Sunday, May 17, 2020
10:30am – 4pm
Chicago Cultural Center @ 78 E Washington St

On Sunday, May 17th, Urban Gateways and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will host the 2020 Teen Arts Leadership Summit. The Summit is a one-day event celebrating the role that young people play in the Chicago arts scene. This event will provide a chance for teens to come together to exchange ideas, share experiences, and explore creativity, all around the arts with an extra emphasis on music in celebration of the Year of Chicago Music (YOCM), in partnership with other Chicago youth-serving arts organizations.

Click on the following links to jump to different ways you can get involved:

Apply to the TALS Teen Advisory Committee >>
Poster Design Competition >>
Lead a Session >>
Perform >>
Attend! >>
Share Resources with Teens >>

Pictured: The 2018 Teen Arts Leadership Summit. Photo by Alayna Kudalis. Browse more photos here! >>

Apply to the TALS Teen Advisory Committee

We’re looking for Chicago-area teens with a passion for leadership and the arts to serve on an advisory committee to help guide the development and planning of the 2020 Teen Arts Leadership Summit (TALS). The committee will play an instrumental role in ensuring every aspect of the Summit is teen-centered.

  • Teen Advisory Committee members should be between 13-19 years old at the time of application and currently active in the arts (this may include practicing an art form, participating in a leadership council for an arts institution, or any other creative activities)
  • The Teen Advisory Committee will meet every other Tuesday, beginning March 3rd (3/3, 3/17, 3/31, 4/14, 4/28, 5/12), in the Learning Lab at the Chicago Cultural Center from 4:45 pm – 6:45 pm
  • Members who meet minimum meeting attendance requirements and attend the Summit will receive a full stipend of $150
Responsibilities of 2020 TALS Teen Advisory Committee members:
  • Help program elements of the Summit, including determining keynote speakers, sessions/workshops, performances, etc.; 
  • Select a winning youth-designed poster submitted as part of the design contest;
  • Support the promotion of the event and encourage peers to attend;
  • Help coordinate volunteers;
  • Provide teen input on all elements of the day;
  • Attend and provide support on the day of the Summit (5/17);
  • Appear at outreach and civic events as youth leaders representing Chicago’s arts scene as needed.
Why join the TALS Teen Advisory Committee?
  • Opportunity to be part of a major citywide arts initiative through the Year of Chicago Music;
  • Get to know other young creative leaders;
  • Support teens across Chicago in learning about careers and pathways in the arts and the role arts play in our city;
  • Gain experience in event planning, arts administration, program design, marketing/promotion, and other skills.
TALS Teen Advisory Committee applications have now closed. Thank you for your interest!

TALS Poster Design Competition

The Teen Arts Leadership Summit Poster Design Competition is open to any teen 13-19 in the Chicagoland area who has an interest in visual arts or design. If you are interested in creating the graphic representation of what arts and leadership mean to you, then this competition is for you! Using our template, create a sketch, drawing, painting, or finished digital design that represents what the arts, leadership, and the City of Chicago means to you. The winning poster design may be featured on our websites, social media, and printed materials created for the Summit.

Working independently, artists/designers will create a unique poster design using our template. Urban Gateways encourages all who may need a space, or technology, to complete your work to come by Street Level, where interested teens can drop in to use computers, learn to transfer their design from paper to screen, and receive assistance from experienced staff members. 

Final designs may be submitted beginning March 2 and are due by Friday, March 27 at 11:59pm. All entries will be reviewed by the Teen Advisory Committee and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. The winning artist will receive a cash prize.

Check back on March 2 for template & submission details!

Lead a Session

Teens ages 13-19 are invited to share their expertise with fellow young arts leaders at the Teen Arts Leadership Summit. Session proposals from young alumni of teen leadership and/or arts programs or adult administrators with particular expertise may also be considered. All proposals should be diverse and engaging with an emphasis on arts and/or leadership, with a preference for any music-related sessions that support the Year of Chicago Music.

Session submissions will open in early March and will be due in mid-April. Session proposals will be primarily reviewed by the 2020 TALS Teen Advisory Committee. Stipends will be provided for session leaders and financial support may be available for supplies.

Check back in early March to submit a session proposal!


We are looking for teen/youth performances to feature throughout the event. Don’t miss this chance to perform for other creative teens as part of this inspiring day! Performance slots will be between 5 and 15 minutes in length and can feature any arts discipline, although there will be an emphasis on music throughout the day in celebration of the Year of Chicago Music.

Applications for performers will open in early March and will be due in mid-April. Performance proposals will be primarily reviewed by the 2020 TALS Teen Advisory Committee. Stipends will be provided for youth performers and transportation for groups may be available. 

Please note: While featured performers should be teens, artists do not have to be affiliated with a particular organization.

Check back in early March to submit a performance proposal!


Join teens from across Chicago for an exciting day celebrating creativity and leadership. Those registering should be interested in arts leadership and between the ages of 13-19. 

Registration will open in April; check back soon!

Share Resources with Teens

We invite organizations and schools with arts and/or leadership opportunities for teens to join us at the Teen Arts Leadership Summit Resource Fair.

More information and vendor applications will be posted soon!

Our thanks to the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for partnering with us to make TALS a reality!