and funders like The Polk Bros. Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation ensure that Pathways makes a difference in young artists’ lives. The efforts of those involved combine to create a deep and long-term investment in south side communities and the students who go to school there, providing scaffolded arts learning from Kindergarten through high school.
Through Pathways and other programs that focus on Hyde Park Art Center’s surrounding community on Chicago’s south side, the organization works to ensure that Chicago’s future artists and cultural leaders have a support system, equitable access to opportunities and resources within the arts, and are representative of the rich diversity that makes our city great.