After a successful summer partnership, a North Side music school is collaborating with an Englewood nonprofit for an after-school program starting Tuesday, Oct. 4.
Robin Carroll, founder and president of I Grow Chicago, the South Side organization that endeavors to serve as a safe haven for creative growth, said the Old Town School of Folk Music based in Lincoln Square reached out to create the partnership. Carroll said she knew this would be a great way to connect communities on the North and South sides.
The partnership is a part of a new initiative assessing neighborhoods without arts programs to see where the group can help, according to the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Director of Engagement and Innovation Uday Joshi.
“We’re trying to see how we can effect change in a meaningful and impactful way, knowing there are a host of other issues that need to be addressed before arts learning can begin,” Joshi said.
Joshi the success of the summer workshop makes him look forward to the new program.
“We came to find that [the workshop] gave a lot of people who had no voice voices,” Carroll said. “We saw our neighbors who might not have felt comfortable in certain situations were able to use the poetry they wrote to begin to fit into other situations.”
Caroline Eizik, an art therapist in Chicago, said the art therapy I Grow Chicago and the Old Town School of Folk Music are providing is valuable.
“It gives [participants] a chance to express things that are hard to express in words, and to share some of their experiences,” Eizik said. “They don’t have a lot of successful experiences. If you don’t have food or your parents are using substances or your friends are getting killed, it’s hard to be successful in school. Making a work of art you feel good about, or bringing an idea to fruition, can be really life-enhancing.”
Winston McGill, Chief of Staff to Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), said he is happy to hear about this partnership in his ward.
“Anytime we’re able to expose different types of art—whether it’s music, poetry or spoken word—it is a great thing,” McGill said. “It’s great to have that exposure on the South Side, especially in the Englewood area.”
Carroll said she hopes more people and organizations provide their services to the South Side in the future as the Old Town School of Folk music has.
“I firmly believe if the North Side started putting that kind of effort into the South Side, we would completely change the playing field,” Carroll said. “If the North Side would like to end violence, they need to step up to the plate.”