_Wheaton Academy; We Teach & Learn Sumptin!

Our plans to work as much outside of the gallery as possible this year, including working with a variety of community’s,  schools and youth groups around the Nation facilitating murals with a number of different artists is well underway. The beginning of that for us was this past Friday 1/13. We recently hosted a lecture,workshop and brief guided tour around the city with a class of select students from Wheaton Academy High School from the Chicago suburbs. This is something that we have been looking forward to for some time now and is the launching pad for our first big project with an at-risk school district in Savannah, Georgia that we are  planning for next month.

We met with Catherine Tilly and her class of  14 select high school art students on Friday afternoon. They rolled up in the freezing cold and snow in their amazing ‘short bus’ full of energy and ready to see some of what they have been covering in its natural environment. In the frigid Chicago temperatures, following our first big snowfall of the year, we trekked around  the North West side Chicago neighborhoods taking a look at some of the public sanctioned art found all along the way. We were sure to stop through the Augusta permission wall/alley over at Wolcott and Augusta in the Ukrainian Village. On the walk we discussed legal works, illegal works, advertising and postering as well as the sticker culture which is obvious at every turn, as just about every stop sign and newspaper box is covered with postal’s and hand-made vinyl images. Back at the gallery we reviewed particular pieces from the Teebs ‘Lady Luck’ exhibition as well as looked at of some of the works from our personal collection, representing artists from both the contemporary street-art world to that of the realm of fine art. Then back on the bus for the rest of the tour. Even the locals couldn’t believe a bus of kids from Wheaton had come all the way to the city to view graffiti. An elderly Logan Square resident was dumbfounded to say the least when informed by the students of the reasons behind their trip as she trudged through the knee-high snow from her car to doorstep. We can only hope this is the beginning of a few projects in conjunction with Wheaton Academy and hopefully, eventually, the Chicago Public Schools. Thanks to Wheaton Academy, the amazing Mrs. Tilly and to all the students who dealt with us on a freezing Friday afternoon.

For us, this lecture served as a precursor to our upcoming project with Savannah College of Art and Design, Education Alive!and the Savannah-Chatham County School Board where we will be working with a few notorious street/graffiti artists on a project with the inner city schools. For the first project, we will be engaging the at-risk youth of the Historical Windsor Forest High School and the Historic Hubert Middle School in Savannah, Ga with a mural project headlined by notorious Chicago street artist Nice-One. If you are interested in helping to support this project, help us as we hope to raise as much money as possible to complete both these projects and possibly plan a few more at other schools. The people at Education Alive! and SCAD are also working on fundraisers alongside the students and administration of the participating schools. Here is a link to go to a ‘kick-starter’ if interested in donating funds to the project.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/littleface/the-pawn-works-mural-initiative-in-savannah

Photos by Brock Brake.