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Exelon South Side Youth Performance Fest

The Exelon South Side Youth Performance Fest, held annually at Court Theatre, marks the beginning of a rewarding partnership between Exelon and Court Theatre. Exelon, the parent company of the Chicago-based firm ComEd, is committed to strong corporate citizenship, with a significant focus on enabling student access to the arts and cultural experiences.

“We believe the arts are integral to the health and vitality of the communities we serve, and it’s critical to support arts programming in our schools,” said Steve Solomon, Exelon’s Vice President of Corporate Relations and President of the Exelon Foundation. “As we see public and private funding in this area declining, we want to help provide continued access to and appreciation for the arts.”

This year, Exelon supported the intersection of arts and education in Chicago’s South Side through the Exelon South Side Youth Performance Fest. On January 23, 66 students presented scenic designs and performed monologues from work they developed during their Artists-in-the-Schools (AIS) Residencies. The Youth Performance Fest serves as a capstone for the Residencies, and often marks the first time that AIS students perform on a stage of any kind. This year, students were able to work with teaching artists across four different AIS Residencies: Devised Work, Scene Exploration, Scenic Design, and the August Wilson Monologue Competition. Solomon said, “For the students involved in arts education, they are exposed to an environment that inspires teamwork, compassion, empathy, and understanding.”

AIS provides quality exposure to the arts, and the Youth Performance Fest provides students an exciting end goal to motivate their efforts during the Residencies. Solomon elaborated, saying, “The Youth Performance Fest gave students at the participating high schools an outlet to express themselves authentically, and a mechanism for understanding the human experience in a multi-dimensional way.” Parents, peers, teaching artists, and community members were amazed by the hard work they saw on Court’s stage. 

Court is grateful to the following AIS partner schools: John M. Harlan Community Academy High School, Kenwood Academy High School, Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts, Wendell Phillips Academy High School, and William R. Harper High.

Thanks to Exelon for making this night possible! ■

To find out how you or your company can support arts education at Court, please contact Susan M. Zellner, Director of Development at (773) 834-3305 or email. 

Photo by Joe Mazza

Posted on March 16, 2018 in Donor Stories, Support