Urban Gateways has been providing arts programming for young people in Chicago for nearly six decades.
In 1961, Jessie Woods, Charles Burns, Dr. Raymond Jerrems, Connie Williams, and Helen Kolar founded Urban Gateways to address the lack of artistic exposure in Chicago-area schools, especially those in the inner-city.
The five original founders believed in arts education as a mechanism for social change, and as a result, focused their efforts on providing neighborhood schools with free tickets to attend musical recitals, orchestra concerts, operas, and theater productions. In 1962, just one year after its founding, Urban Gateways received its first major donation for $20,000 in the form of concert tickets for neighborhood children and schools. We’ve been growing ever since.
Now, nearly 60 years later, we provide more than 95,000 Chicago-area youth annually with arts experiences in the literary, media, performing, and visual arts. See some of our historical highlights below.
Urban Gateways Historical Highlights
Urban Gateways for exemplary measurement and documentation practices in 2010.
education opportunities for students and communities across Chicago. As of 2013, A.R.T. and Urban Gateways had a combined 171 years of serving Chicagoans with free access to high-quality arts experiences amid the longstanding and systematic reduction of arts education in public schools.
Trauma in partnership with UCAN, a North Lawndale organization working with youth who have experienced trauma. The program, funded by a matching challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, provides young people with a variety of creative experiences as a means of coping and healing.
educates urban youth in media arts and emerging technologies for use in self-expression, communication, and social change. Urban Gateways now operates the Street Level youth media arts center at 1637 N Ashland Avenue Ste 1, and looks forward to expanding programming and amplifying youth voices at this incredible space.