A Happy Hour that Inspires

I joined the Urban Gateways Associate Board in fall of 2016, and in that short time I’ve been able to see firsthand some of the incredible impact they’ve had on the Chicago community. At the Artini fundraiser in November, I saw a large network of young professionals come together to support arts education. As a volunteer at the Art for All Gala in March, not only did I witness Urban Gateways’ amazing supporters displaying their passion for inspiring Chicago youth through the arts via their philanthropy, I also got to see many Urban Gateways artists perform and showcase their talents. Earlier this month I was lucky enough to tour the Street-Level Youth Media space; Urban Gateways recently acquired Street-Level and now operates the multimedia center at North and Ashland Avenues. Associate board members got together at Street-Level to set up our fundraising pages for the Creating Art, Creating Change Challenge, through which we hope to raise $10,000 this May to support all the great new initiatives happening at Urban Gateways.

One of the most impactful experiences I’ve had with Urban Gateways so far was seeing an in-school program in action. This winter the Soli Performing Arts Company visited two Peace & Education Coalition Alternative High School campuses to perform “Celebration Dances of West Africa”, and I got to see their performance at the school’s Second Chance campus on January 31. It was so powerful to see the students having fun while learning about a traditional dance form they might never have been exposed to without this Urban Gateways program. The Soli performance was directly funded by an Associate Board happy hour held a few months prior. Personally, I was so happy to see the direct impact that a fundraising event had on the cause it benefited.

The Urban Gateways Associate Board is hosting another happy hour this Wednesday that will fund similar touring performances. It will be a casual happy hour held at WestEnd on May 24th from 6-8pm including drinks and appetizers. This event will help wrap up the Creating Art, Creating Change Challenge, celebrating and contributing to the fundraising efforts of the Associate Board this month. It’s a fun opportunity for arts advocates to come together and support an organization that encourages self-expression and social change through arts programs like the empowering live performance I saw at Second Chance High School. We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday!

Associate Board Happy Hour & Fundraiser
Wednesday, May 24, 6-8pm
WestEnd – 1326 W. Madison St.
Tickets: $25 advance (available until noon on 5/24),
$30 at the door

Upper: An Urban Gateways Associate Board event last June. Lower: Student volunteers took the stage during a touring performance of “Celebration Dances of West Africa” at Second Chance High School. This performance was funded by the Urban Gateways Associate Board; your Happy Hour ticket purchase helps make similar programs happen!

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