Summer 2020 in Review

 In The CAPE Blog, Youth Music Exchange

A global pandemic and city-wide school closures didn’t stop our arts partnerships back in the spring, and they didn’t stop our programs for Summer 2020, either! Between classes for students and families, a virtual discussion series on vital topics in arts and education, kicking off our new Youth Music Exchange, and planning for Fall programs, everyone at CAPE had their hands full and learned a lot about remote teaching, learning, art making, and community building.

Summer Programs for Students and Families

In March, CAPE teachers and artists had to quickly adapt to a new way of teaching without any prior planning. The Summer 2020 CAPE After School program was an opportunity for CAPE teachers and artists to further experiment with virtual learning in a more flexible way. Teachers and teaching artists focused on projects that centered social-emotional learning and that allowed for students’ families to be more involved as fellow artists.

To further incorporate more art disciplines, technology skills, and creative ideas, we partnered with ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency & Exhibitions) to host guest artists in our CAPE classes. These collaborations proved to be an integral part of students’ experience with new forms of art making and understanding partnerships.

CAPE summer programs welcomed six schools from all around the city:

  • Telpochcalli Elementary School, in Little Village
  • Waters Elementary School, in Lincoln Square
  • New Sullivan Elementary School, in South Chicago
  • Dyett High School, in Washington Park
  • George Washington High School, in Hegewisch
  • North Grand High School, in Humboldt Park

One beautiful project that developed during the summer months featured students and families at Telpochcalli Elementary, where teacher Mara Flores and teaching artist Jessica Mueller studied environmental science and nature to create art and explore oppression, history, and personal narratives. During the school year, Mara and Jessica’s CAPE classes are designed for parents and adult community members in Little Village, but due to the nature of online programming, they were able to open up their classes to younger students, teens, and whole families for the summer. One of their students even “brought” her sister, who lives in Mexico, to class. The sisters hadn’t seen each other in years and their family reunited via Google Meets to reconnect and create art together.

“We called [the parents] individually to explain the dynamic of the class and they shared their families’ needs, in terms of education. The fact that they felt heard and in an environment of trust helped us design a unique program for them. They really liked it and appreciated receiving the material at home.” – Mara Flores

Telpochcalli Water Color - Summer 2020

Watercolor was one of many media explored by Telpochcalli families this summer.

CAPE in Dialogue, a Virtual Discussion Series

The CAPE in Dialogue series began this summer as a way to remotely explore ideas related to- and responding to- the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the radical shift to online teaching, learning, art making, and community building. These sessions bring together artists, educators, and researchers to engage in a public dialogue about pressing issues facing students, educators, families, and communities.

These sessions are present on Zoom, and later posted to our website and social media pages. If you’d like to attend an upcoming session or watch previous sessions, click here!

CAPE in Dialogue - Family Learning screen shot

A moment from a recent CAPE in Dialogue session, which also featured Mara Flores and Jessica Mueller presenting on their program at Telpochcalli

Youth Music Exchange

In partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), CAPE is curating the Youth Music Exchange (YME) program! YME seeks to empower and unite youth from across the city of Chicago through online and, eventually, in-person music exchanges. Youth music ensembles from various neighborhoods, backgrounds, and genres can apply to be a part of the Exchange project.

For our inaugural Exchange, the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) and A Flor De Piel met via Google Meets in August to perform music for each other and engage in deeper dialogue about the meaning of culture, music, and community. Click here to read more about how the event unfolded, or watch a small clip below!


Looking Forward

Now that summer is behind us and everyone is back in class, we are ready and excited to support dozens of remote classrooms with a full roster of CAPE programs in the coming months! Our CAPE in Dialogue series will also continue, so make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to hear about future sessions as they are confirmed.

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CAPE - When Corona Came monologue - Waters Summer 2020