Maywood Fine Arts was established in 1996 by concerned parents and community leaders in the Village of Maywood, Illinois to help combat escalating rates of drug activity, gang involvement, and teen pregnancies by providing youth with enriching alternative activities in the community. From the beginning, a key goal for the founders of Maywood Fine Arts was to create an arts center in the heart of their community that would serve as a safe place for children to attend classes and engage in healthy activity protected from gangs and violence. Through grass-roots efforts within the community, MFA transformed a previously boarded up bank building into a vibrant center of arts activity in downtown Maywood.
- Each year 750 individual children are enrolled in multiple arts and fitness classes.
- Over 3,500 children benefit from MFA outreach programs in the community like Get Off the Street (GOTS) and Books Alive.
- Since the inception of GOTS in 2002, every senior youth leader has gone on to college.
- Only 40% of expenses are covered by tuition. The remainder comes from grants and donations.
- 5% of students are on full tuition scholarship and an additional 40% receive partial tuition scholarships or family discounts
Audience and Activities
Annually, MFA serves about 750 enrolled, non-duplicated students ranging in age from 3 -18 years from near west Cook County communities, Chicago, and the south suburbs. In addition to enrolled students, MFA reaches nearly 3,500 children through outreach programs conduct on-site and in locations throughout the community. Demographics of MFA students include 72 percent African American, 22 percent Latino, and 6 percent Caucasian and Asian.
With a faculty of 28 teachers, each week Maywood Fine Arts conducts 45 classes in dance, visual arts, and drama, as well as more than 120 individual lessons in piano, voice, guitar, and drums. To build students’ strength and agility, MFA also conducts 30 classes in tumbling, karate and aereal circus arts and trains a competition team that travels throughout the state. Each year, MFA’s tumbling competition team win top awards and MFA coaches are rated among the top in the state for this age group.
In addition to arts education classes, MFA’s Fit and Fun Healthy Family program incorporates fitness and nutrition education into all activities to help children develop healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity and other health problems that stem from poor nutrition in this community.
MFA’s other outreach programs reach more than 3,500 children in the community include Get Off the Streets and On Your Feet, a youth leadership and violence awareness program for area teens and pre-teens, and Books Alive, a literacy program to stimulate a love of reading and books in young children kindergarten through second grade.
Maywood Fine Arts is committed to never turning a child away because of a family’s inability to pay for tuition or supplies. Our subsidy for low-income students increases every year, and funds are needed to ensure that all children have the same opportunity for enrichment through Maywood classes.