CHICAGO – Ingenuity recently announced that $1.5M in competitive grants, and almost $2.5M total was distributed directly to Chicago’s public schools by the Creative Schools Fund. Ingenuity’s Fund has invested over $7.6M in CPS arts education programming, facilities, materials and supplies in just the past 4 years.

The 2016-17 Creative Schools Fund is supporting schools through three initiatives:

  • $120,000 in teacher professional development
  • $851,000 in Arts Essentials to 581 schools for purchases of art supplies and materials
  • $1.5M in grants to 141 schools to support arts partnerships and capacity building

The 141 competitive grants went to schools in every CPS network and will reach over 30,000 students at every grade level. The winning proposals range from adding or deepening arts disciplines, to building the capacity of teachers to teach multi-disciplinary arts subjects, and developing program models that can be used by additional CPS schools in the future.

More than 300 schools typically apply. This year, Ingenuity received $2.30 in requests for every $1.00 available. Although more difficult to get applications from, Ingenuity prioritized grant making to “arts poor” networks, and used schools’ Creative Schools Certification categories to prioritize Emerging and Developing schools over those Strong and Excelling in the arts.

“We found that the Creative Schools Fund’s grants have the most impact among schools whose investments in arts instruction are still developing or just emerging,” said Paul Sznewajs Ingenuity’s Executive Director. “As we continue to evaluate Fund grantees, we’ll develop our programs to meet their needs, which include partnering with community organizations and an arts instructor at the center of student instruction.”

A 16-person external review committee was responsible for evaluating applications. Members include CPS teachers, district administrators, art therapists, arts grant-makers, arts educators and consultants; who are also visual artists, musicians, writers, and participants in theater and media arts.


Ingenuity is Chicago’s single hub for data, strategy, advocacy and partnerships related to arts education. Ingenuity works with City and Chicago Public Schools leadership, hundreds of cultural institutions and arts organizations, higher education leaders, Chicago’s philanthropic community, CPS’ Department of Arts Education, principals and certified teachers, as well as parents and students toward the goal of ensuring a quality arts education for every CPS student.

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