Friday, June 05, 2009
a major influence
Jennifer LaCivita started the Portage Park Center for the Arts here in our neighborhood of Chicago in 1999. It was a pilot program of introducing neighborhood based arts support and the city bought an old church for the center to use. The center was wonderful to have in the neighborhood. I was home with 3 small children and quilting, teaching a few friends once a week at my house.
I went to Jennifer in 2000 and asked if she would be interested in a fiber arts addition to her programming. She welcomed me in and I started with two students. We developed a once a week evening class and monthly Saturday workshop. The classes were very popular and I am proud of the work I did there.
It was also a great place for my family--the kids all took arts classes there, and I was right in the neighborhood when I taught.
The arts center is closing now (building is in need of major repairs that the city is not going to make, leading to unsafe conditions) and funding for arts is no longer a priority in the city budget. PPCA was a treasure for the neighborhood for a decade, and it's ripples will continue.
My teaching there gave me work experience that helped me going back into nursing, and on to teaching nursing.
Thank you, Jennifer.