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"Marwen has done so much for me. Honestly, without Marwen, I probably wouldn't be going to college, and I wouldn't feel like I could take art as a career. I probably would've been stuck not knowing what to do."

 

When 17-year-old Aileen Castro learned she could turn her passion for art into a career, she began to make big decisions. But those decisions weren’t easy.
 
During her junior year at Curie Metropolitan High School, Aileen decided she was going to leave for the remaining year-and-a-half and obtain her General Educational Development (GED) diploma instead.
 
“I was really scared when I had dropped out of school because I thought that would be it for Marwen. I didn't know if Marwen was going to judge me [for] it,” Aileen said. “But all the staff at Marwen have been wonderful. They're just happy that I'm here. It's just nice to not have people look at you and say 'she might not make it.' It's nice to feel like I'm welcome here.” READ FULL PROFILE
Meet Aileen Castro: Photographer, printmaker, and digital illustrator
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"Marwen has done so much for me. Honestly, without Marwen, I probably wouldn't be going to college, and I wouldn't feel like I could take art as a career. I probably would've been stuck not knowing what to do."

 

When 17-year-old Aileen Castro learned she could turn her passion for art into a career, she began to make big decisions. But those decisions weren’t easy.
 
During her junior year at Curie Metropolitan High School, Aileen decided she was going to leave for the remaining year-and-a-half and obtain her General Educational Development (GED) diploma instead.
 
“I was really scared when I had dropped out of school because I thought that would be it for Marwen. I didn't know if Marwen was going to judge me [for] it,” Aileen said. “But all the staff at Marwen have been wonderful. They're just happy that I'm here. It's just nice to not have people look at you and say 'she might not make it.' It's nice to feel like I'm welcome here.” READ FULL PROFILE

She came to Marwen as an art-loving high school freshman. Now she's the executive director.

Akilah Halley, center, speaks with 14-year-old Xitlaly Garza, left, and 16-year-old Safiyat Aminu in a textiles class at the Marwen nonprofit arts school Oct. 23, 2018. Halley, an alumna of the school, is the new executive director of Marwen. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Akilah Halley first walked into Marwen, the 31-year-old gem offering free visual arts instruction and college counseling to students from Chicago’s under-resourced communities, as a high school freshman.

It was 1994. She had loved drawing since she was a little girl growing up in Morgan Park. Her parents signed her up for park district classes, but cost proved a barrier to more expensive instruction. READ MORE

Chicago Tribune profiles Marwen's New Executive Director Akilah Halley [October 24, 2018]
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She came to Marwen as an art-loving high school freshman. Now she's the executive director.

Akilah Halley, center, speaks with 14-year-old Xitlaly Garza, left, and 16-year-old Safiyat Aminu in a textiles class at the Marwen nonprofit arts school Oct. 23, 2018. Halley, an alumna of the school, is the new executive director of Marwen. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Akilah Halley first walked into Marwen, the 31-year-old gem offering free visual arts instruction and college counseling to students from Chicago’s under-resourced communities, as a high school freshman.

It was 1994. She had loved drawing since she was a little girl growing up in Morgan Park. Her parents signed her up for park district classes, but cost proved a barrier to more expensive instruction. READ MORE

MARWEN ANNOUNCES CHICAGOAN

AKILAH HALLEY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Marwen alumna to lead organization that provides free visual arts, college and career programs for young people from Chicago’s under-resourced schools and communities.

 

 

Download PDF version of press release

(Chicago, IL – October 24, 2018) The Board of Directors at Marwen has appointed Akilah Halley as Executive Director. Halley is a former Marwen student, trustee, and as of 2017, deputy director. As only the third executive director in Marwen’s 31-year history and its first leader of color, Halley will take the reins of this organization committed to improving opportunities for youth in Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools. Through free visual arts courses taught by Chicago-based teaching artists, college counseling, career development programs, and its alumni network, Marwen pursues a mission of educating and inspiring young people through the visual arts.

 

Board Chair Marcy Carlin described the selection as an exciting step forward. “Following a national search for the new Executive Director, we unanimously decided that the best talent was homegrown here in Chicago and here at Marwen. Akilah’s multiple perspectives of Marwen— student, trustee, and management—make her triply well-qualified. Her strategic vision and long-standing relationships with our partners and supporters will allow for a seamless leadership transition as we continue to support creative youth development.” Halley is succeeding Antonia Contro, who recently stepped down after a remarkable 25-year directorship.

