Logan Square-based multi-arts program Voice of the City (2823 N. Milwaukee Ave.) is offering spring art classes for children and youth ages five to 14.
Founded in 1999 by Dawn Marie Galtieri and fiancé Christopher Ellis, “Fine Arts for Kids,” is Voice of the City’s longest-running program.
Many Voice of the City art classes are taught by artists with different backgrounds. For instance, previous classes have been led by a professional theatre performer and a professional photographer who found a connection between their disciplines through the act of storytelling.
Parents can register their children for classes such as visual art, dance and circus arts online. “Fine Arts for Kids” is held on Saturdays from 10:30 am – noon. Families are encouraged to pay what they can and request what they need. Classes are available regardless of ability to pay.
History Of Voice Of The City
During their formal fine arts education, Galtieri and Ellis did not fully agreed with the way specific art forms were isolated into separate programs. According to couple, the structure of picking only one art form stifled creativity, so the creative pair opted for multi-arts programs that make teaching and learning art an electrifying experience.
When Galtieri and Ellis moved to Logan Square in 1998, the couple found the community ripe for new artistic programming. The two artists became immediately interested in beginning their own program. Galtieri has a background in working with the community and teaching, and she says she saw the potential for an art program here in the neighborhood.
“I made a choice to teach 10 kids at a time or teach 10 artists and reach 100 kids at a time,” she says.
With this mentality, she founded Voice of the City (formally known as aurorARTS alliance), and since, Voice of the City has created collaboration among resident and contracted artists and accessibility to high quality arts programming in the neighborhood.
Past Programs and the Social Impact of Arts
Galtieri and Ellis see themselves as advocates, artists and teachers in the community. Voice of the City strives to partner with existing neighborhood social services and hopes each organization serves as experts in their fields and strengthen overall impact. The organization’s emphasis on collaboration means that all types of needs can be served—which is evident in the past 15 years of Voice of the City’s programming.
Voice of the City joined forces with Alliance of Local Service Organizations (@a_l_s_o) and CeaseFire (@CureViolence) in 2006. Voice of the City offered wrap-around services that empowered young adults to formulate and present their own perspectives in an artistic way.
Ellis served as Lead Artist and Teacher for the project, “Reel Stories,” and 15 CeaseFire youths of different gang affiliations and without high school degrees participated in a work-study program. Through “Reel Stories,” the participants directed and produced their own video documentary, speaking openly and honestly about their lives. After reflecting on their experiences through filmography, several participants chose to pursue their GEDs and were able to secure full-time jobs.
Get Involved With Voice Of The City
Voice of the City is also searching for volunteers willing to help set up for programs and events or fundraise in order to make Voice of the City affordable for all. Voice of the City also always needs of volunteers who are fluent in both Polish and Spanish.
Artist in the area who would like to get involved can send resumes to Galtieri and Ellis.