CHICAGO – This year marks the 10th anniversary of Chicago’s leading arts education institution, Ingenuity. Since founding in 2011, Ingenuity’s core strategies in data, advocacy, grant-making, and partnerships and learning have helped advance the most progress in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) arts education in 40 years.

Ingenuity hopes to drive awareness and resources to support the next decade of arts education progress through their 10th anniversary event, Ingenity@10: Igniting Equity in Arts Education. Featuring world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, and CPS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Janice Jackson, this live virtual event will pay tribute to the 1,400 CPS arts teachers and 600 active arts organizations Ingenuity serves, and ignite equity in arts education for the 340,000 CPS students and 642 schools the organization collectively impacts each year.

“Much has changed in 10 years, but what remains certain is Ingenuity’s commitment to supporting Chicago’s arts education sector,” said Ingenuity Executive Director Paul Sznewajs. “We are excited to celebrate 10 years of accomplishments made by our students, educators, and partners, and most importantly to raise support for the next decade of progress in arts education.”

Born out of a city-wide initiative to improve Chicago’s struggling arts education offerings, Ingenuity was founded by leaders of Chicago’s arts sector to help transform the CPS arts education ecosystem. It’s mission — to ensure that every student, in every grade, in every CPS school has access to high quality arts education — has fueled a 10-year run of unprecedented arts education progress in Chicago.

As Ingenuity celebrates its 10th year, the organization invites supporters to recognize all that they have achieved together over the last decade: 

  • Today, 75,000 more CPS students have access to the arts as part of well-rounded education compared to 10 years ago, with a 97% increase in the number of CPS schools providing access to high quality arts programming over the past decade. 
  • In 2020, Illinois became the first state in the nation to include the arts as a distinct, weighted indicator of K-12 success in its school accountability system — a direct result of Ingenuity’s advocacy efforts with Arts Alliance Illinois and other community partners.
  • 500+ CPS schools have received nearly $16 million in Creative Schools Fund grants to support high quality arts programming during the school day, impacting nearly 200,000 CPS students.
  • Ingenuity’s annual State of the Arts in CPS report is now used by District leaders and local, state, and national partners to measure collective progress toward arts education equity and access and identify areas of improvement each year.
  • Arts teachers, partners, teaching artists, and school administrators in CPS and across the country use artlook®, Ingenuity’s online arts education data platform, to access comprehensive, real-time arts data and insights to support their work.

Hosted on May 18 at 6 p.m. CT, Ingenuity@10 will celebrate these remarkable impacts made in arts education over this past decade and drive support for continued progress. Led by key sponsors, including the Margot & Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation, Nancy and Steve Crown and The Crown Family, Exelon, Jim & Kay Mabie, and Capital Group, funds raised through Ingenuity@10 will provide vital support for Ingenuity’s work, allowing Ingenuity to uplift the arts education sector, maximize their collective impact on CPS students, and close the arts education gap.

“The last 10 years have given us many reasons to celebrate,” said Ingenuity Board Chair Francia Harrington. “Ingenuity has played a major role in Chicago’s dramatic improvements in arts education access, quality, and equity, and we look forward to working with the District, city and school leadership, CPS parents, arts teachers, partners, and funders to ensure the next 10 years bring even more arts progress for Chicago’s children.”


About Ingenuity
Ingenuity is a backbone arts education 501(c)(3) with core programs in data, advocacy, grant-making, and professional learning. The organization’s collective-impact approach to arts advocacy drives partnerships, insights, and investments in the arts for 350,000 students in Chicago Public Schools. A nationally-recognized arts advocacy leader, Ingenuity has advanced the most progress in CPS arts education in 40 years. Learn more at

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