Urban Gateways’ Art Options Apprenticeship Program provides high school students with an opportunity to create new work in Literary and Media Arts. Led by professional teaching artists, Art Options engages students in the processes of writing and filmmaking, explores critical theory through the work of contemporary artists and scholars, and encourages the mastery of skills necessary for student success in college and career. Throughout this four-week summer intensive, students are challenged to apply their acquired knowledge by facilitating group discussions, maintaining a reflective writing practice, and creating an original short film as their culminating project. Final works are presented in a public film screening at a local venue. By participating in Art Options, students can also earn stipends to further develop their skills and demonstrate the viability of college and career paths in the arts.
See an example of a completed Art Options project: Student Michael Coleman created this short documentary about how young people react to violence in his North Lawndale neighborhood.
Urban Gateways launched the CoCre8 project in 2013 in collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative and the Smart Museum of Art. This experimental model of collaborative arts education brings together a cohort of high school students and educators, artists, and arts administrators to look at, talk about, and make art.
Each participant is an equal stakeholder in the process, contributing their unique skills and perspectives to the work of dismantling traditional learning hierarchies and embracing multiple roles as learner, teacher, and maker. Collectively, participants explore the many ways in which art can help us think critically and creatively about our world.
There is no set curriculum. Each cohort chooses the theme they want to investigate inspired by works at the Smart Museum and, ultimately, to connect with their own lives. Participants create a work of art together and present the final projects to family, friends, colleagues, and school communities during an exhibition at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park.
Check out this video about the CoCre8 program: