This March, ChiArts presents Tony Award nominated, BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL. With music by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel and Amanda Green, BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL will be a vocally explosive experience. In addition to a “Best Musical” Tony nomination, the show received a nod for “Best Choreography” which is showcased through incredible cheerleading routines and high energy musical numbers. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL will run March 2, 3, and 7-10, with performances beginning at 7:00 PM and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. All performances are in the ChiArts Auditorium.
Every year, our Creative Writing Conservatory continues to expand through new courses, faculty and innovative programming to engage the interests of every student at ChiArts. In addition to producing new Rapcademy evening showcases this year, the conservatory is thrilled to announce their first-ever writing festival, the Senior Lit Fest on Saturday, May 11. This all-day event consists of immersive presentations of original work throughout the ChiArts building by the 2019 graduating class of Creative Writers. More details to come!
CHICAGO, IL (October 17, 2018)— The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) is proud to announce a collaboration with major film studio, 20th Century Fox. On November 2, the long-awaited Queen and Freddie Mercury film, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, will be released to theaters nationwide. In response to the great impact Freddie Mercury has had on pop and rock culture, youth empowerment, and AIDS awareness, ChiArts has produced a music video extravaganza starring scholar-artists from the ChiArts Dance Conservatory. Featuring a medley of Queen songs including Under Pressure, Somebody to Love, and Don’t Stop Me Now, ChiArts students dance through a young man’s world where he is yearning to express his individuality and artistic creativity. Despite society pushing him in different directions, he breaks free with the help of a new friend.
ChiArts is grateful for this newfound collaboration with 20th Century Fox. Because of their incredible support, ChiArts will be premiering the music video “Killer Queen,” at a special pre-screening event of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY at the AMC River East in downtown Chicago later this month. With original choreography by ChiArts Dance Instructor, Brandon DiCriscio, this one-of-a-kind opportunity marks the first ChiArts-directed, filmed, designed, and self-produced music video. As ChiArts is a public arts high school, with college prep academics in the morning and tuition-free pre-professional arts training in the afternoon, our community teaches and learns on a foundation of compassion and inclusivity. We aim to amplify the voices of our scholar-artists. While reflecting on the legacy of Queen, we think of youth who are creating revolutions here in Chicago and around the world. We hope that this music video tribute inspires young artists to be their best queen.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. #BohemianRhapsody
The Chicago High School for the Arts is thrilled to announce Greer A. Reed as the new Dance Department Head. As Dance Department Head, Ms. Reed will work with the Executive Director and Principal to continue on the path of establishing a nationally recognized dance department that serves pre-professional advanced and motivated novice dancers. Ms. Reed joins ChiArts from her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA where she was instructing grades 6-12th at the Pittsburgh Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) High School. Ms. Reed brings decades of experience with professional dance companies, as well as a successful track record in implementing culturally responsive education programming. Ms. Reed is regarded as a trailblazer in her professional career as a dancer, company founder, and well-renowned youth mentor. She has been recognized with awards such as the Urban Heroes Award for her contributions to the Pittsburgh community, the History Makers Award for her dedication to young people, and the Pittsburgh Creativity Project Award for creating the Reed Dance Intensive.
As a young professional dancer, Ms. Reed trained with the Pittsburgh Black Theater Dance Ensemble, attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and worked in New York City with the Dance Theater of Harlem. Ms. Reed became a company member of the universally renowned Ailey II, as well as the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in Ohio, where she rose to principal status. After retiring as a professional dancer in 2001, Ms. Reed continues to receive recognition as an arts leader, for her commitment to education and mentorship of young dancers.
Prior to serving as a faculty member at CAPA, Ms. Reed was the Artistic & Education Director for Dance Alloy Theater (now Kelly Strayhorn Theater), which was one of Pittsburgh’s premier modern dance companies. Additionally, she founded and led the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, the center’s resident dance company, after receiving an August Wilson Center Fellowship. The ensemble was named one of the “Top 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine and eventually transitioned into Reed Dance. Ms. Reed has greatly impacted dance and youth arts communities nationwide, and we are honored to welcome her into the ChiArts community.
In the classroom, Ms. Reed focuses dance curricula on academic quality, technique, and cultural experiences that reveal a transparency of thoughtfulness, refinement, and holistic teaching. As the 2018-2019 academic year begins, we are excited to welcome Ms. Reed’s transformational teaching into our dance studios and classrooms here at ChiArts– taking our Dance Conservatory scholar-artists to new heights.
