CPS Pathways K – 8

Hyde Park Art Center’s Pathways K – 8 works with area K-8 Chicago Public Schools to place teaching artists inside of classrooms, to guide students in building an understanding of concepts, principles, and elements of art. Students are taught to express themselves non-verbally, analyze visually, and develop personal aesthetics. Pathways students develop ideas and technical skills in the creation of original works of art, which are connected to their lives, community, and school curriculum.

Pathways K-8
(a subsidized art program):

Pathways K – 8 is for students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that often have limited or no access to the visual-art education, specifically neighboring schools around the Art Center and Chicago’s South Side. Pathways works with partner schools to bring teaching-artists for residencies inside of K – 8 CPS classrooms or after-school programs. The Art Center provides a subsidy that pays for half of the program.

Pathways teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to develop curricula that enable students in schools with limited resources to grow and express themselves creatively. Pathways residencies are structured as a 30-week model that is customized for schools’ calendars, plans, and needs. Teaching artists work with classroom teachers to align Pathways arts instruction with existing classroom lesson plans, CPS guidelines, and state standards for visual-art learning.

Pathways K – 8 typically occurs in two formats:

  • In-school Model: a Hyde Park Art Center teaching artist provides art instruction for one-hour per week for thirty (30) weeks. The teaching artist often collaborates with the classroom teacher to unify the school curriculum to the art-making experience.
  • After-school Model: 15 – 20 students meet for one-hour or an hour and a half for 30 weeks for arts instruction from a teaching artist. In many cases, this program acts as an Art Club for the school.


Pathways Performance Management + Training

  • An outside consultant assesses Pathways annually by observing arts instruction and completing rubrics that measure both teaching artists’ performance and student growth.  
  • The consultant visits programs in the fall and again in the spring semesters to observe, making note of changes over time. The findings are discussed with the teaching artists and Art Center staff and can be shared with the school.
  • Teaching artists receive training every summer through the Art Center’s Summer Institute. The Summer Institute covers topics such as building a syllabus, classroom management, art vocabulary, and more. 


Pathways Expectations

  • We do our best to integrate into school culture, asking our teaching artists attend the host schools’ professional-development workshops and connect with school policies as soon as possible
  • We ask that the classroom teachers stay in the classroom with the Art Center teaching artists and participate/collaborate with the art experience. Collaboration is key.
  • It is our goal to have the classroom teachers meet with our teaching artists on a regular basis to discuss what they will cover from unit to unit, as this helps the Art Center teaching artists develop art plans that enhance daily classroom instruction.
  • Finally, we expect timely communication with school administration and teachers when needed to make sure we are doing the best possible work.


Planning Ahead + Application

Each school year, there are a limited number of openings for schools to work with Pathways K – 8, and due to capacity, there may also be a limit for customized programs as well. To apply for either, school administration must meet with Director of Partnerships Gregory Smith to determine if a school qualifies and how the program will be structured. If you or your school are interested, please contact Gregory Smith at gsmith@hydeparkart.org or call 773-324-5520 ext 1002

Pathways K-8 is made possible by the lead support from the Kistenbroker Family Fund and the Sacks Family Foundation.

Support for Pathways is also provided by:


as well as Hyde Park Art Center’s Advocates, annual supporters, and community members like you.