Dozens of students from throughout CPS are now seeing their artwork displayed in one of the country’s finest art schools.
“It’s a nice opportunity for us to be showcased at a real art school,” said Gerald, a student artist from Kenwood Academy. “It helps us channel broad perspectives and learn to communicate our ideas to the public.”
Gerald is one of 60 CPS art students whose work is now on display as part of the All-City Visual Arts Senior Portfolio Exhibition. Located at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), this street-level exhibit gives thousands of Loop travelers a glimpse of original artwork as they turn the corner at Wabash and Monroe.
“To see their art displayed as it would be in a museum or gallery allows students to see themselves as the artists they are and sets the standard of professionalism they will need for the next stage of their careers,” said Helen McElroy, Project Manager for the CPS Arts Department.
The exhibit opened on January 10 and will run throughout the month. Seniors from 26 CPS high schools submitted art portfolios - 10-15 pieces of original work meant to showcase the breadth of their abilities in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and various other art forms. Often, the pieces submitted for this exhibition double as college application portfolios for senior art students.
While each student’s portfolio represents an individual school, many of the student artists submitted work they had created as part of the Advanced Arts Program – a unique opportunity that allows high school students to hone their artistic talents during the school day.
“This is a safe space for creative expression and fosters a citywide community of college-bound artists,” said Helen McElroy. “We have college-level depth of instruction, which is enhanced by our local access to institutions of higher education and the arts.”
Students participating in the Advanced Arts Program travel to Chicago’s Gallery 37 each afternoon, where they enjoy two hours of studio time in the visual arts, graphic design, music, theater, or the culinary arts. This audition-based program draws over 200 students per year from throughout the city and maintains an honors or AP-level curriculum.
“It’s great. It’s the most useful tool offered to me,” said Mike, a student at Von Stuben High School who participates in the Advanced Arts Program. “It’s opened my mind to new career options and different materials.”
Many students hope that their exposure in the Senior Arts Expo will lead to college scholarships for the fall. In 2013, CPS students received just over $3 million in arts scholarships from partner universities such as the SAIC, the University of Illinois, and Columbia College of Chicago. Scholarship awards will be presented in April 2014.