Registration is required of all students. If you have not yet made it into the office to register for the 2018-19 school year, you will have to do so no later than Wednesday, August 8th.
Returning students may stop in on Wednesday, August 8th between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM to complete registration. You should come prepared with two items of proof of residency (i.e. utility bills, drivers license, vehicle registration.) If you are unable to come in during those times, contact Mr. Baxter at (773) 534-9710 ext. 12195 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Freshmen students and transfers who have not completed the registration process must contact Ms. Marsh at (773) 534-9718 or email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Seniors must have their new vaccination records in no later than September!
-FRESHMEN SUMMER INSTITUTE-
New students will be attending our three-day Summer Institute from Wednesday, August 8th to Friday, August 10th. This is the perfect time for incoming scholar-artists to become familiar with their teachers, academic classes, and the ChiArts conservatory schedule. Activities include ChiArts themed ice-breakers, meet and greets with faculty, and attending conservatory classes to get ready for the fun-filled year.
Students are welcome to enter the building through Door 7 along Augusta Boulevard starting at 8:45 AM. Once each student has checked in, they will meet their advisor who will show them to their rooms and help each student understand their schedule. It is during this morning shift of 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM that students will be receiving their school planners, locker assignments, locks, and student email logins.
The students will be shown to the lunchroom at noon and provided school lunches. Students are welcome to pack a lunch if they would prefer.
From 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM students will head to conservatory — dancers should bring dance clothes/uniforms with them to school on these days. All students are encouraged to bring water bottles from home to remain hydrated throughout the school day as well! Students will be dismissed at 4:00.
-UNDERSTANDING THE BLOCK SCHEDULE-
New students and families who may be unfamiliar with a block schedule may want to review how our school days work.
An ordinary school day begins at 8:00 AM and consists of a student attending 3 academic courses and Study Hall or Advisory before going to lunch. After lunch, students attend conservatory classes until being dismissed for the day at 5:00 PM. Each school week consists of Odd Days and Even Days: on Odd Days, students will attend Class 1, 3, and 5; on Even Days, students will attend Class 2, 4, and 6.
In addition to their academic courses each morning, students will attend Study Hall or Advisory. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, students attend Study Hall; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they would instead report to their Advisory. A visualization of a typical block schedule is included below.
-FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, AUGUST 13-
Now that you understand the block schedule, toss it aside for a moment — the first day of school will be running on a slightly different schedule! Because returning students will still need to receive their schedules, everyone will first report to their Advisory. The entire schedule for the first day of school will run as follows:
8:00 AM – 9:10 AM: Advisory
9:15 AM – 10:25 AM: Block 1
10:30 AM – 11:40 AM: Block 3
11:45 AM – 12:55 PM: Block 5
1:00 PM – 1:55 PM: Lunch
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Conservatory
Lunches will continue to be provided for each student, and shuttles will be running for students who have signed up to take them. Ventra cards will be available for students in the main office for five dollars for any student interested in taking public transit; once activated, the cards are charged a discounted student fare.
-PURCHASING SCHOOL SUPPLIES-
We’re encouraging families to hold off on purchasing all of their supplies until the second day of school so that they have a complete syllabus from each class. Each teacher will be providing a syllabus with the materials they’d like students to have on the first day of class, so keep your eyes peeled for these!
If you have questions in the coming weeks, ask! Our school staff is here to help!
Principal Michael Wang
(773) 534-9710 ext. 12222
Assistant Principal Abbey Cullen
(773) 534-9710 ext. 12198
We are proud to announce expansion of our academic leadership team! Abbey Cullen, current Dean of Operations, will be leading academic responsibilities, curriculum development, and supporting Principal Michael Wang in a newly formed Assistant Principal role. In 2012, Ms. Cullen joined the ChiArts community as a World History teacher where she she fell in love with the mission of the school; diversifying the arts in Chicago while broadening the horizons of scholar-artists. In 2016, Ms. Cullen transferred to the ChiArts administration team as the Dean of Operations, where she’s played an active role in ensuring that the day-to-day needs of the ChiArts community are met. Throughout the past six years, ChiArts has grown because of Ms. Cullen’s leadership, passion, and commitment to accessibility in academic and arts education.
