HPAC exhibit features Canter students’ art

Staff Writer

A Canter Middle School–led art exhibit will be on display at the Hyde Park Arts Center (HPAC) this month. The exhibit will also be an opportunity for farewell, closure, and reflection to the students and their families should Chicago Public Schools (CPS) vote to close the school, said an HPAC staff person.

Elke Claus, teaching artist at HPAC has been working with Wilma Rodriguez’s art class at Canter, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. Each week the students go over to the art center and learn about a wide range of materials and processes including printmaking, silkscreen, darkroom photography, sewing, clay sculpture, and painting, discovering how to express themselves in a variety of media.

The opening of “Passages” — a group exhibition of art created by Canter youth artists Shirah Billups, Destiny Brady, Paige Butts, Kayla Echols, Lariece Grayer, Kennedy Hawkins, Nick Johnson, Christian Jones, Neema Kimanelo, Unique Kimbrough, Adriana Lopez, Justice Saunders and Emani Smalley — will take place May 26 and the art will be on display through August 4 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave, in Gallery 5.

“[Canter] has been dealing with hearings and speaking out on behalf of keeping the school open, they are excited to have something to celebrate,” said Mike Nourse, director of education at HPAC, about the upcoming exhibit. “We started working with them before school closings were announced so this is an awkward coincidence.

The partnership was made possible by the Pathways program, which provided funding that allows HPAC to work with schools in the Hyde Park-Kenwood area for the entire school year.

“We were looking forward to working with the school again in the future but it looks like we may not be able to,” Nourse said. “However, some of the students will be moving to other schools we work with so we are glad about that.”

Nourse said the exhibit is free and open to the public and may possibly be the final activity undertaken by the school’s community. He said “Passages” will provide an opportunity for farewell, closure and reflection to the students and their families.