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Keay_Damon Locks leads discussion around

SPACE, Chicago, 2018 Photo: Braxton Black, © MCA Chicago

School Partnership for Art and Civic Engagement 


MCA Chicago & Chicago Public School Board

2014 - 2018

Co-designed and co-led with Marissa Reyes and Lydia Ross a new School Partnership for Art and Civic Engagement. Developed a long term strategic plan after extensive stakeholder consultation work with board members, Department of Arts Education, diversity and inclusion experts, staff, foundation trustees, the Chicago’s teachers union, arts educators, artist activists and academics. Developed an implementation plan as well as key benchmarking. This  multi-year partnership with Chicago Public High Schools embeds an artist-in-residence within the school, to research and engage community members in dialogue to create change. Artists relocated their studio practices, transforming the high schools into creative hubs for artistic and civic exchange. Together with the art and social studies teachers, they co-design and co-taught an interdisciplinary socially engaged curriculum. 

Evidence of Outcome:


  • secured multi-year foundation funding for long-term sustainability and launched artists in 3 schools in inner-city Chicago impacting over 10,000 youth

  • annual evaluation, including focus groups and surveys demonstrated that student-created artistic projects and civic action plans addressed relevant needs and impacted communities

  • youth demonstrated empowerment as change-agents. They gained confidence, extensive knowledge, and critical as well as artistic ability to confront real-world community issues.

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