Welcome Letter from Principal Wang

Dear ChiArts Students and Family,

Welcome to school year 2017-18! As we enter our ninth year as an organization, I would to like celebrate just a couple of our achievements. For the third year in a row, we have been recognized as a top high school by US News and World Report. This past year, our first scholar-artists, the Class of 2013, became our first college graduates. I’m excited at what we have achieved and look forward to what our future holds. Starting off this year, there are a few things for families to note:

  • PowerSchool has replaced TeacherEase as our Parent/Student Portal. Information on how to access chiarts.powerschool.com can be found in our electronic newsletters and under the ‘Parent Resources’ tab.
  • New Bell Schedule adopted allowing for a common lunch periods. We piloted this schedule last year with great success. Both students and teachers appreciated the opportunity to break up our long school day, additional time to meet with students outside a traditional class setting, and the ability to run student organizations/activities.
  • Arts Exploration Days scheduled on November 21 and April 19. For the first time in the history of ChiArts, we will be running a modified schedule to allow students to explore art forms in other conservatories. More details to come soon.
  • Back to School Night is scheduled for Thursday, August 31st from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. This event highlights our academic program and is a great opportunity to meet teachers, get a peek of what our courses offer, and simply to put faces to names. Our fantastic Parent Support Organization (PS0) will also be on hand to share ways to get involved.

As an organization, we at ChiArts are grateful for the diversity that each and every student brings to our school. We recognize that while our world is often fraught with ignorance, violence, and racism, it is our duty to foster a safe, diverse and civically engaged school community. As we reflect on these core beliefs and plan for the future, we have rededicated our practice to compassion and understanding.

Thank you for believing in ChiArts.

Sincerely,

Michael Wang, Principal

ChiArts Hosts Second Annual Summer Camps

The building was buzzing with young scholar-artists this summer! Over 100 students from our three summer camps (Exploratory, ChiArts Jr., and Summer Dance Intensive) completed their final showcases this past July. 

The second annual Exploratory Summer Camp was themed ‘People, Places, and Things’ and campers worked on building their creative skills in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Our ChiArts Jr. students (6-8th grade) trained five hours each day in the conservatory of their choice! With performances of original songs to acting exercise demonstrations, we’re excited for these young scholar-artists to continue their artistic journeys. In addition to our Friday summer camp showcases, the Summer Dance Intensive performed on July 22 in the ChiArts Auditorium. This summer also marked the inaugural ChiArts Band and Guitar Camps. Check out some of our highlights below!

City of Chicago Announces Rising Star Honor Roll

On July 13, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced the 4th Annual Fifth Star Honors! The event celebrates the contributions of four Chicago artistic giants, Common, Jeanne Gang, Kerry James Marshall, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Three of our scholar-artists will be honored in the City of Chicago’s Rising Star Honor Roll as well!

The City of Chicago “will recognize 25 outstanding young artists as members of the Rising Star Honor Roll.” ChiArts is proud to announce that Damayanti Wallace (Creative Writing Major) will be honored for Literary Arts, Jayda Perry for Dance, and Freedom Martin for Theatre. These three scholar-artists have shown exceptional leadership and passion within the arts and will be inducted in an awards ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on Monday, August 28. For more information, visit www.fifthstarhonors.org.

 

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.