Category Archives: Art Works

Stepping Stones

Summer was a whirlwind at ArtReach! In late July and early August, ArtReach Teaching Artist Rochelle Borrett, a practicing artist and arts educator for more than 20 years, made mosaic stepping stones with a group of students from Teamwork Englewood. Teamwork Englewood is an organization dedicated to unifying organizations that serve the Englewood community in order to build a stronger local community. Here are bite-sized samples of their creations…

Fine Fine Art at AGC

This summer, students at the Academy for Global Citizenship had the opportunity to curate their very own works of art. The school grounds – both inside and out – was decorated with pinatas, mobiles, portraits, paintings, collages, and much more. With the guidance of Jenni Schneiderman and ArtReach teaching artists John Dickson, Aaron Schleichkorn, Meaghan Burritt and Mary Drabik, the young artists put up a spectacular display of creative expression.


The Fellowship House

Last month, ArtReach teaching artists Judy Huppert and Melissa Leandro led a ceramics workshop with Chicago Youth Centers at The Fellowship House.  Fitting well with the mission of ArtReach to bring art experiences and resources to under-served communities throughout Chicago, CYC Fellowship House in Bridgeport “is dedicated to improving the lives of low-income, at-risk children and teens through a variety of innovative and effective programs—from early childhood education to and through college.” As Chicago’s largest independent, locally based, multi-site youth services organization, CYC does important work at its 8 neighborhood centers on the South and West Sides of Chicago. Here are some snapshots of the students’ brilliant work and the inspiring space of The Fellowship House.






Out With the Old & In With the New

On a chilly Wednesday morning, 5 ArtReach teachers, volunteers, and interns arrived at the John C. Coonley Elementary School. Typically, ArtReach would arrive at Coonley bearing bags of clay and jars of underglaze.This time, however, these 5 brave souls carried hammers, chisels and grinding tools. Wearing protective goggles and masks, they painstakingly chiseled and hammered on the old mosaic on the Coonley planters for more than three hours until it could be completely removed. Once the old tiles were taken out, brand new mosaic tiles designed by Coonley students were carefully placed on the planters and lined with more colorful ceramic tiles. The next day, even the rain couldn’t stop the team from finishing the work. With umbrellas in one hand, they used the other to peel off the paper covering the tiles to unveil the students’ works of art. Stay tuned for pictures of the finished piece!





Art Overcomes

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” Art is, to a certain extent, a lie whenever it attempts to describe a future reality or hoped for condition. Art is a lie whenever it depicts how the world should be  instead of how the world really is. Art  is required to become a lie in order to unveil a truth. Artists play a crucial role in inspiring society to change and show them what the world should – and could – be like.

On April 1st, ArtReach teaching artists Cathi Bouzide and Robin Power had the opportunity to collaborate with Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center artists in creating an artwork that communicated a powerful truth. Organized by Nancy Little of Thresholds, and in partnership with ArtReach, these artists created a clay mosaic that represented the stigma surrounding mental illness and the hope for its total eradication. The resulting artwork is a call to change existing thoughts and notions about mental disability and those who suffer from it.

.Click here to view the event flier.







380 The Reveal…

The online unveiling of the McPherson Elementary art project has arrived…as promised. 380 students + 1 multi-talented ArtReach teaching artist Elena Rakochy = TWO (we couldn’t fit them into one) amazing masterpieces. We bet you’ll never see anything more colorful, more vibrant, and more one-of-a-kind than this!

Congratulations to the James B. McPherson Elementary School on the opening of the Art Room…we look forward do many more projects like these.



380 students walked through the doors of the brand new art room at the James B. McPherson Elementary School last Thursday. 380 students drew, colored, and embellished square card stock…using everything from crayons, markers, tissue paper, construction paper, jewels, buttons, cotton balls, and pipe cleaners. 380 students worked together to create the final masterpiece – a patchwork of unique collages. 380 students (and many more parents, teachers, and visitors) got to enjoy their wonderful creation and celebrate the unveiling of their new art room.

Here’s the piece in progress. Stay tuned for the final result of the collaboration….


Spring Break at Lillstreet

As part of their Spring Break camp, students from the Ravenswood School dropped in Lillstreet Art Center for a tour of the facility and an hour-long clay class taught by ArtReach teaching artist, Elena Rakochy. The first group of students were an eager bunch of 3rd and 4th grade students. Elena demonstrated how to build a pencil holder using red clay. She then showed the students how to decorate their creations using colorful underglazes. The students’ pencil holders were unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Some had octopus arms and eyes hanging on the sides, while others had spirals and sunshine painted on them. One student even disguised her pencil holder as a mug.

Since the second group of students were much younger than the first, Elena decided to show them how to make landscapes with clay. The young students were eager to make clay animals, trees, humans, fire and even volcanos! The tool of the day was undoubtedly the grass maker – a pressing tool which shaped clay into spaghetti-like strands. The students could not wait to get their hands on this popular device and make grass – or even noodles – with it!




Paint, Pencils and Pastels

Last Wednesday, the classrooms at the Academy for Global Citizenship bustled with students engaged in various art projects. The Kindergarten class learned how to make self-portraits using crayons and cut-outs. The First-graders had a course on drawing with pastels. The Second-graders learned about color-mixing and the variety of brush stroke movements. The Third-graders decided to take full advantage of the amazing weather and headed outdoors to sketch trees. With ArtReach teachers by their side their artistic skills are guaranteed to be in full bloom long before Spring comes around.


From a larger-than-life butterfly to a sunrise rising over the hills to a rocket soaring in outer space, there is nothing that these students from the John C. Coonley Elementary School can’t create from fragments of colorful mosaic tiles. It’s amazing to see what a handful (or maybe two) of ceramic tiles, a little bit of adhesive mastic, a lot of imagination and a whole lot more patience can create! In a couple of weeks, the works of these artists-in-the-making will be proudly displayed at Coonley Elementary. We’ll keep you posted 🙂