Countless education, cultural, and philanthropic leaders have worked tirelessly over four decades 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 to develop 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 is Chicago's first city-wide organization committed to coordinating information and resources toward the common goal of improving and expanding arts education in Chicago. Ingenuity's work is guided by the principles of partnership and collaboration.
Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan
In 2011, 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 the new district-wide Plan, major policies have been advanced:
These monumental policy changes are a step in the right direction, but they only mark the beginning of our work. Ingenuity is now focused on working with CPS and with external partners to implement the Plan through the Creative School Initiative and with funds raised through Be Creative: The Campaign for Chicago Arts Education.