Countless education, cultural and philanthropic leaders have worked tirelessly for over half a century on ways to get arts instruction back into Chicago classrooms. In 2008, The Wallace Foundation published Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination, which explored the state of arts education in urban districts nationwide. Chicago's need for improvement was clear.
Soon after, more than 200 of Chicago's largest museums, cultural institutions and neighborhood arts organizations joined district leaders, principals and teachers from Chicago Public Schools and leading foundations and corporations to form the Chicago Arts Learning Initiative (CALI), with the goal of developing a plan for expanding arts in schools citywide.
After 18 months of stakeholder and community engagement, CALI issued its report, Collaborating for Change: Expanding Arts Learning in Chicago. In 2011, from this collective movement, Ingenuity was born to lead the work.
Ingenuity's work is guided by the principles of partnership and collaboration.
In 2011, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered the creation of the first Chicago Cultural Plan in 25 years. After 35 neighborhood town hall sessions led by the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the plan was unveiled in September 2012. The people of Chicago made the plan's top priority more arts in schools.
In 2012, Ingenuity helped capitalize on this call by driving the creation of the first Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan in partnership with the CPS Department of Arts Education. As a result of this district-wide Plan, major policies have been advanced:
These monumental policy changes were steps in the right direction, but they only marked the beginning of our work. Since 2012, Ingenuity has been focused on working with CPS and external partners to implement the Plan with funds raised through the Creative School Initiative.