Video by Chuck Przybyl | Photos by Edyta Stepien
What are you doing this summer? This was the inspiration behind the first annual Teens In The Park Festival hosted and curated by Chicago hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper. The free festival for teens combined music, art, dance, interactive activities, and booths of Chicago City of Learning partner organizations like Donda’s House, YOUmedia, True Star, and The Art Institute of Chicago promoting just some of the opportunities they offer to young people to pursue their interests and learn.
The festival was a celebration of Chicago youth talent featuring such groups and artists as, Happiness Club, LTAB Youth, Logan, DLOW, and Open Mike.
The festival was also about creating awareness of the learning opportunities available to young people in Chicago. The Chicago City of Learning team was on hand to show teens the website, help them sign up for accounts, and give away some free swag!
In addition to the concert, Chicago City of Learning and some of its partners set up booths with hands on activities and information about various learning opportunities for teens throughout the city.
Yollocalli brought spray paint for a collaborative mural project.
Kanye West’s Foundation, Donda’s House was in the house!
Redmoon Theater held a breakdance challenge…
and brought the bubbles!
Chance The Rapper came out in the middle of the show to talk to the crowd. His message? Chicago has so much to offer young people. Pointing towards the nearby museums, he mentions the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium as well as the organizations at the event as examples of the opportunities available to Chicago youth. His message felt personal, especially when he gave a shout out to the late Brother Mike Hawkins, who was the mentor at the Harold Washington Library YOUmedia space where Chance spent a lot of time developing his craft. And so while he wanted everyone to have a great time and enjoy the show, he also wanted to inspire the crowd to take pursue their passions, be creative, and do something positive.
But yes but we also know why thousands of teens turned out for the event.
The festival culminated in a performance by Donnie’s Trumpet & the Social Experiment…
featuring Chance The Rapper.
But that wasn’t all. Chance brought out a special guest… Kendrick Lamar!!!!
And the crowd goes crazy…
By all accounts, the event was a great success. There is already talk about next year!