PLEASE NOTE: Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the current need for social distancing, this event – originally scheduled for May 17 – has been POSTPONED.

We will reschedule the Teen Arts Leadership Summit to take place at the Chicago Cultural Center later in 2020, when it is safe to gather again. Continue to check back here for updates.

MEANWHILE: We are still welcoming poster design competition submissions as well as performance and session proposals! Scroll for more info.

Urban Gateways is teaming up with 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:

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

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


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 one of our three template options (linked below), create a sketch, drawing, painting, or finished digital design that represents what the arts, leadership, and the City of Chicago mean to you. The winning poster design may be featured on our websites, social media, and printed materials created for the Summit; the contest winner will also receive a $200 cash prize!

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. 

We are now accepting submissions! Please save your design as a high resolution PDF and email your submission to Erin Matthew: ematthew@urbangateways.orgAll entries will be reviewed by the Teen Advisory Committee and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. In addition to the $200 cash prize, we encourage the winner to attend the 2020 Teen Arts Leadership Summit!

Poster Design Templates >>

Note: The file above contains 3 template options; choose whichever you prefer! Questions? Email Erin Matthew –



We’re seeking a diverse variety of voices to lead sessions for teens at the Teen Arts Leadership Summit. Priority will be given to teens (ages 13-19) who want to share their expertise with fellow young arts leaders. Session proposals from young alumni of teen arts and/or leadership programs, or adults with relevant expertise, are also welcome. All proposals should be diverse and engaging with an emphasis on arts and/or leadership and ideally fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Explore: Introductory sessions for teens who are new to the art form
  2. Expand: Deeper exploration sessions for teens who are already engaged in a particular art form or leadership track

(Note: Sessions that do not fit into one of the above categories will still be considered.)

Sessions will be approximately 60 minutes in length.

Proposals will be primarily reviewed by the Teen Arts Leadership Summit Teen Advisory Council. Stipends will be provided for session leaders and financial support may be available for supplies and group transportation, if applicable.

Apply Here to Lead a Session at TALS >>



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 artistic discipline, although there will be an emphasis on music throughout the day in celebration of the Year of Chicago Music.

Applications will be primarily reviewed by the Teen Arts Leadership Summit Teen Advisory Council. Stipends will be provided for youth performers and support for group transportation may be available. 

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

*If your performance would be more appropriate in a one-hour session, please fill out the Session Proposal Form, note that the format is “Other”, and specify that it is a performance.

Apply Here to Perform at TALS >>



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. Teen registration is FREE!

Keep checking back for the 2020 Teen Arts Leadership Summit date announcement and registration!

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!

TALS Teen Advisory Committee

We’re excited to be working with an advisory committee of Chicago-area teens who are passionate about leadership and the arts. The committee will help guide the development and planning of TALS 2020 and will play an instrumental role in ensuring every aspect of the Summit is teen-centered.

TALS Teen Advisory Committee applications have now closed. Thank you for your interest!

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