Chicago Center for Arts and Technology Poised to Be Community Game Changer
Adorn Lewis-Mitchell, 312.318.9696
CHICAGO (March 6, 2017) – Creativity. Innovation. Passion. All elements that make the new Chicago Center for Arts and Technology (CHICAT) a contemporary game changer. CHICAT is inspired by the ideas and practice of community leader, author, businessman and MacArthur Genius Bill Strickland. Officially opening in March in the Illinois Medical District, CHICAT is more than a place that educates and employs. It plans to build a movement and a community for meaningful change and progress for individuals, communities, the City of Chicago, and society at large.
CHICAT offers life-changing after-school arts and technology education for students and demand-driven innovative vocational training for adults. It focuses on the connection between art and technology, the power of connecting communities, and engaging and teaching in an inspirational and beautiful environment. The 26,500-square-foot newly-rehabbed facility, located at 1701 W. 13th Street, is the backdrop for innovative teaching, featuring state-of-the-art equipment, furniture and advanced curriculum. Youth courses include 3D maker lab, digital photography, graphic animation, graphic design, video and audio production, cartooning, drawing and painting, textiles, and printmaking. Industry-driven career training for adults will be offered in the high-demand fields of medical billing and coding, medical assistant, advanced manufacturing training in maintenance mechanics and lab tech and quality control. All classes are tuition-free.
“After much preparation, we are excited to finally open our doors here in Chicago,” says CHICAT CEO and Executive Director G. Sequane Lawrence. “Our leadership team has traveled the country visiting CATs in other cities and countries with the goal of bringing promising practices to the work we do here in the IMD. We have established meaningful partnerships with local institutions. We believe all individuals deserve access to resources necessary to provide a higher quality of life, including socioeconomic stability, interpersonal and professional development, and gainful employment. We will make that a reality for our students.”
Some of CHICAT’s partners include Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Medical District, Options School, and the University of Illinois at Chicago-Circle Square.
The “CHICAT movement” follows a set of five powerful, impactful principles: 1) Every human being is an asset and every life is valuable; 2) Environment shapes behavior; 3) Creativity fuels enterprise; 4) Design thinking solves human problems and expands human possibility; and 5) Being engaged in the broader conversation matters. CHICAT will be a civic leader and encourage civic engagement by all.
A grand opening event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, beginning with an open house from 3:00-5:00pm and reception from 5:00-8:00pm. When CHICAT opens, Chicago will join the movement for equity and social and economic inclusion. CHICAT was created using the Manchester Bidwell Model (MBM), a community development model replicated in eight U.S. cities and internationally. Nationwide, Centers for Arts & Technology (CATs) successfully increase high school graduation rates and equip adults for life-changing employment opportunities. Although CHICAT serves youth and adults from across Chicago and the suburbs, focus neighborhoods include North Lawndale, Little Village, Pilsen, and the West Side. For more information, visit www.chicat.org.
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