New NEA Funding Will Support Arts Healing Trauma

News • Press Releases

POSTED: December 13, 2016
CONTACT: Jill Potter, Director of Programs, 312-445-2751

National Endowment for the Arts to Support Urban Gateways Arts Healing Trauma Initiative

Chicago arts education organization Urban Gateways is proud to announce that it has been recommended for a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support its Arts Healing Trauma program initiative. NEA Chairman Jane Chu has announced the first round of grants that are part of her signature leadership initiative, Creativity Connects; Urban Gateways will be awarded an Art Works: Creativity Connects grant to administer Arts Healing Trauma programming for youth at UCAN in the North Lawndale community. This is one of 37 Creativity Connects grants totaling $2,500,000 to support partnerships between arts organizations and organizations from non-arts sectors across the country, bolstering the positive impact of creativity in issue areas ranging from healthcare to juvenile justice and many more.

Arts Healing Trauma combines Urban Gateways’ expertise in high quality arts education with the clinical services of UCAN, a youth services organization that works with North Lawndale youth and families to address the impact of violence and trauma in order to create safety and healing and promote the promises of a brighter future. UCAN provides a continuum of services for youth in care of the state child welfare system and youth who have been removed from their homes for reasons of abuse or neglect. Through Arts Healing Trauma, UCAN youth ages 12-24 will participate in multidisciplinary arts experiences facilitated by Urban Gateways teaching artists and designed to help them explore and address the trauma and violence they have encountered as a means to cope and heal.

“Urban Gateways is honored to receive this crucial support from the National Endowment for the Arts through Creativity Connects,” said Urban Gateways Executive Director Eric Delli Bovi. “More than ever, youth and their families in Chicago are inundated with traumatic events of violence and loss. Urban Gateways recognizes the power of the arts to help youth cope with and heal from trauma, and this UCAN partnership is the perfect opportunity for us to provide arts programming to youth who need these services the most.”

In addition to multidisciplinary artist-in-residence programs, Arts Healing Trauma programming will include Family Workshops that allow youth and their parents or caregivers to foster positive and creative connections; youth-led Arts Mentorship Workshops that give older students the opportunity to mentor younger participants; ongoing Professional Development for Urban Gateways teaching artists and staff; Urban Gateways participation in the Peace Hub, a cohort of 30 organizations seeking to reduce exposure to or participation in violence; and the implementation of Healing Art Kits – a concept developed by Artists 4 Israel as a first response tool for bombing victims. These kits are self-contained boxes modeled after first aid kits, designed to slow or prevent the onset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by providing young people with creative activities that both distract them from the traumatic incident and help them to process their experiences. Urban Gateways will distribute Healing Art Kits for use at UCAN and other Peace Hub organizations.


Urban Gateways educates and inspires young people by delivering high-quality, accessible arts experiences that advance their personal and academic growth.

For more information on Arts Healing Trauma, contact Jill Potter, Director of Programs at 312-445-2751 or

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit – or learn more about Creativity Connects here.




Pictured: UCAN youth participated in “ArtsCAN” workshops with Urban Gateways teaching artists in August 2016. The NEA Creativity Connects grant will allow Urban Gateways and UCAN to deepen their partnership and positively impact UCAN youth with ongoing arts exposure.