 

“Marwen is a vital part of Chicago’s cultural and community vibrancy,” remarked Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Akilah’s appointment showcases the success of Marwen’s decades-long commitment to making real and lasting impact. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Chicago’s youth under her passionate leadership.”

 

Akilah Halley first came to Marwen as a high school freshman in 1994, taking courses and participating in many signature programs all the way through high school. She stayed connected to teachers and staff and, in 2010, Marwen invited her to become the first alumnus to serve on the Board of Trustees. As a board member from 2010 to 2017 Halley co-chaired the program committee, co-chaired a Paintbrush Ball fundraiser, and participated on the development committee. In 2017 she joined Marwen’s staff as Deputy Director. In that role she has helped guide the education department, communications, alumni relations, and other strategic projects.

 

“As Marwen grows and asserts itself in a complex time, I’m thrilled that Akilah is at the helm,” said Steven P. Berkowitz, Marwen’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus. “She is fully committed to art, learning, equity, and empathy, all of which are core to Marwen’s values. Not only does she have the professional experience needed to set Marwen’s vision for the future, but she is uniquely able to understand and respond to our students’ needs and aspirations - as she was a student herself.”

 

“Akilah is a brilliant choice for Marwen's next generation leader,” said Marwen’s former President & CEO Antonia Contro. “Having known Akilah since we first came to Marwen in 1994—she as a precocious young student and I as executive director— I say with utter confidence and great joy that I cannot imagine a more promising successor.”

 

“As a Chicago native and Marwen alumna inspired by the city’s vibrancy and our resilient young people, I am honored to lead Marwen’s next chapter. The world around us can be plagued with deeply rooted challenges, especially for those from under-resourced backgrounds, and it is imperative that Marwen shines even brighter. Through meaningful engagements in creative youth development programs, Marwen helps young people shape pathways to thrive as individuals and contributors to our collective community,” said Akilah Halley.

 

In addition to her Marwen experience, Halley has been a design and communications professional in Chicago for more than 14 years. Her experience spans community relations for school reform with Chicago Public Schools, promotional and development marketing with Urban Gateways, and, most recently, strategic communications and engagement programs with Crown Family Philanthropies.

 

Halley earned a Master of Design in Design Planning from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently serves as Co-Chair for the Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy and is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee at the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives on the South Side of Chicago with her husband and their one-year-old son.

 

ABOUT MARWEN

Founded in 1987, Marwen educates and inspires young people through the visual arts. It has served more than 10,000 students in 6th through 12th grade from Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools from nearly every zip code. Following a 2015 expansion, Marwen now provides programing to over 900 students annually, offering free access to visual art courses, college planning, and career development programs at its Near North Arts Campus. For more information visit marwen.org.

 

Download PDF version of press release

Marwen Announces Akilah Halley as Executive Director [October 24, 2018]
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MARWEN ANNOUNCES CHICAGOAN

AKILAH HALLEY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Marwen alumna to lead organization that provides free visual arts, college and career programs for young people from Chicago’s under-resourced schools and communities.

 

 

Download PDF version of press release

(Chicago, IL – October 24, 2018) The Board of Directors at Marwen has appointed Akilah Halley as Executive Director. Halley is a former Marwen student, trustee, and as of 2017, deputy director. As only the third executive director in Marwen’s 31-year history and its first leader of color, Halley will take the reins of this organization committed to improving opportunities for youth in Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools. Through free visual arts courses taught by Chicago-based teaching artists, college counseling, career development programs, and its alumni network, Marwen pursues a mission of educating and inspiring young people through the visual arts.

 

Board Chair Marcy Carlin described the selection as an exciting step forward. “Following a national search for the new Executive Director, we unanimously decided that the best talent was homegrown here in Chicago and here at Marwen. Akilah’s multiple perspectives of Marwen— student, trustee, and management—make her triply well-qualified. Her strategic vision and long-standing relationships with our partners and supporters will allow for a seamless leadership transition as we continue to support creative youth development.” Halley is succeeding Antonia Contro, who recently stepped down after a remarkable 25-year directorship.

 

“Marwen is a vital part of Chicago’s cultural and community vibrancy,” remarked Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Akilah’s appointment showcases the success of Marwen’s decades-long commitment to making real and lasting impact. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Chicago’s youth under her passionate leadership.”