Ms. Cullen has developed a creative and flexible approach to finding solutions given ChiArts’ unique focus on educating the scholar-artist while also operating as a successful nonprofit. Now as the Assistant Principal, Ms. Cullen is thrilled to expand her work at ChiArts into curriculum development and working to advance the school’s vision.
Prior to starting at ChiArts in 2012, Ms. Cullen was the World History teacher at Gordon Tech HS (now DePaul College Prep) while continuing post grad research at Loyola University. She later earned her Secondary Education Teaching License, and a Masters of Education, with a Principal License from DePaul University.
On February 27th, the ChiArts’ Creative Writing and Theatre conservatories spent the afternoon with acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, Steppenwolf ensemble member, and actor, Tracy Letts. With a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award under his belt, Mr. Letts is also having a stand-out year on screen with roles in two 2018 Academy Award Best Picture nominees, Lady Bird and The Post. As Mr. Letts walked into the ChiArts Black Box Theatre, scholar-artists filled every seat, floor space, with little to no standing room available. Theatre Major and 2018 August Wilson Monologue winner, Nia Sarfo, welcomed Mr. Letts and conducted a memorable interview covering topics such as mastering nerves to the value of finding confidence as an artist. When asked for advice he’d give to young actors and writers, Mr. Letts reinforced the importance of creating your own opportunities; “Do it yourself. You shouldn’t ever feel like someone should give you permission to work.”
When you first meet Mr. Letts, his authenticity and curiosity captivates. Throughout the question and answer portion, scholar-artists seemed to appreciate his honest and humorous advice. In response to questions on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Mr. Letts said “I think it changed people’s perception of me. I feel like people think I’m smarter than I am. But, I hope you all win one! It’s fun to have.” On a more serious note, Letts connected success with tenacity and patience. “Stick to it. Just keep doing it. Outlast them. It took me a long time to value what it means to be an artist in this city. To call yourself an artist is a very valuable thing.” After taking the time to personally interact with scholar-artists after the interview, Mr. Letts met with ChiArts’ improv troupe and joined in games that included conga lines, Shakespeare lines, and lots of laughter. After the improv games and to begin Mr. Lett’s tour of ChiArts, Nia Sarfo performed her winning monologue from the August Wilson Monologue Competition finals.
After the featured interview, Mr. Letts had an opportunity to engage with Theatre and Creative Writing classes. The tour ended with a visit to the Visual Arts Sophomore Show in ChiArts Gallery. With Creative Writer, Damayanti Wallace, and Nia Sarfo leading the tour, along with Executive & Artistic Director, José Ochoa, and ChiArts Board Members Jim and Kay Mabie, ChiArts was grateful for Mr. Letts’ time and support of arts education. When asked by scholar-artists on why he was interested in visiting ChiArts, Mr. Letts responded with “I look around at your faces and I see the future. That’s why I’m here.”
ChiArts would like to sincerely thank the private donor who provided this incredible learning opportunity for our scholar-artists and faculty.
We’re incredibly proud to present our largest production yet, Les Misérables. With over 50 cast and crew members, join us for this unforgettable story of redemption, duty, and love.
Production Run- January 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00 PM
Final matinee on Sunday, January 21 at 3:00 PM
Have you seen the ChiArts Les Mis flash mob? Check out our amazing cast!
We’re hosting a food drive-
The cast of Les Mis invites audience members to bring a non-perishable food item to drop in the lobby with NHS volunteers before they see the show! This is not required but highly encouraged. The themes of the show, which center around the working class, have inspired this food drive donation.
On November 29, The National YoungArts Foundation recognized Freedom Martin (Theatre ‘19) and Pierson Talbott (Visual Arts ‘17) as 2018 YoungArts Winners. This in an incredible accomplishment as Freedom and Pierson were selected from one of “the most competitive pool of applications to date” and are among the 171 young artists in the nation that were named Finalists, the organization’s highest honor. They are following the footsteps of YoungArts alumni such as Viola Davis, Josh Groban, Tarell A. McCraney, Doug Aitken, and Kerry Washington.
The National YoungArts Foundation provides winners with a lifetime of educational, financial, and professional development opportunities. From mentorship programs with well renowned artists, to showcasing work at institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, we’re thrilled for Freedom and Pierson to grow with this amazing network of artists. As Finalists, both scholar-artists have the opportunity to attend the 37th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami from January 7-14. We look forward to following their artistic journeys and cheering them on every step of the way! For more information regarding the National YoungArts Foundation, click here.