Decorated artists grace UG roster – Congrats Amaniyea and Avery!

And now, a moment of appreciation for the amazing experiences that our teaching and touring artists create in classrooms, schools, and beyond! Two things recently came to our attention that we simply must rave about:

Amaniyea Payne, Urban Gateways teaching artist and the Artistic Director of Muntu Dance Theatre, is this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the African American Arts Alliance! She was honored last night at the Black Excellence Award Ceremony at DuSable Museum of African American History. Amaniyea has been teaching dance with Urban Gateways for over 13 years, in schools from Morgan Park to Grand Crossing and all over Chicago. Obviously we’re not the only ones who recognize her impact!

Check out this awesome VIDEO of Amaniyea’s recent Urban Gateways residency and hear all about it directly from Amaniyea and her students! She worked her magic in Washington Park over the summer, teaching African dance and inspiring a community’s youth along the way. Watch the video – we promise it’ll cheer you.

It’s about self control, self expression…and then, how do we build our social skills as we work together? –Amaniyea


Wait wait, there’s more!

Avery Young is a literary teaching artist and now a 2012 3Arts awardee! WHAT! Avery combines hymns, poetry, spoken word, hip hop and more to create a seriously stirring performance repertoire. He is up to lots of good doing Urban Gateways residencies in Englewood, South Chicago and Humboldt Park as we speak! With this generous grant from 3Arts, you have to bet he’s got amazing things coming.

Check out this video and hear from the artist himself!

I believe that a lot of times, people in this world are not validated. I learned how to value what I was through my words, and I see a lot of times in my students… the moment that they gain a sense of value in themselves, when they read a poem out loud. –Avery


Our heartiest congratulations to Amaniyea and Avery – and to our entire artist roster, a powerful crew that engages and inspires Chicago kids every single day!