 

Akilah Halley first came to Marwen as a high school freshman in 1994, taking courses and participating in many signature programs all the way through high school. She stayed connected to teachers and staff and, in 2010, Marwen invited her to become the first alumnus to serve on the Board of Trustees. As a board member from 2010 to 2017 Halley co-chaired the program committee, co-chaired a Paintbrush Ball fundraiser, and participated on the development committee. In 2017 she joined Marwen’s staff as Deputy Director. In that role she has helped guide the education department, communications, alumni relations, and other strategic projects.

 

“As Marwen grows and asserts itself in a complex time, I’m thrilled that Akilah is at the helm,” said Steven P. Berkowitz, Marwen’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus. “She is fully committed to art, learning, equity, and empathy, all of which are core to Marwen’s values. Not only does she have the professional experience needed to set Marwen’s vision for the future, but she is uniquely able to understand and respond to our students’ needs and aspirations - as she was a student herself.”

 

“Akilah is a brilliant choice for Marwen's next generation leader,” said Marwen’s former President & CEO Antonia Contro. “Having known Akilah since we first came to Marwen in 1994—she as a precocious young student and I as executive director— I say with utter confidence and great joy that I cannot imagine a more promising successor.”

 

“As a Chicago native and Marwen alumna inspired by the city’s vibrancy and our resilient young people, I am honored to lead Marwen’s next chapter. The world around us can be plagued with deeply rooted challenges, especially for those from under-resourced backgrounds, and it is imperative that Marwen shines even brighter. Through meaningful engagements in creative youth development programs, Marwen helps young people shape pathways to thrive as individuals and contributors to our collective community,” said Akilah Halley.

 

In addition to her Marwen experience, Halley has been a design and communications professional in Chicago for more than 14 years. Her experience spans community relations for school reform with Chicago Public Schools, promotional and development marketing with Urban Gateways, and, most recently, strategic communications and engagement programs with Crown Family Philanthropies.

 

Halley earned a Master of Design in Design Planning from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently serves as Co-Chair for the Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy and is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee at the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives on the South Side of Chicago with her husband and their one-year-old son.

 

ABOUT MARWEN

Founded in 1987, Marwen educates and inspires young people through the visual arts. It has served more than 10,000 students in 6th through 12th grade from Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools from nearly every zip code. Following a 2015 expansion, Marwen now provides programing to over 900 students annually, offering free access to visual art courses, college planning, and career development programs at its Near North Arts Campus. For more information visit marwen.org.

 

Download PDF version of press release

 
"I watched the silent auction and was absolutely thrilled when [my photograph] was purchased," shared Zarifah, a Marwen student who submitted original work to last year's fair. "I love Marwen because the community is so accepting and loving, and everyone encourages you to make art on your own terms. There's no judgment on you or what you decide to make."
 
(Chicago, IL - October 4, 2018) Marwen announces Art Fair 2018, its annual exhibition and art auction. The event will be held on Friday, November 2, 2018, from 7-10 pm at Marwen, 833 N. Orleans Street in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Individual tickets to Art Fair are $40 in advance ($50 at the door) and include drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are on sale now at marwen.org/event/art-fair-2018.
 
Art Fair, which attracts nearly 400 guests each year, features three floors of artwork by Marwen students, teaching artists, alumni, and staff - all for sale. The featured artwork includes mediums like photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, illustration, graphic design, fibers, and more. Based on the success of last year's inaugural auction format, guests will once again have the opportunity to use their phones to bid on artwork through a silent auction. Proceeds are divided equally, benefiting both the artist and Marwen's free programs for Chicago youth from under-resourced communities and schools. See photos from last year's event.

 

"Art Fair is such a meaningful celebration of the spectrum of artists in the Marwen community," said Akilah Halley, Deputy Director and alumna of Marwen. "Not only is it a fun event to showcase and sell the work of students, alumni, teaching artists, and staff, but it's also an opportunity for Chicago's creatives and professionals to support Marwen."

 

Photography and video are welcome during the event. You can find Marwen on Twitter and Instagram @marwenarts and Facebook @marwenchicago. We also have high resolution images of student artwork available upon request. Please contact Kennon Reinard at kreinard@marwen.org or 312.374.2941 with requests.

 

ART FAIR 2018 SPONSORS
Marwen's Art Fair 2018 is generously supported by the following sponsors: Karen and Steve Berkowitz, Blick Art Materials, Amy and Andy Bluhm, Katherine K. Scott Jimenez and James Jimenez, Kirkland & Ellis, Robert Buchsbaum and Elyse Klein, Isa and Adam Pressman, Deborah and Stephen Quazzo, Simple Truth, Ruchika and Vik Sohoni, Chiara and Dan Wrocinski.
 
