ArtWorks at Harold Washington Library

400 S. State St.
60605 Chicago , IL
United States
Illinois US
Opening Hours: 

Wednesdays, 4:30-7:30 pm

Contact information: 

Cathy Moon, cmoon@saic.edu

Jackie Bousek, jbousek@saic.edu

Current status: 
ArtWorksHWL

ArtWorks is a free community art studio that has been in existence since 2007. The intitial studio was created in response to NIMBYism (not in my back yard-ism) in a gentrifying neighborhood in Chicago that had long been the home of numerous social service organizations. Some people new to the neighborhood were opposed to being neighbors with people who had serious mental illness, or were homeless, or had problems with substance use. The studio was started on the basis of research showing that stigma is most effectively reduced when people have the chance to get to know each other within the context of a non-contrived situation.

Over the years, the studio has been hosted by a health care organization, a food pantry, and a homeless shelter. It is currently housed in the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library.  It is stocked with donated materials and available to anyone free of charge. Studio participants work together to establish and maintain a welcoming and supportive environment where people can learn or share a skill, get to know one another, experience a sense of belonging, and participate in community building through the arts.

The mission of ArtWorks is to cultivate inclusive communities through the arts and cultural exchange. Our aim is to foster the development of understanding and compassion between people, despite social and cultural differences. ArtWorks programs are based on these beliefs: that the arts belong to everyone, and that collective art making practices promote respect for difference and inspire positive social change.

Funded by: 

Donations and small grants.

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