The Fourth “R”: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic…Art

The Fourth ‘R’ was a unique collaborative venture spearheaded by the Hyde Park Art Center in partnership with seven leading Chicago arts organizations. This ambitious project brought together dozens of classroom teachers and hundreds of elementary students from across the Chicago Public Schools to work on a series of connected large-scale curriculum-based art projects throughout the school year. The culminating exhibition and workshop program displayed the children’s artwork. The exhibition also created a public forum for the discussion of school-based arts initiatives, community arts partnerships and teacher-led arts integrated classroom programs.

The Fourth ‘R’ refers to ‘aRt’ as a fundamental part of the core curriculum alongside “reading, writing, ‘rithimetic'” in elementary education. The Fourth ‘R’ also references the medium of found object and reconstructed art, with ‘aRt’ as the final piece of the recycling mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The art organizations with their organizations with their respective partner schools and a decade of artists and teachers worked with their students on a series of innovative art projects with found and recycled objects. This material allowed teachers to integrate students of environment, conservation, production and consumption into their work with a wide range of mixed media and construction techniques. The Fourth ‘R’ demonstrated how and what young people are learning in new creative ways through the diverse art programming across the city’s school-based partnerships.

Throughout the run of the exhibit, HPAC welcomed students, teachers, artists and the extended communities to work directly with the partnering organizations to access the projects and installations as source material to further their own connections with young people through the arts.

  • June 27, 2004 – August 7, 2004
  • The Del Prado

Featured Organizations

A.R.T. (Art Resources in Teaching), C.A.P.E. (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education), O.C.A.P. (Office of Community Art Partnerships), Pros Arts Studio, Street Level Youth Media, South Chicago Art Center, and Urban Gateways.


The exhibition opened on Sunday, June 27 from 4 to 6 pm with performances from youth arts group working in other media- from music, dance and theater, to “spoken word” within the literary arts. It was an afternoon to celebrate the creative gift of learning through the arts, with performances in song and dance from schools across the city.

In conjunction with the exhibition, HPAC offered a free series of Public Programs designed for artists, teachers, parents and youth workers. The TalkShops (part seminar part workshop) connected audiences with leaders in the fields of arts education and child development. TalkShops were designed to explore new approaches for introducing children to our rich visual culture and raises questions about what makes “great” children’s art.

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