Theatre Majors Experience an Amazing Night of ‘Something Rotten’

On July 18, a group of ChiArts Musical Theatre and Acting Majors had a theatrical experience of a lifetime! Thanks to the generosity of ChiArts Board Member and Broadway Producer, John Yonover, scholar-artists spent an evening with the touring cast of Something Rotten. Before seeing this hilariously amazing show, scholar-artists networked with the cast at a private dinner hosted by Mr. Yonover. Cast members shared stories about their education, experiences, and career highlights. After the dinner, scholar-artists attended the show at the Oriental Theatre and were cackling and cheering throughout the production. One student exclaimed, “I’ve never had a favorite musical, but now Something Rotten is!” Following the show, our students met with the entire cast and asked questions ranging from “How does a swing memorize tracks?” to “How do you support your fellow cast members?” One of our acting majors even received a “mini master class” from Rob McClure (actor in the leading role of Nick Bottom) on how to deliver your lines authentically.

We are so grateful to Mr. Yonover and the cast of Something Rotten for this memorable and inspiring opportunity!  

Tyehimba Jess Performs Pulitzer Prize Winning Poetry

On June 19, our Creative Writing Conservatory welcomed Tyehimba Jess for a presentation and reading of poetry from his 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Olio. 

The evening opened with current Creative Writers reciting original pieces, leading into an introduction of Tyehimba’s previous work and awards. Throughout the evening, Tyehimba presented his research on minstrel shows of the 19th century and the historical significance of the individual’s featured in his poetry. Audience members were completely fascinated with Tyehimba’s synergy of words and design within the book. Tyehimba’s poetry in Olio can be read in many different directions and at every reading, he improvises the order in which he reads. In response to a student question on the topic of African American minstrel performers, Tyehimba talked about the poetic value of their circumstances and the relevance to racism in our society today. ChiArts is grateful to Tyehimba for sharing his incredible work, creative process, and historical insight!

Spanish Students Explore the History and Culture of Mexico

Led by Spanish teachers, Ms. Bonnan and Mr. Cashman, 15 scholar-artists started off their summers exploring the history, culture, and nature of Mexico.

On June 13, the ChiArts group traveled Mexico City and Puebla, visiting the Basilica of Guadalupe, Pyramids of Teotihuacán, Frida Kahlo Museum, and a safari park with over 3000 animals. In addition to visiting historical and natural sites, students had the opportunity to participate in a local cooking class, where they made their own tortillas by hand. Over the following four days, students focused on archeology of the Zapotecs in Oaxaca and nature of the coastal city, Huatulco. From climbing ancient pyramids to walking along the coast, we would like to thank Ms. Bonnan and Mr. Cashman for leading a wonderfully diverse itinerary!

 

 

Generous Donation Allows Theatre Majors to Attend Hamilton

Thanks to the generosity of two ChiArts parents – Jon and Lisa Seda – 54 theatre students attended a performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton on June 1. The opportunity created such excitement, generating a waiting list of students hoping to catch the chance to see this Tony-award winning production. 

This is one of several ways Jon Seda, an actor known for his roles in Chicago Justice, P.D., and Fire, among others, hopes to give back to the community. With an interest in providing opportunities for youth, Seda hopes to lift economic barriers and provide students with life-altering experiences such as seeing this world-class production. In hopes of furthering his efforts to serve Chicago youth, Seda recently began a non-profit organization, The Boxing Theater Foundation, an idea inspired by his passion and involvement in the sport which began long before his on-screen career and his passion for the arts. The foundation will help expose other non-profit organizations throughout the city of Chicago that encourage and invest in today’s youth through various artistic opportunities and help in creating tomorrow’s Champions “One Round at a Time.”

 

Visual Artists Present Bold Disobedience Exhibition

From June 23 until September 2, our Visual Artists will be presenting works on resistance and protest in the group exhibition, Bold Disobedience at Weinberg/Newton Gallery! This is the first time our VA scholar-artists are featured in a gallery alongside professional artists. Huge congrats to the seven scholar-artists selected: Thalia Agosto (Class of 2019), Natalie Aparicio (Class of 2017), Evan Calabrese (Class of 2017), Maya Halko (Class of 2018), Josue Herrera (Class of 2019), Zachary Huff (Class of 2019), and Raven Smith (Class of 2018). These emerging artists created pieces using all different types of mediums, reflecting topics such as gentrification in the Pilsen community, police brutality, LGBTQ culture, capitalism, and many more works that exhibit “a call to participate in civic action.” For artist biographies and more information, click here

Bold Disobedience is presented in collaboration with the Mikva Challenge, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, and ChiArts’ Visual Arts Department Head, Whitney Bradshaw.

