Community Arts Program

Questions? Contact Director of ProgramsBlack Pruitt, at

The Community Arts Program consists of a variety of drop-in art-based workshops provided for LGBTQI+ youth (ages 16-25) experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the Chicago area. Teaching artists and partnering community organizations collaborate with YEPP to offer a creative outlet for youth in the Chicago area to cope with traumas and build skills that promote self-development. 


In alignment with our five core frameworks, each workshop will also support participants in developing creativity and healthy coping strategies, building self-confidence and fostering sustainable and supportive community relationships. Offerings may include: writing, ballet, modern dance, vogue, visual art, photography, urban fashion, film, and music among others. The program opens in the Spring and concludes in December with a community showcase where participants can share what they’ve created throughout the year! 


2021 Community Arts Program Schedule!


We are now operating from the YEPP space and offering workshops both virtually and in-person!


Location: 835 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60613


Zoom ID: 374 923 5607

Liberation Lyrics

Mondays, 4pm-5:30pm



Explore your creative potential in music and writing. You’ll make your own songs, poetry, stories or whatever your passion. Collaborate, support one another, & grow as artists.


Teaching Artist Bio: Mark James Heath

Mark is a poet, comedian, and producer who partners with community organizations to create programming, fundraising and outreach efforts, and events to help them better serve our people. He has worked with Second City Outreach, Howard Brown Health, and NBC/Universal to name a few.


Open Studio 

Wednesdays, 4pm-5:30pm


The Open Studio is a weekly drop-in space for creativity and community building. The Director of Programs/facilitator opens the physical and virtual YEPP space, provides basic art materials and sets the tone for participants to create what they feel led to on their own terms. The facilitator may provide check-in questions, prompts, or hold space for group discussion if and when needed. However, the space is meant to be available for participants to take the lead of their own creative needs and processes. Occasionally, Open Studio Wednesdays will feature special pop-up workshops led by Teaching Artists and community members. If you are interested in applying to teach a pop-up workshop, please complete the Teaching Artist application


Creative Design + Problem-Solving

Fridays, 4pm-5:30pm



This workshop aims to give participants experience using design-thinking principles to reflect on concepts of sustainability through visual art and fashion. Participants will collaborate in teams to explore community identity in creative business models and determine the ways in which current models succeed and fail at serving its communities. Finally, through a system of various mediums, participants will create prototypes and solutions to improve frequent problems and observed patterns in our immediate community environment. 


Teaching Artist Bio: Sparkle Whitaker

Born and raised in Chicago’s South Side, Sparkle is the founder/designer of The Onyx Label, an online fashion brand that creates an experience of color and identity to dress people according to their bold and bright energy. Currently she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design and Sociology. Before attending college for fashion, she was first introduced to sewing at six-years-old by her grandmother, Rosie. Having expanded her skills over the years, Sparkle specializes in developing original textile prints to accompany her many asymmetrical clothing silhouettes. She seeks to blend the colorful complexity of human personality and her personal obsession with food and its many colors and modes. Some of her artistic influences include her grandmother and the Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland. 


Call for Teaching Artist Volunteers!


Teaching Artists can be artists, activists, educators, youth-workers and anyone else with a desire to share their creative passions with community in a transformative and queer-affirming setting. Teaching artists can apply to teach a one-time workshop or series of workshops. **Teaching Artists currently engage with YEPP on a volunteer basis. We hope to be able to offer stipends in the near future!**

Job Description

Teaching Artist Application

DEADLINE: Rolling!