CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced that $450,000 of the $1 million dedicated to expanding arts education will go directly to 45 CPS schools to advance arts education in the classroom. This is the inaugural grant making cycle for the Creative Schools Fund, which was developed by Ingenuity with the support of the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Public Schools, and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Fund provides schools with an opportunity to supplement classroom instruction by expanding arts offerings through strategic partnerships during the school day. Joined by Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Soprano Renée Fleming, Mayor Emanuel emphasized the importance of the Fund.

“These grant funds are another resource in our comprehensive arts education plan that provides strong policy, funding, and a data driven system to track progress at all of our schools in offering high quality creative learning opportunities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “These funds will complement the work of classroom teachers in growing Chicago’s next generation of leaders, artists and culturally engaged residents.”

The Fund is divided into three tiers—Arts Essentials, Arts Advance, and Arts Innovate—and is designed to award grants directly to schools with arts instructors seeking to expand their school’s arts offerings. The school-based certified arts instructors work with their principals to determine how best to enhance their school’s arts curriculum. Most of the 187 teacher applicants addressed the process by seeking an arts partner who could help them to add a discipline to the school’s arts curriculum.

“We are very pleased with the diversity of the awardees and their projects, and believe strongly in putting the power of choice into the hands of schools’ certified arts instructors,” said Sydney Sidwell, Associate Director at Ingenuity and manager of the Creative Schools Fund. “With this Fund, we will be able to make and evaluate investments directly into schools, with programming being driven at the school level,” she said.

Arts Innovate and Arts Advance grant recipients will be notified of their grants on December 12, 2013. The grants range from $6,000-15,000 and will be used to provide programs in the second semester of the 2013-14 school year. The Creative Schools Fund supports the broader Creative Schools Initiative, a set of four interconnected components meant to incentivize schools to prioritize the arts while holding schools and the District accountable for ensuring that arts are taught in the classroom.

For more information on the Creative Schools Fund, visit:

Arts Innovate Grantee
John Spry Elementary School is located in the Little Village Community and almost 50% of its students are English Language Learners.

Spry teachers will use the Arts Innovate grant from the Creative Schools Fund to collaborate with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) and provide instruction in theater that supports English language acquisition.  Students will receive instruction in acting, will work as a theater ensemble and develop a performance for the school community.  The grant will help the school expand its arts education program by adding theater to its current music and visual arts education offerings, and deepen the schools capacity to integrate arts into the curriculum.

Arts Advance Grantee
Frank Gillespie School has a visual arts teacher but does not have a fully developed music education program.

Gillespie has been awarded an Arts Advance grant from the Creative Schools Fund to integrate music instruction into its technology curriculum.  Students will learn music theory, and create and produce original music using professional music software and a production studio.  Street Level Youth Media will support the Gillespie teachers and students by providing music and media arts expertise along with access to software and music production equipment.

Contact Us

Interested in learning more about what you read above or Ingenuity? Don't hesitate to reach out!

Contact Us