Lawndale residents hope new arts center stirs community change

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Young people and adults from Lawndale,  Little Village and Old St. Patrick’s Youth Program on the West Loop are working together to help finish a project years in the making.

Let by pastor Phil Jackson, volunteers are working to realize the dream of building the Firehouse Community Arts Center in the Lawndale neighborhood. Jackson said the center will hopefully bring about some much needed changes to a community with a history of violence.

“Stop some of the violence some of the attitudes about the racism towards one another and really use this building as a platform for some of that,” Jackson said.

The center will feature a technology lab, dance studio and recording studio. The building will be open six days a week, and the center expects visits from over 200 kids a day.

Jackson said the project will have been worth the wait as the center will bring a largely big positive change to the community.

“All those folks who have seen their gifts will now see it manifested when this building is open in support of that,” Jackson said.

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  • Dianna C Long

    I am really glad for the Firehouse Arts Center and our community to have it. I hope it will make a big difference! I am a North Lawndale resident and director of CUARC here.
    Meanwhile, also in North Lawndale for nine years, is Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center located at 1957 S. Spaulding Ave. corner of 21st, just 2 blocks west of the Kedzie pink line stop. The Center houses an art gallery featuring art by under-represented artists, an art studio bringing together diverse people including non-artists, a gardening program, a women's residence on the second floor (B&B), and an off-site program taking art-programming to other organizations without art programs. We serve Sacred Heart Home and have served Senior buildings, domestic violence shelters, and so much more.
    Plus CUARC has a community art program that has been involved in many community art programs such as the North Lawndale African Heritage Quilt Project organized by Valerie Leonard, The William Penn School CUARC Art Program put on as part of the After School Family Focus Program, and The Peace Parks Of North Lawndale Project (part of Ten Thousand Ripples Project). we have produced the Chicago Black Artists Shows for several years in October/November as part of the Chicago Artists Month Annual Event. We offer a FREE children's summer art & gardening camp on Saturdays beginning June 22 through August 31.

    Most of our programming is free and open to the public. We are a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers and founded in 1984. Our free Visitors Day is Saturdays from 11-4. Our free art program for adult non-artists & artists is 11-1 on Saturdays. We offer an orientation for people on Saturdays from noon-1 who want to learn more about CUARC and/or who are considering volunteering with CUARC.
    Thanks for listening and I hope you visit us one day. Orientation and class is by RSVP only! So visit our website and let us know you plan to attend!