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Cheryl Williams, a visual artist and instructor with experience in offset and repro printing technologies, loves children and has a very strong passion for developing their imagination and fostering their talents through art-related projects. Her recognition and extreme disappointment in the lack of art programs in public schools today led her to the launch of a Public Art Project for Chicago Public School Students.

The project is designed to provide art opportunities for all Chicago public-school students, especially those whose art programs were eliminated or never had any exposure to the arts. Beginning in April 2008, the program will exhibit 50 spaces each month for six months. The exhibits will be displayed in bus shelters as temporary installations

“Art exposure contributes to the mental growth and development of children,” Williams says. “I want to help make it possible for children to have the experience of creating art while their minds are fresh and open. I’ve taught children visual arts and know the experience of their imaginations and how they absorb what they see and hear. A tremendous amount of creative artistic talent has been wasted by the lack of opportunity. I know there is a lot of talent screaming for the experience and opportunity of art.”

Participating schools will select the images created and submitted for display in the exhibition space. Image-application processes may include screen printing and digital imaging. Exhibition pieces may be as large as 44 x 66 in. The project will cost $375,000 for materials and spaces and will create opportunities for showcasing the works of art of children from public schools throughout Chicago. Williams says this project will establish a venture that will give the public schools the access to funds to participate during the run of the project.

“We need to embrace children’s imagination by investing in them and engaging in their uninhibited creative expressions,” she says. “One way of doing this, and at the same time enhancing and elevating the communities is through art.”

Williams is working on another project involving the creation of images on metal blanks by hand painting or screen printing. The images will be attached to street light poles as permanent installations throughout the city. For more information about Cheryl Williams’ art projects for children, contact her at 8822 S. Yale Ave., Chicago, IL 60620, 773-874-9315.

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