As of 2021, Urban Gateways has been engaging young people in arts experiences for 60 years to inspire creativity and impact social change.

We are proud of our legacy and of the ever-evolving arts programs that we share with thousands of young people in Chicago every year. We hope you’ll take the time to celebrate with us in 2021! From virtual performances & festivities to a thought-provoking speaker series, our 60th Anniversary Calendar of Events offers something for every arts advocate.


ART & Looking Ahead
Wednesday, December 8 @ 7pm
ART & Looking Ahead
is the final event in our six-part speaker series, ART &. 2020-2021 has been a trying time for artists and arts organizations; many have had to completely reimagine how they work and create. In this conversation, speakers will discuss the obstacles they’ve experienced and how they plan to move forward in the years to come.
Register for ART & Looking Ahead >>
Learn more about the full ART & Speaker Series >>

60 for 60 VIDEO SERIES:

A new series of 60-second videos celebrating the stories and history of Urban Gateways, in honor of our 60th Anniversary, 60 for 60 videos will be released on our social media channels at noon on the last Friday of every month (@urbangateways on Instagram; @UrbanGatewaysChicago on Facebook; and @urbangateways on Twitter). Hear our community members’ perspectives on how our arts programs have inspired creativity and impacted social change!
View our 60 for 60 playlist on YouTube >>


In honor of our 60th Anniversary, the World Weavers Virtual Gallery takes a deep dive into one of our ongoing residency programs, the World Weavers Project, which combines the study of world cultures with the study of visual arts and textile design. Get to know this program as well as its partner, the Minasian Rug Company; student-designed rugs are also available for sale, with proceeds supporting Urban Gateways programs.
Visit the World Weavers Virtual Gallery >>

Past events:

Urban Gateways 60th Birthday Bash!
Thursday, January 28
A FREE virtual event featuring performances by Urban Gateways artists and special guest
appearances to spark inspiration, celebrate our history and mission, and set the stage for the year.
Watch the video on YouTube >>

ART & Storytelling
Wednesday, February 10
The first event in the ART & Speaker Series discussed how artists across disciplines use storytelling to enhance and transform their work.
Watch the recording >>

ART & Race
Wednesday, April 14
Our second ART & Speaker Series event, with a focus on using the arts to disrupt systemic racism – and disrupting racism within the arts sector itself.
Watch the recording >>

Bubbles, Boards, & Barrelhouse
Friday, May 21 @ 6-7:30pm
We celebrated with a guided wine tasting, a Charcuterie Board Contest, and a virtual concert by MacArthur Genius and Urban Gateways alum Reginald Robinson!

ART & Resistance
Wednesday, June 9 @ 7pm
The third event in our six-part Speaker Series (ART &) highlighted how artists are challenging society’s norms and bringing awareness to issues that call for justice.
Watch the recording >>

ART & Healing
Wednesday, August 11 @ 7pm
The fourth event in our six-part speaker series (ART &) spotlighted a conversation around art as therapy, trauma-informed expression, and how the arts can heal, rejuvenate, and strengthen our communities.
Watch the recording >>

ART & Changemaking
Wednesday, October 13 @ 7pm
The fifth event in our six-part speaker series (ART &) featured youth arts leaders’ perspectives on how the arts create change.
Watch the recording >>


More About Urban Gateways

Urban Gateways engages young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change. Urban Gateways was founded 60 years ago on the South Side of Chicago as a counterweight against massive disparities and opportunity gaps for many Chicago youth created by segregation, racism, economic divestment, and lack of mobility among communities of color. 

Unfortunately, these conditions remain today as Urban Gateways works to generate multiple access points for youth to experience the power of the arts through collaborative community partnerships and by amplifying youth voices as the critical change agents our city desperately needs. As one of the largest and most comprehensive arts service providers in Chicago, Urban Gateways is recognized as a pioneer in advancing arts access and equity through a range of programs for youth within their communities and through experiential learning opportunities outside of their neighborhoods. 

Urban Gateways has been engaging youth in arts experiences for 60 years. Over that time, the organization has embraced the promise and the power of the arts to help us communicate, celebrate, connect, calm, and to call us to action. As we commemorate Urban Gateways’ 60th Anniversary in 2021, we remain firm in our belief that access to the arts is now more vital than ever.

Read more about our history here >>

Left: An Urban Gateways performance program in the 1960s. Right: An Urban Gateways Virtual Performance (featuring Chicago Dance Crash) in 2020.

Thank you to our 60th Anniversary sponsors:

Interested in sponsoring our 60th Anniversary?

Learn more about 60th Anniversary Special Events Sponsorships >>
Learn more about ART & Speaker Series Sponsorship >>