Throughout the day at our four partner hospitals, Snow City Arts Artists-in-Residence have unencumbered access actively engage available patients with bedside workshops. When the children are well enough to leave their rooms, they can take advantage of our Idea Labs – which are separate rooms in the pediatric wards where the students may work in a medical-free zone without being interrupted by doctors or nurses. Each Idea Lab is equipped with art supplies, computers loaded with cutting edge music and design programs, green screens for film-making, keyboards, string instruments, video and still cameras, and a small art library. Artists provide one-to-one instruction in these labs or facilitate small group workshops just as a teacher would in a classroom.
Our studio-level arts education workshops and customized assessment tools focus on incorporating state and national standards in Social Studies, Math, Science, the Arts, and Literacy, including the Illinois Department of Education learning standards. Currently, Snow City Arts is preparing to transition to utilizing the National Core Arts Standards and the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core. By aligning our lessons and assessments to these standards, Snow City Arts is able to ensure that our students are learning critical 21st century skills.
Snow City Arts tracks patient academic progress and, with parental consent, sends detailed reports and artwork to schools so patients can receive academic credit for their instructional time while hospitalized. Since 2002, we have maintained a formal partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. For CPS high school students spending 5 hours or more during a semester, Snow City Arts has its own course code, allowing students to receive credit much like an independent study. For students attending schools outside of CPS, we advocate for students to receive credit through school administrators and teachers.
Because of Snow City Arts, children in hospitals have received classroom credit, improved their grades, discovered talents and interests that had gone previously untapped, and been engaged in creative-decision making activities in an environment where little personal choice is available.