Arts + Public Life Education offers in-depth arts programming to Chicago South Side Youth cultivating creativity, social development, and leadership while inspiring them to find and create their places in the world.


Currently Accepting Youth Applications for Fall 2021 Paid Youth Arts Education Programs through Sept. 24 and Teaching Artists for the Community Actors Program (CAP) and Design Apprenticeship Program (DAP) ... see details below

Arts + Public Life Accepting Applications for Fall 2021 Paid Youth Arts Education Programs through Sept. 24

Arts + Public Life (APL), in partnership with After School Matters, offers free design/build, performance, backstage production and arts administration programs for area teens interested in learning more about the arts, developing leadership skills, positively impacting the community, connecting with peers with similar interests, and earning a paid stipend. The Fall 2021 session will run from October 12 - December 18, 2021. Are you, or someone you know, between the ages of 14-19 and interested in pursuing creativity, joining a community, and being paid? Classes consist of three group meeting hours per week, plus 4-6 hours of small group and independent work.  

  • Apply here for the Design Apprenticeship Program Level 1 (DAP), Community Actors Program (CAP), and Teen Arts Council (TAC) (After School Matters website)
  • Apply here for the Backstage Production Program or Design Apprenticeship Program (DAP) Level II 

Are you a teen who wants to...

...learn more about the arts?
...develop as a leader?
...positively impact your community? peers who share your interests?
...earn a paid stipend?

These in depth programs cultivate teens’ creativity, social development, and leadership, while inspiring them to make a positive difference in their community through the arts. Teens work alongside professionals to develop original work using real-world processes. All programs have a community stewardship and civic engagement focus. 

Please note: In lieu of COVID-19, some program sessions are currently taking place via virtual classroom sessions led by APL teaching artists. APL will keep all applicants and program participants updated as the in-person status of programs change. 

Arts + Public Life Currently Seeking Teaching Artists for Fall 2021 Youth Arts Education Programs

Are you a performing artist looking to share your craft with young people on the South Side? Or do you have working experience in Design + Build and want to share your knowledge with the next generation? Maybe you want to be the mentor you wish you had in high school. If this is you, Arts + Public Life is seeking new instructors for our Community Actors Program (CAP) and Design Apprenticeship Program (DAP), in partnership with After School Matters. Pay is commensurate with experience.

CAP job description

DAP job description

If this position is for you or someone you know,  submit a resume and CV to to apply. 

Arts + Public Life Youth Education Programs take an integrated, process-based approach to community engagement: local teens share authorship over projects informed by their expertise as South Side residents and that have direct impact on their communities. 96% of participants live on the South Side, with 63% in neighborhoods adjacent to the Arts Incubator.


We believe in the power of student voice. We lead programs that are learner-centered and process-driven in order to amplify these voices. Our project-based approach allows students to respond to real-world demands while learning from their lived experiences and their peers. We conduct continuous assessments to evaluate and enhance program quality and meet the needs of students and educators.  


Artistic + Creative Growth
Community Action + Vision
Leadership Capacity
Professional Experience


  • The Design Apprenticeship Program I & II (DAP) is a design-based mentorship and skills-building initiative that encourages teens and young adults to invest in the improvement of the physical
    and social conditions of their community. 

  • The Community Actors Program (CAP) is an introductory performance program utilizing Theater of the Oppressed, participatory theater, and performance as tools for community building and social change. 

  • The Teen Arts Council (TAC) is a group of student leaders who collaborate with the Arts + Public Life initiative to develop creative skills, leadership experience, and opportunities for their peers to engage with the arts. 

  • The Back Stage Production (BSP) is designed to give South Side Chicago youth an introduction to the fundamentals of theater production while giving them hands-on experience in audio and lighting design, sound engineering, and stage management.

Teens often participate in multiple sessions of the same program, or multiple program areas across APL. Especially engaged teens have also been hired as interns, teaching assistants, and more.

Explore the Summer 2020 and Fall/Winter 2020 Virtual Teen Art Shows Now!

In the midst of an unprecedented and volatile year, over 100 South Side Chicago youth participated in Arts + Public Life's youth education programs to learn, collaborate, and share their voice through art and design. We are beyond proud of their resiliency, talents, and hard work. Join us as we celebrate their accomplishments in our first ever Virtual Arts + Public Life (APL) Teen Arts Showcase.

Questions? Please contact Julia Hinojosa, Assistant Director of Education Programs,


Check out our teen programs video to hear from past participants!