arts Xiii

Arts XIII is a neighborhood multi-arts program that fosters the exploration of identity and community through engagement with visual arts, performing arts and digital media, as well as exposure to professional artists, experiences and materials. Arts XII promotes skill-building in the arts, collaboration and fun in equal measure and is attuned to the social and creative interests of young teenagers.

Arts XIII is a Chicago Park District initiative under the Culture, Arts, and Nature department. 

SUmmer 2014

This was my first year with the program and I was stationed at Piotrowski Park in La Villita. 

We had the opportunity to collaborate with ArtReach at Lillstreet and had an Italian mosaic muralist join us in the making of a mural for the park. Mosaic mural is now installed and available for viewing at Piotrowski Park

Photograph by Sarah Condo. Mural designed and created by the young Arts XIII campers at Piotrowski Park.


This was my second year returning to the program, continuing our work at Piotrowski Park. This summer we were able to work on independent projects and simultaneously collaborate with arts partners: Free Street Theater, Under the Bridge Art Studio, and Inferno Mobile Recording Studio. 

We worked with Free Street Theater for a couple of weeks doing improv, costume design, make up and it culminated in the creation of a comic book. 

Click on image below to download a copy of our comic book!

Teaching artist Norma Rios-Sierra from Under the Bridge Art Studio facilitated sculpture workshops for two weeks. Campers were inspired by Ana Serrano's cardboard work and created a mini replica of some iconic buildings in their neighborhood. This is Little "Little Village." It has traveled around Chicago for Chicago Artist Month and will make its way back home to Piotrowski Park as a permanent exhibition.

Inferno Mobile Recording Studio is a mobile recording studio program that offers the opportunity to write and record original stories, poetry, songs, raps and more. IMRS would join us twice a week to experiment with sound making and other media related projects. The campers created a theme song through their own spoken word and usage of mixers.

This song was also featured in a short documentary on the personalities and people of Piotrowski Park. It was written, filmed, scored, and produced by the campers. 


For a third summer returning as an arts counselor at Piotrowski Park! During this summer we experimented with a couple of projects based off of the social and creative interests of the campers. We also continued our collaborations with arts partners Free Street Theater and Inferno Mobile Recording Studio. 

Free Street Theater sessions focused on writing, movement, and story creation of theater exploring the ghost stories that exist in Chicago. Stories ranged from the personal to the communal, from the supernatural to the factual. This summer, campers wrote and performed a piece on police brutality in the south side of Chicago. The following story is based on personal narratives and experiences with the Chicago Police Department and predators. 

Check out their short film!

Inferno Mobile Recording Studio facilitated self-authored digital media experiences the entire summer. Subsequently, the campers created their own soundtrack and their own mixtape from start to finish. Inferno offered campers the opportunity and training to produce socially conscious, original sound and image creations relevant to their communities and their lives.

Take a listen! 

As a self-initiated project, campers explored neon signs as public interrupter. Neon signs featured in this video were created out of an LGBTQIA+ talking circle the campers requested during camp, facilitated by myself. During this talking circle, the campers and I engaged in conversations around gender and sexuality.

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