The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Young Chicago Authors and Free Spirit Media Launch The Chicago Track

October 29, 2014

A new educational series for young aspiring music and film industry professionals

Mary May 312.744.0576


The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special events (DCASE), in collaboration with Young Chicago Authors and Free Spirit Media, is pleased to announce the recent launch of The Chicago Track, a new FREE education program for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. The industry workshops and networking events are geared for those looking for a career in Chicago’s music and film trades.

“A priority of the Chicago Cultural Plan is to offer arts education programs to serve an emerging population that has aged out of teen programs, but still needs access to skills and professional networks to jump start their careers,” said DCASE Commissioner Michelle T. Boone. “The Chicago Track will become a model for other cities and organizations to foster and retain young talent through public and private investment in the cultural job corps.” The Chicago Track program will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the rapidly changing industries of music and film to give a broader understanding of the jobs available within them. Through April 2015, workshops will expose participants to industry leaders and mentors in creative fields, teach the history of music and film in Chicago and develop the tools and skills needed for employment.

“Chicago is in the midst of a cultural renaissance. We must make space and give our young artists a reason to stay in Chicago and continue to feed the cultural and civic life of the city,” said Kevin Coval, Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors. “The Chicago Track is trying to corral and educate the next generation of cultural workers and innovators in the fields of music and film, both the art and the business.”

“The Track is a remarkable opportunity for creative young adults in the City of Chicago to gain exposure and inside insight into creative professionals, and it also represents an important strategic step for Free Spirit Media, whose mission is to cultivate diverse voices to transform media and society,” said Jeff McCarter, Founder & Executive Director, Free Spirit Media. “We are focused on building a pathway of opportunity into the creative economy of film and media, and The Track will help us make our vision very real for young people who are poised to seize the opportunities ahead.”

The Chicago Track programming is made possible through a capacity-building grant from The Chicago Community Trust and is jointly developed by the DCASE Arts and Creative Industries division’s Music Program and the Chicago Film Office.

“With a growing emphasis on the opportunities in the ‘creative economy,’ it’s essential that talented young Chicagoans can see a pathway for launching and furthering their careers,” said Suzanne Connor, Senior Program Officer for Arts and Culture, Chicago Community Trust. “Strengthening this access in neighborhoods across the City was a top priority in the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan and is an equally high priority for the Chicago Community Trust.”

Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who are interested in any element of the music or film industry are encouraged to register in advance. While registration and admission are free, space is limited.


About the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


About Young Chicago Authors

The mission of Young Chicago Authors (YCA) is to transform the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication and performance education. Young Chicago Authors was founded in 1991 by Dr. Robert S. Boone. In 2001, Young Chicago Authors became the home of Louder Than A Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world. Over the years this festival has helped expand YCA’s reach into schools and communities across the city. At present, Young Chicago Authors offers free multi-disciplinary weekly programming, workshops and in-school residencies throughout the city of Chicago land serving 4,500 teens a year. YCA runs with help of a core staff of six, a six member teaching artist corps and numerous freelance artists, administrators and educators.


About Free Spirit Media

The mission of Free Spirit Media (FSM) is to cultivate diverse youth voices to transform media and society. Founded in 2000, Free Spirit Media provides education, access, and opportunity in media production to over 500 underserved urban youth across Chicago every year. FSM is advancing education and digital learning through our innovative program model. Hands-on and project-based media production opportunities with FSM are helping young people develop their authentic voice while actively learning about and addressing community issues.


About The Chicago Community Trust

For 99 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2011, The Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $130 million to nonprofit organizations. From strengthening schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to protecting the safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, the Trust continues to enhance our region.


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