Curie Metropolitan High School
Cutting through inequalities to enrich students with art
- Prize Category: Supporting Healthy Lives
- Format: Panel discussion
- Country: United States of America
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and other languages to be confirmed later.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Supporting Healthy Lives category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
Curie Metropolitan High School, a secondary school in Chicago, US, helps break down barriers for disadvantaged ethnic minority students and promote healthy lives through an extensive art programme that allows them to thrive in traditionally exclusive spaces.
Based in the southside of Chicago, the area around Curie Metropolitan High School has long been deprived. Marred by poverty, gun violence and deprivation, there is pervasive sense of danger where even a walk to school can feel unsafe. Since 2019, the area has seen crime rates increase by 13% and shootings increase by 58%. The students, most of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds, reflect the poverty and desperation that the community faces. Chicago has been reported as one of America’s most economically and racially segregated cities.
The school offers integrated health services and programmes to ensure that all pupils are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Curie is known for inclusion instruction for social and emotional learning. In its view, supporting healthy lives also includes enrichment opportunities, particularly through the arts. The school has a dedicated arts programme to tap into the talents and ambitions of its students, offering a broad range of classes such as dance, drama, animation, orchestra, choral, electronic music, art, sculpture, gorilla art, and theatre tech.
The school’s art projects are often the result of collaborations with companies and other community actors. The Dance Department recently partnered with the NBA, Chicago Bulls, and Endure Charities to perform in an event to bridge the community with dance and sports, focusing on an inclusive culture for underserved students. Students also worked with Kern Studios, an art studio in New Orleans, to build a float using a design the students came up with. Eventually, they performed in the parade on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, which was televised across the nation. Students can participate in an art club sponsored by Brighton Park Neighbourhood Council, allowing them to collectively work on community-based projects to liven up and beautify the neighbourhood. The Adidas Sound Lab gives students the opportunity to write, produce, mix, and promote their own original musical scores that are submitted and shared globally.
Join our discussion session on cutting through inequalities to enrich students with art.
Moderator: Eduardo Vilaro
Eduardo Vilaro is the Artistic Director & CEO of Ballet Hispánico (BH). He was named BH’s Artistic Director in 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since its founding in 1970, and in 2015 was also named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico’s legacy with a bold brand of contemporary dance that reflects America’s changing cultural landscape.
Mr. Vilaro’s philosophy of dance stems from a basic belief in the power of the arts to change lives, reflect and impact culture, and strengthen community. He considers dance to be a liberating, non-verbal language through which students, dancers, and audiences of all walks of life and diverse backgrounds, can initiate ongoing conversations about the arts, expression, identity, and the meaning of community.
Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, Mr. Vilaro’s own choreography is devoted to capturing the Latin American experience in its totality and diversity, and through its intersectionality with other diasporas. His works are catalysts for new dialogues about what it means to be an American. He has created more than 40 ballets with commissions that include the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony.
A Ballet Hispánico dancer and educator from 1988 to 1996, he left New York, earned a master’s in interdisciplinary arts at Columbia College Chicago and then embarked on his own act of advocacy with a ten-year record of achievement as Founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago.
The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Mr. Vilaro received the Ruth Page Award for choreography in 2001; was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2016; and was awarded HOMBRE Magazine’s 2017 Arts & Culture Trailblazer of the Year. In 2019, he received the West Side Spirit’s WESTY Award, was honored by WNET for his contributions to the arts, and was the recipient of the James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award. In August 2020, City & State Magazine included Mr. Vilaro in the inaugural Power of Diversity: Latin 100 list. In January 2021, Mr. Vilaro was recognized with a Compassionate Leaders Award, given to leaders who are courageous, contemplative, collaborative, and care about the world they will leave behind. He is a well-respected speaker on such topics as diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts, as well as on the merits of the intersectionality of cultures and the importance of nurturing and building Latinx leaders.
Speaker 1: Michael Gallagher
Mike Gallagher is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and educator known for his recent work on Grammy nominated album with J. Ivy titled “Catching Dreams”. His commercial production work includes original works in commercials and television shows that premiered on ABC, The OWN Network and MTV2. Mike has been enlisted to tour, perform and record with many of the industry’s most notable performers. His versatility as a musician has afforded him opportunities to perform alongside numerous major recording artists within a wide spectrum of musical styles and genres. A versatile artist educated by everything from books to the Blues, Mike remains a hometown Chicago musician that performs from his heart and soul in every musical setting.
Speaker 2: Melinda Wilson
Melinda Wilson holds a M.Ed. from DePaul University and an M.A. from the University of Illinois with additional coursework at Northwestern University. She has trained at Batsheva Dance Company (Tel-Aviv), Pineapples (London), and Centre de Danse du Marias (Paris) and has been a pick-up dancer with American Ballet Theatre, David Dorfman Dance and Urban Bush Women. Awards include Top 50 Global Teacher Award, Golden Apple Award, Dance Chicago Outstanding Choreographer Award, SHAPE National Dance Teacher of the Year, first place choreographic awards from Livorno in Danza International and Barcelona Dance Grand Prix. Wilson has been featured in Tes Education Magazine (UK), Dance Magazine and various national and international webinars. She is a teacher of Ballet, and Jazz at Chicago Movement Collective, resident choreographer for Her Story Theater and Dance Director at Curie Metropolitan High School (Chicago). She is also the founder of Per4mers4Change, promoting positive active citizenship through the power of performance and youth.
Speaker 3: Dawn Pavloski
Dawn is a Chicago visual artist who knew from a young age her life’s course would be set upon a colourful, adventurous and sometimes winding creative path.
While in high school she received scholarships for classes at the SAIC and decided to start her secondary education at the American Academy of Art with a passion for illustration. While working as a children’s textbook artist, she also began a career in the theatre becoming the wardrobe mistress at the famed, “Candlelight Dinner Theater.” A nagging curiosity drove Dawn to complete animation studies at Columbia College. “Say yes and always a welcome opportunity!