Ragdale (a GFF grantee) and its week-long High School Arts Week was recently featured in a Daily North Shore article, “Poetry in Motion.” This past summer, High School Arts Week included more than 40 students from 32 high schools in Chicago and the suburbs.
“Although well-known for the residencies and fellowships it offered to architects, artists, writers, musicians, and composers since its 1976 beginnings, eight years ago, Ragdale had only one such program for youth—A creative writing intensive taught by novelist/journalist and educator Margaret Hawkins.”
“It was a great program, but at the beginning we only had 10 students, from one or two local schools,” says executive director Jeff Meeuwsen, who came to Ragdale in 2012 with a background in youth arts programming. “We saw the potential to expand HSAW to include more art forms so that it would more closely reflect the mix of media represented in our adult residency programs. We also wanted to open this to a more diverse, wide-ranging group of students.”
“For their week at Ragdale, students choose one focus module from options including Visual Arts, Puppetry, Prose/Creative Writing, and Poetry/Creative Writing. The modules are intensive, with classes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But to introduce additional disciplines and media to the students during their week, Ragdale invites visiting artists who offer optional presentations and workshops to the kids at lunch time or after classes.”
Ragdale is a local nonprofit interdisciplinary artists’ community. GFF supports the Ragdale Foundation’s artist residency program and Ragdale in Schools. Together, the two programs bring in artistic professionals from around the world and link them with teachers and students in Lake and Cook counties, promoting artistic creativity and enrichment opportunities. While in residence or in the 18 months following residency, Ragdale fellows lead programs for regional teachers and students, with special attention given to the needs of schools in North Chicago, Waukegan and Zion.