Art Fair Celebrates Creative Chicago Youth with an Art Auction of Student Work & More [October 4, 2018]
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"I watched the silent auction and was absolutely thrilled when [my photograph] was purchased," shared Zarifah, a Marwen student who submitted original work to last year's fair. "I love Marwen because the community is so accepting and loving, and everyone encourages you to make art on your own terms. There's no judgment on you or what you decide to make."
 
(Chicago, IL - October 4, 2018) Marwen announces Art Fair 2018, its annual exhibition and art auction. The event will be held on Friday, November 2, 2018, from 7-10 pm at Marwen, 833 N. Orleans Street in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Individual tickets to Art Fair are $40 in advance ($50 at the door) and include drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are on sale now at marwen.org/event/art-fair-2018.
 
Art Fair, which attracts nearly 400 guests each year, features three floors of artwork by Marwen students, teaching artists, alumni, and staff - all for sale. The featured artwork includes mediums like photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, illustration, graphic design, fibers, and more. Based on the success of last year's inaugural auction format, guests will once again have the opportunity to use their phones to bid on artwork through a silent auction. Proceeds are divided equally, benefiting both the artist and Marwen's free programs for Chicago youth from under-resourced communities and schools. See photos from last year's event.

 

"Art Fair is such a meaningful celebration of the spectrum of artists in the Marwen community," said Akilah Halley, Deputy Director and alumna of Marwen. "Not only is it a fun event to showcase and sell the work of students, alumni, teaching artists, and staff, but it's also an opportunity for Chicago's creatives and professionals to support Marwen."

 

Photography and video are welcome during the event. You can find Marwen on Twitter and Instagram @marwenarts and Facebook @marwenchicago. We also have high resolution images of student artwork available upon request. Please contact Kennon Reinard at kreinard@marwen.org or 312.374.2941 with requests.

 

ART FAIR 2018 SPONSORS
Marwen's Art Fair 2018 is generously supported by the following sponsors: Karen and Steve Berkowitz, Blick Art Materials, Amy and Andy Bluhm, Katherine K. Scott Jimenez and James Jimenez, Kirkland & Ellis, Robert Buchsbaum and Elyse Klein, Isa and Adam Pressman, Deborah and Stephen Quazzo, Simple Truth, Ruchika and Vik Sohoni, Chiara and Dan Wrocinski.
 

 

“Marwen is not a place where people are going to judge you for who you are. You can be open about it, and you’re going to fit right in. There’s nothing wrong or different about you. You’re a regular person like us. We all have the desire and love for art. We can all improve on that together. I’ll probably be teaching here one day. I could say ‘I was in your seat, in your place. I know what you’re going through.’”
 
For 14-year-old David Crain, art means opportunities. And opportunities are exactly what David has gained from his time at Marwen.
 
David has been making art since he was a kindergartner at Telpochcalli Elementary School, a small school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood that aims to integrate Mexican arts and culture in academia. READ MORE
Meet David Crain: An aspiring animator at Marwen [September 7, 2018]
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“Marwen is not a place where people are going to judge you for who you are. You can be open about it, and you’re going to fit right in. There’s nothing wrong or different about you. You’re a regular person like us. We all have the desire and love for art. We can all improve on that together. I’ll probably be teaching here one day. I could say ‘I was in your seat, in your place. I know what you’re going through.’”
 
For 14-year-old David Crain, art means opportunities. And opportunities are exactly what David has gained from his time at Marwen.
 
David has been making art since he was a kindergartner at Telpochcalli Elementary School, a small school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood that aims to integrate Mexican arts and culture in academia. READ MORE

  

During the summer of 2018, twenty Chicago high school juniors and seniors were hired to intern with seventeen professional arts organizations and creative businesses throughout the city as part of Marwen’s Art at Work program.

 

Art at Work is a 20-year-old program developed by Marwen’s College, Career, & Alumni team, who are dedicated to helping students and families transition to high school, college, or the workforce. The program includes five-week paid internships and career development workshops giving students professional experience with Chicago’s premiere art institutions and creative firms, as well as opportunities to gain valuable and transferable skills.

 

During the development workshops, students learned to...READ MORE

A Step Beyond the Studio and Into the Workplace: Marwen’s Summer Intern Program [September 2018]
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During the summer of 2018, twenty Chicago high school juniors and seniors were hired to intern with seventeen professional arts organizations and creative businesses throughout the city as part of Marwen’s Art at Work program.

