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Chicago, IL

Chicago Botanic Garden

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For residents of Chicago’s northern suburbs, the Chicago Botanic Garden is much more than just a collection of colorful plants and flowers. Since it opened more than 40 years ago, the 385 acre grounds have served as an important center for community activity and education. The Garden is home to 26 separate gardens and four natural areas, as well as a conservation science education center and a library with one of the country’s largest collections of botanical books. The grounds are also host to numerous community events and educational courses throughout the year.

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Deeply Rooted Dance Theater

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photo_credit_deeplyrootedproductionsphoto credit Deeply Rooted Productions

Founded in 1995 by dancers Kevin Iega Jeff and Gary Abbott, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater teaches and performs dance as creative expression and community and spiritual healing. Jeff calls it “world class art from a grassroots perspective.”

Working within an African American dance aesthetic, Deeply Rooted explores topics as varied as the Somali civil war and famine, the quest to live in the face of AIDS, and early-twentieth-century African American cultures. Jeff and Abbott’s choreography stresses both technical virtuosity and the deep exploration of character and community. As one dancer explains regarding Deeply Rooted’s Life, which deals with personal struggles to live with AIDS, “I know I’m telling experiences of things I see every day. Right outside these doors, there’s some things about this piece that are going on.”

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Norwood Park Historical Society

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photo_credit_northwood_park_historical_society photo credit Northwood Park Historical Society

The vision of the Norwood Park Historical Society (NPHS) is to be “recognized as a leader, educator, advocate, and resource” in the community of Norwood Park that “values and preserves its historic character and is acknowledged as an area of historical importance to the city of Chicago and the region.” To reach out to older adults, the NPHS launched Voices of Norwood Park, a personal-history project designed to educate older adults about methods for recording their histories and for collecting written and oral histories of their lives and times in Norwood Park. 

Norwood Park is one of the oldest, most distinctive, and historically important neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area. NPHS was formed in 1973 to preserve Norwood Park’s history and promote community awareness. The Society has transformed the oldest house in Chicago, which serves as its offices, into a multipurpose community center with a museum and a café. Its museum focuses on Chicago’s far-northwest side and has a growing collection of historical artifacts and research materials.

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Culture Bus of CJE SeniorLife

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culturebus_photocredit_culturebusphoto credit Culture Bus

Culture Bus is at once a transportation service to arts and cultural events for older adults, and a unique treatment program for early-stage dementia patients. One of many adult day programs offered by CJE SeniorLife, in Chicago, Illinois, Culture Bus provides opportunities for socialization, creative expression, and intellectual stimulation designed to improve the quality of life and slow the effects of degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease for many older adults.

The Culture Bus emerged, in 2002, from an Alzheimer’s support group sponsored by Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. Its participants were seeking more time together and opportunities for intellectual and social engagement. One member of the group suggested using a bus to enable everyone to go downtown together. The Northwestern staff immediately saw the value in this idea, and reached out to CJE, a local leader in adult-day programming, to discuss a partnership.

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The Saints

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Chicago, IL

A nonprofit volunteer organization that provides additional staff for performing arts establishments in and around Chicago.

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Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center

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Chicago, IL

A non-profit art and design center that encourages creativity as a means of economic empowerment for youth and adults.

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Radio Arte

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Chicago, IL

A bilingual, youth operated community radio station that connects the Latino community and empowers underserved kids.

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Engaging Older Adults Through Arts and Culture: Developing a Livable Chicago for All Ages

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This report documents Chicago Aging in Place Workshop which focused on connecting older adults to culture and the arts in Chicago and in other cities across America. Click here to download the report.

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Gallery 37

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Chicago, IL

A lively art studio transformed from a previously vacant, three-acre lot into a wonderful cultural resource and an educational tool for youth around Chicago.

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