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Elevarte (formerly Pros Arts Studio) is a community-based organization which uses the arts as a means for youth development. A dedicated cadre of teaching artists and youth inspire and support each other as art makers and active citizens. We create youth-activated safe spaces through three core programs: In- School Residencies, Out-of-School-Time Programs, and Community Celebrations.
In our vision of the future, Elevarte animates and elevates the quality of life for every citizen in our community through equal access to the arts.
Elevarte was founded as Pros Arts Studio in 1978 by artists leading an Arts-in-Education Residency at St. Procopius School (known locally as St. Pros, thus the name). That same year Elevarte began its community collaborations with a Mural Poem Performance at the 16th street viaduct in partnership with area community centers. The next year Elevarte initiated its first annual cultural program for the Mexican tradition of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) including a procession through the neighborhood, with workshops and performances. Beginning in the 1980's Elevarte developed a wide-range of bilingual performance programming including a "Readers Theatre" for area schools. In 1993 Elevarte, already known for its arts-in-education activities, became one of the first participants in the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) initiative. In 2002 PAS moved into Dvorak Park as an Arts Partner and created a Free Drop-in Studio. Elevarte is committed to mentoring the next generation of community leaders, including the many young and emerging artists employed by Pros Arts Studio. During the summer of 2010 Elevarte created a 5 year strategic plan to more eloquently communicate its commitment to youth development while mapping the way forward, moving away from a period of leadership transition and economic recession into a period of accelerated organizational development and maturation. A more focused mission vision and organizational values emerged along with the decision to re-name and rebrand our organization to more accurate reflect our work.
- Lizette Garza
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