Community Arts Program


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! 

Call for Teaching Artist Volunteers!

Click here for description

Click here to apply


2021 Community Arts Program Schedule!

IMPORTANT: Due to COVID-19 our programs have moved ONLINE!


Zoom: 472 756 6351

Weekly Workshops: APRIL 2021


Open Studio 

Wednesdays 4pm-6pm


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

Tabletops and You!

Fridays, 4pm-5:30pm

Description: An interactive space centered on how we can form community and relationships through Role Playing Games. Our focus will be on Tabletop Role Playing Games similar to those like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Monster of the Week, etc. We'll go through character creation, playing the game, and some fun tips and tricks to help immerse yourself in these kinds of games.

Teaching Artist Bio: Lucien Loveless

Lucien (They/Them) is a California born Game Master who has focused a lot of their intentions on relational work through role playing. For the last four years they have hosted all manner of Tabletop Roleplaying games in a variety of spaces and contexts. Lucien focuses on bringing Queer and Trans stories to the tabletop roleplaying world as it is often not incorporated well, if at all. When not hosting community space for leading Tabletop Roleplaying Games you can find them doing voice and folio work, at a poetry slam, or building furniture with their not so helpful four legged shop assistant Kuroi.  

Upcoming Pop-Up Workshops


Yoga Practice Fundamentals

Open Studio Wednesdays, 4pm-6pm - April 21, 2020


In this introduction to yoga practices we will learn grounding techniques, yogic breathing, and some basic yoga postures. The science of yoga is about cultivation of a calm and tranquil mind, and each technique we will learn in this workshop will advance participants towards that goal. Yoga postures bring us into our body, breathing practices help us soothe our minds, and grounding techniques bring us into states of deep relaxation. This workshop is intended to provide participants with a basic understanding of some essential yoga practices and to provide all the instruction necessary to implement these practices in day to day life. This workshop is safe for participants of any level and ability, and comfortable clothing is encouraged.


Teaching Artist Bio: Reed Yoder

Reed has been practicing yoga since 2014 and over his seven years of practice has been able to learn many different styles of yoga. In 2017, he started a yoga club at Goshen College, where he taught free classes to students for two years. After his third year in college, he took a gap year and completed a Yoga Teacher Training program at Flex Yoga in Ohio and went to India to study ashtanga vinyasa yoga for three months in Mysore. He also completed a Yoga Nidra training with the Amrit Yoga Institute and studied yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) with Yoga Master B.N.S. Iyengar during his gap year.  After getting back, he taught classes at Spacious Heart Yoga where he was able to practice teaching in a more formal setting. He enjoys his daily ashtanga vinyasa yoga practice and has been teaching yoga classes and private lessons every opportunity he can get. Reed is excited to share his knowledge and experience with the YEPP community.

Future Workshops


Creative Sustainability in My Community

Mondays, 4pm-5:30pm - Coming in June 2021!



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. 

Juice Box Studio




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.