National arts educators meet in Chicago

Attendees will discuss Chicago’s new art education plan - which still hasn't come out.

October 29, 2013

(Flickr/Eckhart Public Library)

The National Guild for Community Arts Education kicks off its annual meeting in Chicago Thursday.

The event’s a big deal. Over four days, more than 500 attendees will talk about getting arts instruction back into schools. Local organizers say Chicago’s new arts education plan will be at the center of those conversations.

Paul Sznewajs of Ingenuity Inc. helped develop the arts education plan for Chicago Public Schools. He says this is a great moment for arts education in Chicago, and for the Guild to convene here.

“We have the potential of more time in the school day for arts education, and the voice of the citizens of Chicago from the Cultural Plan, which gives us the collective will,” says Sznewajs. “Certainly much more work needs to be done on funding. But I think the outlook is pretty bright in Chicago.”

Funny thing is, the full CPS arts ed plan itself has yet to be made public.

An abstract summarizing the plan was released earlier this year. As previously reported, the plan would be a game changer for public arts education, if only because for the first time ever, it makes the arts a core subject at Chicago Public Schools.

But the devil is in the details, and thus far, those have been scarce -- particularly when it comes to funding.

Sznewajs says the final plan looks a lot like the abstract, which has already been put into motion at the schools.

“I don’t think there are going to be any surprises in that plan,” said Sznewajs. “I think it’s going to be a deeper dive into what was released last year.”

The National Guild’s meeting wraps up Sunday.

is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram