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Waukegan is a city with a rich history of the arts, and College of Lake County (CLC) is building its partnership with the community to promote and further that history through a pair of accessible workshops at the Lakeshore campus.
Waukegan has been home to numerous successful artists in a variety of mediums throughout its history. While walking around downtown, it’s hard to go without seeing visual art, whether it be statues or murals painted onto buildings. The city is also home to multiple art galleries and theatres that host live theatre and dance performances.
Since 2011, in an attempt to help revitalize the city and art culture, ArtWauk takes place once a month in downtown Waukegan as a way for artists to share their work, as well as a chance to show off classic pieces.
Photo: Katrina Davis-Salazar teaching
Katrina Davis-Salazar, a successful mixed media artist and art instructor at CLC, and CLC’s new Community Art and Engagement Coordinator, hopes CLC can help the city’s effort of bringing out new and diverse voices in the city and surrounding communities by providing people with an opportunity and materials.
Each of the two different workshops the college is hosting will have two sections in the fall and two in the spring. Engaging Art Scholars for Excellence (EASE) is a workshop designed for high school students.
“The purpose is to mentor and encourage youth so there are more working minority artists in our community in the future," Davis-Salazar said. "We also aim to introduce youth and their parents to the idea that a successful career and/or education in the arts is possible.”
Davis-Salazar, who is a minority herself, said in many minority households, the standards are very high and sometimes the arts are not seen as a secure path to success. Early recruiting efforts for these workshops have been focused on areas with higher minority populations, including Waukegan, Zion and North Chicago.
“Our end goal is to have more diverse working artists so that in the future, curators can host exhibits inclusive of all cultures and races,” Davis-Salazar said.
One way for CLC to aid in reaching this goal is to help provide accessible resources, support and opportunities in the community.
During all the workshops, kits with art materials will be given out to each attendee for free. On site supplies will be used at the workshops. Separately, pre-prepared art kits can be taken home for them to create art on their own time.
The materials Davis-Salazar selected for the kits, which were paid for out of the Communication Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts division budget, are meant to be challenging and unique, but still things the students can find success with.
Each kit also includes inserts with instructions on how to post and tag the art they create at home on social media so they can be followed up with.
EASE isn’t only aimed at students already interested in pursuing an education or career in the arts, but for anyone who wants to try it out.
“The teen years are an interesting stage of art development,” Davis-Salazar said. “Students can have been drawing their entire lives or they can get to college, take an art class, and realize they’re actually really good at it. I’ve witnessed it in my classes many times.”
The EASE workshop schedule:
Artist to Artist (ATA), the second type of workshop, is designed for adults. The goal of ATA is to connect local artists with CLC, and then to connect one step further with the community.
In each workshop, a CLC instructor will pair up with a talented local artist to teach. This gives those who attend the workshops the opportunity to create connections with both CLC and someone in the community, as well as others around them.
The art kits will also be handed out at the ATA workshops.
The ATA workshop schedule:
In the spring, after the workshops have concluded, a showcase event will take place in one of the numerous Waukegan galleries where the art created can be shown off to the community. The goal is to have the work shown for a month or two.
CLC is dedicated to offering community programming and expanding course offerings at all campuses for more inclusive access to all and to close opportunity gaps.
“There is so much positive growth and change happening with the arts at both the Grayslake campus and Lakeshore campus,” Davis-Salazar said.
While art classes have been limited at the Waukegan campus, the Communication Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts division is committed to offering more creative classes at the campus, starting in spring.
For more information about the workshops, contact Davis-Salazar at (224) 572-7471 or KDavis3@clcillinois.edu.
College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.
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