Exhibition Dates: June 23 – September 2nd, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

ChiArts Welcomes 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Tyehimba Jess

The Creative Writing Conservatory is thrilled to welcome Tyehimba Jess, a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner. On June 19 from 6:00-7:00 PM, a free public reading and talk will be hosted in the ChiArts Black Box Theatre. Jess’s book Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He is the 6th African American to have such an honor and does so during the year long celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks 100th birthday, who was the 1st African American to win the Pulitzer prize for her book Annie Allen in 1950. Please join us for this special event.

Want to learn more about Tyehimba Jess? Click here!

University of Michigan–Flint is Conducting a Social Media Audit

This June, graduate students from the University of Michigan–Flint are conducting a social media audit to evaluate our digital communication strategies. At the end of the month, the team of graduates will present a report of their findings to help us communicate effectively online!

Your input is greatly appreciated. Simply take this quick survey by Wednesday, June 14th. Thank you so much for your time!

Not familiar with our social accounts? Follow ChiArts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

ChiArts Welcomes Annie Calhoun as the New Theatre Department Head

We are thrilled to welcome Annie Calhoun as our new Theatre Department Head. She was a founding teacher at ChiArts and has a deep love for the school’s mission. She will succeed Rob Chambers, our Founding Theatre Department Head, who is moving to Arizona to lead the theatre department at Arizona School for the Arts.

Ms. Calhoun holds degrees in education and theatre. She returns to Chicago after five years teaching, directing and performing in Los Angeles. In LA, Ms. Calhoun taught and directed at the Professional, Collegiate (USC), and High School (LA County HS for the Arts) levels; she also founded an inner city theatre program for middle schoolers in South LA. She is a playwright whose pieces have been performed on stages all over Los Angeles and an actor whose work ranges from theater and film, to improv and stand up comedy.

A Chicago native, she is rooted in our values of play, ensemble, high standards and creative new work. The breadth and depth of her expertise in education and theatre offer a vast array of skills from classroom management and facilitating diversity, equity & inclusion to building ensemble among students and staff, and measuring student growth outcomes. Ms. Calhoun will begin her tenure in the fall for the 2017-18 school year!

Creative Writing Hosts Fatimah Asghar, Franny Choi and Tarfia Faizullah

We started off National Poetry Month with a powerful panel of women writers, performers and teaching artists! Fatimah Asghar (Dark Noise Collective, Helen Zell Writers’ Program), Franny Choi (Dark Noise Collective, Project VOICE) and Tarfia Faizullah (Organic Weapon Arts Publishing, University of Michigan Professor) visited our Creative Writing students for a Q & A session, master class and open mic performance.

 On March 31, students listened, laughed and discussed their personal writing styles and goals with our guests. Our Creative Writers asked about topics ranging from college programs and artistic solitude to self-criticism. Tarfia explained, “I don’t know if I believe in good or bad writing. When I think of “good” or “bad”, I just ask myself… is it alive?” These three writers challenged our students with unfiltered answers, detailed writing exercises and workshops on “how to trust our instincts as writers.” Thank you, Fatimah, Franny and Tarfia for sharing your beautiful words and work with our students! Check out our favorite insights from these incredible women:

ChiArts Senior Visual Artists to exhibit at MANA CONTEMPORARY

For the fourth year in a row, MANA Contemporary will host The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts®) Visual Art Department’s Senior Showcase Exhibition. The special exhibition will include original works made by this year’s graduating students from the Class of 2017, and will be on view from April 21 – April 30, 2017. A public reception will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 from 6PM-9PM.

The Senior Showcase is the culminating exhibition of a ChiArts visual art student’s high school career. The works on view will include selections from students’ year-long thesis investigations as part of their Major AP Studio Art Course. ChiArts’ Visual Arts Department offers the following majors: Drawing/Painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Visual Communications. Students will also exhibit works made in their elective courses, including Digital Media, Wearable Sculpture, Sequential Art and Contemporary Practices: Performance and Installation.

ChiArts thanks Columbia College Chicago for loaning their exhibition walls for ChiArts’ use in this exhibit and MANA Contemporary for hosting this exhibition. Read the full press release: ChiArts Senior Visual Artists to Exhibit at MANA Contemporary.

ChiArts Visual Arts Department Senior Showcase Exhibition 2017
April 21 – April 30, 2017
Public Reception: April 21st, 6 – 9PM

ChiArts’ Visual Arts Class of 2017:

Kaelyn Andrade
Gabriel Antos
Natalie Aparicio
Sam Barber Kennedy
Gregory Buckner
Evan Calabrese
Guadalupe Campos
Anieya Cauthen
Yasmeen Cisneros
Cameron Collins
Meka Cruz
Seann Dunham
Jordon Eason
Maya Franklin
Srinidi Gopal
Tyler Jackson
Trinitty Jeffries
Steven Jones
Nefertari Louden
Cassandra Magana
Christian Martinez
Alexander Payne
Carri Ponder
Deborah Pozo-Tovar
Andrea Reyes
Ricardo Rivera
Marlina Romero-Saulsberry
Carolina Sandoval
Chyanne Spencer
Molly Sullivan
Pierson Talbott
Cassandra Magana