PROject US EP1: PROject US Overview
Inpoints presents a special series on PROject US, a fashion, music, and media program in Chicago. Shot in the summer of 2015, the PROject US series is the first time we have been able to spend more than just a day or two with a program. With thirteen episodes we go into greater depth into the experience of the young people and their learning experience.
It is a scene that is all too common. A young person tells their parents they love art, design, fashion, or music. The parent tells them “that’s great as long as it’s a hobby, or as long as you go to school to study something useful first.” Pursuing art and music is not often seen as realistic or viable. Success is akin to winning the lottery. So when a young person says they aspire to be the next Beyonce or Kanye West we steer them away from the arts towards more “practical” pursuits.
Do we discourage young people from pursuing computer programming even though the odds of becoming the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg are equally astronomic? There is less than a 5% chance of being a professional athlete and yet we invest heavily in a whole system of athletic clubs, camps, teachers, coaches, and school programs. Part of the problem is that, unlike becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer there is no clear cut path to pursuing a career in the arts.
PROject US is a Chicago program that tries to forge a path for young people interested in fashion, music, and media. Building on the connected learning work of Hive Fashion and Steam Studio, PROject US is a collaboration between three Chicago organizations: Commonwealth Foundation, Donda’s House, and Chicago Public Library. It’s approach is in the name. The PRO of PROject is emphasized and pronounced like the PRO as in PROfessional. It is also PROject as in the verb meaning to plan for the future. And it is about US or creating a community of artists to support one another.
In this series we see young people exploring design or photography for the first time. We go from kids working in Photoshop, or collaborating on a song, to a spirited discussion about branding and business. Young musicians get coaching from the likes of TL Williams and grammy-winning artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith. Young designers design t-shirts that may get carried by local retailers like LDRS 1354 and Sir & Madame or participate in a fashion show during Chicago Fashion week. We see young people hanging out, sharing, and working together. And in the end we see the emergence of new role models of young people pursuing their passions and forging paths to success.
EP1: PROject US Overview
EP2: A Visit to LDRS 1354
EP3: The Style Suite
EP4: The Sound Suite
EP5: The Media Suite
EP6: Careers In Focus
EP7: You Are Your Own Brand
EP8: Making It
EP9: Mani and Adjani
EP10: Where Your Swag Comes From
EP11: Chicago Fashion Week
EP12: In the Studio
EP13: Launch Party
Extras: Music Videos