Wednesday, March 22, marked the grand opening for UIC Medical District/University Village arts and technology organization, CHICAT (Chicago Center for Arts and Technology). The event concludes a three year fundraising and renovation project to bring the organization from a community dream to a brick and mortar reality.
The Chicago Center for Arts and Technology is inspired by the ideas and practice of MacArthur Genius Bill Strickland, who has made a positive difference in the lives of young people for over 40 years. CHICAT is focused on the connection between art and technology, the power of connecting communities, and engaging and teaching in an inspirational and beautiful environment.
The event kicked off with tours through the building’s spectacular, art-lined interior, beginning in the adult education classrooms and work spaces and culminating in the youth program design, digital, and 3D maker studios. In the building’s first floor event space, guests gathered to enjoy light refreshments and live music courtesy of area high school student-performers. Guest speakers followed the music, including words by Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild founder, Bill Strickland, and CHICAT board of directors chairman, Steve Sarowitz.
The event was a spectacular success. With more than five hundred people in estimated attendance, the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology was abuzz with visible guest enthusiasm, charismatic gestures of community partnership, and a spirit of group camaraderie seldom seen in the Chicagoland nonprofit network. CHICAT’s Grand Opening set the stage for future prosperity in the North Lawndale, Little Village, and Pilsen neighborhoods, and initiated the organization as a significant activist in the mission to uplift underserved communities and people in those areas.