On Monday, May 14th starting at 3:00pm, artists, teachers, community members and students will gather together and create art at Dyett High School, on the south-side of Chicago. There will be multiple art stations for students to participate in after dismissal. Local artists will share their knowledge with students about how to create comic books, build drums, paint banners, design posters, silk-screen t-shirts, and more. The art fair was precipitated by the growing concerns of Chicagoans at the lack of essential supports and programming for neighborhood Chicago Public Schools.
In fact, since 2011, Dyett High School students have been denied an art program by the Chicago Public Schools. Adding insult to injury, this past February the Chicago Board of Education unanimously decided to close the school despite a history of neglect and sabotage by the school district.
During the school closings battle earlier this year, the district’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cawley, acknowledged the tendency of CPS to close schools after years of divestment;
“If we think there is a chance that a building is going to close in the next five to 10 years, if we think its unlikely it’s going to continue to be a school, we are not going to invest.”
“Now the district is reducing their facilities budget by 85% for next year, they are going to do to other schools what they’ve already done to Dyett,” said June Webb, a science teacher at Dyett. “Parents and teachers alike are outraged that CPS has the audacity to close our schools after they have failed to provide art, music, world languages and the appropriate numbers of support staff to make our schools successful. It’s important to defend our schools. My union, the Chicago Teachers Union, has spoken out repeatedly about the need for more enrichment, adequate staffing and appropriate facilities for our schools; it’s about time that CPS started listening.”