 

Art at Work is a 20-year-old program developed by Marwen’s College, Career, & Alumni team, who are dedicated to helping students and families transition to high school, college, or the workforce. The program includes five-week paid internships and career development workshops giving students professional experience with Chicago’s premiere art institutions and creative firms, as well as opportunities to gain valuable and transferable skills.

 

During the development workshops, students learned to...READ MORE

Bright and bold artwork becomes the new “Face of Marwen.”

 

Watch a short video about the project: The Face of Marwen

 

(Chicago, IL – March 6, 2018) In Fall of 2017, as part of an advanced course called “The Face of Marwen” and with support from Exelon Corporation, 15 Chicago high school student artists were commissioned to create original artwork for Marwen’s building in River North. Mounted in February 2018, the art is featured prominently on both a billboard-sized banner (21 x 40 feet) on the north face of the building and within a lightbox gallery (21.5 x 7.5 feet) in the west facing windows on Orleans Street. The bright and bold pieces bring new life and energy as the new face of Marwen.

 

Under the guidance of Lisa Lindvay (photographer, teaching artist, and Assistant Manager of Studio Programs & Digital Learning at Marwen) and Jasmine Clark (photographer and Studio Facilitator at Marwen), the students collaborated for 10 weeks to design art that authentically represents their voices and the Marwen experience.

 

The artwork features text and imagery that embodies the mission and culture of Marwen. "Our idea was based on being ‘Seriously Playful’ with adding bold pops of color to portraits and still lifes...to make a coherent piece that we think best represents Marwen's individuality,” said Davita Miranda, a Marwen student who participated in the commissioned program.

 

Students enhanced their skills in studio photography and graphic design, toured a local print shop, studied contemporary photography trends, researched audiences, and gained client-based presentation skills.

 

“Their connection to each other allowed them to feel good about putting themselves out there and the images of themselves -- literally -- on a billboard-sized banner,” shared Lisa Lindvay. “That’s really brave for teenagers and really anyone. It takes a lot of guts.”


 

Current Marwen high school students (ages 15-18) applied and were hired for the course. They were asked to create two art concepts for Marwen’s building and and present them to a client critique panel comprised of noted artists, curators, architects, and Marwen staff, including Joy Bivins (Director of Curatorial Affairs, Chicago History Museum), Dan Wheeler (Principal at Wheeler Kearn Architects), Joy Meek (Principal at Wheeler Kearn Architects), Naomi Beckwith (Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), Antonia Contro (artist and President and CEO at Marwen), and Cynthia Weiss (Director of Education at Marwen).

 

“I was highly impressed with the level of professionalism and thoughtfulness that students brought to the project,” said Joy Bivins. “They shared their ideas equitably and with authority and took suggestions and comments in a way that showed their commitment to doing the job well—which, of course, they did. It was a pleasure to participate.”

 

The program was funded by Exelon, which proudly supports innovative programs related to education, arts and culture, neighborhood development, and the environment through philanthropic and employee volunteer efforts. “Exelon is a longstanding supporter of Marwen because the artistic opportunities it provides enriches the lives of students and brightens the whole community,” said Maggie FitzPatrick, Exelon senior vice president of corporate affairs, philanthropy and customer engagement. “We’re proud to help young artists share their aesthetic at Marwen’s new building honoring its 30th anniversary and enduring commitment to artistic excellence.”

 

“By offering client-based, commissioned work to high school students, we’re honing their technical and conceptual skills while helping them imagine and explore career pathways,” said Antonia Contro, President and CEO at Marwen. “And we’re building valuable creative partnerships that have reciprocal benefits for both the students and our supporters.”

 

Students who participated in “The Face of Marwen” course include Augustin F. (Class of 2018), Daria Z. (2019), Lizbeth R. (2018), Aisha H. (2019), Lila N. (2020), Aileen C. (2019), Adam G. (2018), David G. (2018), Joselyn C. (2018), Cleo C. (2018), Ana C. (2020), Jennifer V. (2020), Alexa R. (2018), Zarifa S. (2019), and Davita M. (2019).

 

Photography and video are available of the student process, public art installation (timelapse video and drone footage), and final artwork. Watch a 2-minute video about the project.

 

ABOUT MARWEN

 

Since 1987, Marwen has educated and inspired young people from Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools through the visual arts. Now, in its 31st year and having served more than 10,000 students, Marwen continues to provide free art courses, college planning, and career development programs to 6-12th graders who have come from 55 of Chicago’s 57 zip codes. For more information visit http://marwen.org

 

Marwen Mounts Large-Scale Commissioned Public Artworks Designed by Chicago Students
+

Bright and bold artwork becomes the new “Face of Marwen.”

 

Watch a short video about the project: The Face of Marwen

 

(Chicago, IL – March 6, 2018) In Fall of 2017, as part of an advanced course called “The Face of Marwen” and with support from Exelon Corporation, 15 Chicago high school student artists were commissioned to create original artwork for Marwen’s building in River North. Mounted in February 2018, the art is featured prominently on both a billboard-sized banner (21 x 40 feet) on the north face of the building and within a lightbox gallery (21.5 x 7.5 feet) in the west facing windows on Orleans Street. The bright and bold pieces bring new life and energy as the new face of Marwen.

 

Under the guidance of Lisa Lindvay (photographer, teaching artist, and Assistant Manager of Studio Programs & Digital Learning at Marwen) and Jasmine Clark (photographer and Studio Facilitator at Marwen), the students collaborated for 10 weeks to design art that authentically represents their voices and the Marwen experience.

 

The artwork features text and imagery that embodies the mission and culture of Marwen. "Our idea was based on being ‘Seriously Playful’ with adding bold pops of color to portraits and still lifes...to make a coherent piece that we think best represents Marwen's individuality,” said Davita Miranda, a Marwen student who participated in the commissioned program.

 

Students enhanced their skills in studio photography and graphic design, toured a local print shop, studied contemporary photography trends, researched audiences, and gained client-based presentation skills.

 

“Their connection to each other allowed them to feel good about putting themselves out there and the images of themselves -- literally -- on a billboard-sized banner,” shared Lisa Lindvay. “That’s really brave for teenagers and really anyone. It takes a lot of guts.”


 

Current Marwen high school students (ages 15-18) applied and were hired for the course. They were asked to create two art concepts for Marwen’s building and and present them to a client critique panel comprised of noted artists, curators, architects, and Marwen staff, including Joy Bivins (Director of Curatorial Affairs, Chicago History Museum), Dan Wheeler (Principal at Wheeler Kearn Architects), Joy Meek (Principal at Wheeler Kearn Architects), Naomi Beckwith (Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), Antonia Contro (artist and President and CEO at Marwen), and Cynthia Weiss (Director of Education at Marwen).

 

“I was highly impressed with the level of professionalism and thoughtfulness that students brought to the project,” said Joy Bivins. “They shared their ideas equitably and with authority and took suggestions and comments in a way that showed their commitment to doing the job well—which, of course, they did. It was a pleasure to participate.”

 

The program was funded by Exelon, which proudly supports innovative programs related to education, arts and culture, neighborhood development, and the environment through philanthropic and employee volunteer efforts. “Exelon is a longstanding supporter of Marwen because the artistic opportunities it provides enriches the lives of students and brightens the whole community,” said Maggie FitzPatrick, Exelon senior vice president of corporate affairs, philanthropy and customer engagement. “We’re proud to help young artists share their aesthetic at Marwen’s new building honoring its 30th anniversary and enduring commitment to artistic excellence.”

 

“By offering client-based, commissioned work to high school students, we’re honing their technical and conceptual skills while helping them imagine and explore career pathways,” said Antonia Contro, President and CEO at Marwen. “And we’re building valuable creative partnerships that have reciprocal benefits for both the students and our supporters.”

 

Students who participated in “The Face of Marwen” course include Augustin F. (Class of 2018), Daria Z. (2019), Lizbeth R. (2018), Aisha H. (2019), Lila N. (2020), Aileen C. (2019), Adam G. (2018), David G. (2018), Joselyn C. (2018), Cleo C. (2018), Ana C. (2020), Jennifer V. (2020), Alexa R. (2018), Zarifa S. (2019), and Davita M. (2019).

 

Photography and video are available of the student process, public art installation (timelapse video and drone footage), and final artwork. Watch a 2-minute video about the project.

 

ABOUT MARWEN

 

Since 1987, Marwen has educated and inspired young people from Chicago’s under-resourced communities and schools through the visual arts. Now, in its 31st year and having served more than 10,000 students, Marwen continues to provide free art courses, college planning, and career development programs to 6-12th graders who have come from 55 of Chicago’s 57 zip codes. For more information visit http://marwen.org

 

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