Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's a New Year!

Hello everyone!
This is Alyson Thiel, the new Artist-in-Residence with Kidstreet this year. I'm really excited to be working here, and to meet all of the students and parents!
I can tell you a bit about myself: I'm 23 years old, and I just moved to Chicago from Western Pennsylvania (a country girl!). I have a BFA degree in Studio Art and I'm a painter. I'm planning on going to graduate school next year for Art Therapy. I love chocolate cupcakes, being barefoot (but not in Chicago winters of course!), tea, and being creative!
I have some great ideas for this year, so you should all be really excited. If you want to get in contact with me, just go to the Lillstreet website and click my link!
I'll be around the studios taking photographs, helping out with classes, and basically making everything as creative and wonderful as it can be. I hope to see everyone soon (winter classes are starting up next week)!
Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paint, Song, and Stories

Bobbe and Sue had their very popular"Paint, Song, and Stories" class where process-oriented, messy painting led by Bobbe took place, a story was read to the families, and songs were sung in Spanish and English while Sue played her guitar. One of the parents took wonderful photographs during the class. You can see a few in this post, and the rest on our Flickr site!

Bobbe was remembering this great class, saying...

"I gave the children shaving cream. They chose liquid watercolors, and began to mix the colors and play with the colored shaving cream on paper. One little boy was so involved in the process, he was up to his elbows in shaving cream. Many of the children speak Spanish and one girl described her painting as the "oceano." The final paintings are beautiful, however, this is a project that was focused on tactile exploration."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hi Everyone!

We're so happy that Kidstreet was able to participate in the Ravenswood Art Walk this weekend.

Below are a few images of young artists and their family members working with various art materials in the studio.

One studio was open to the public to be used as a process-oriented space to play with art materials, and our Yellow Room studio functioned as a work space for kids and caregivers to help create art pieces that will be part of a permanent display on our new cupboards.

Thanks to those of you who contributed part of your afternoon and creative ideas to Lillstreet Art Center!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our Last Week of Camp?? Already?!

It's hard to believe it, but we're nearing the end of our Kidstreet Summer Camp (sniff), but we are very excited about starting a new school year, because that means beginning our new Fall classes at kidstreet!

It's been such a wonderful summer, so good in fact, that this last week was added as an extra camp due to the extremely popular weeks of camp we've had already.

Thanks to all those who joined one week or many weeks of camp this summer. I really hope you enjoyed all the fun projects, dedicated teachers and assisstants, the old friends you re-connected with, and the new friends you made. If you're able to sign up for an after-school class during the year, it would be great to have you all back at Lillstreet again.

Please feel free to look at the newest photos posted on our Flickr site!

...And if you stop by Lillstreet this week, you'll get to see the newest installation piece constructed by Gary and Brian's class (near the water fountain), and the outer space scene made by my class.

Thanks for a SPECTACULAR summer!!! See you in the Fall!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Very Very Busy, But Having Fun!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since our last post...just goes to show how busy we've been at camp this summer...

This week, one group of campers has been working on a photography project. After talking about parts and function of an old Canon SLR, looking at books of children and grown-up photographers, writing and sketching ideas, just this morning each child was given their own disposable film camera, and we all set out to photograph the community around us. The negatives are being developed now, and we're all eager to see how the images turn out. In preparation for their 4x5 prints, the children have made simple photo albums/scrap books out of paper and yarn, to be assembled with the pictures tomorrow morning.

There are so many other awesome projects being created all throughout Kidstreet this week, such as the large-scale clay work done by Gary and Brian's class, and the monotype prints in Amanda's class. In fact, camp this summer has been so popular, we've decided to add a whole extra week! If you'd still like to sign up for next week, check availability at Lillstreet's front desk.

We hope to be posting more pictures on our Flickr site of this week's fun activities.
(Remember, there's a link to Flickr on the right hand side of this page).

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stop Motion Photography

Hi! An art camp group from two weeks ago was introduced to photography. This group of eleven 9 to 11-year-olds were immediately intrigued upon learning about F-stop, shutter speed, aperture functions, negatives and emulsion, etc.

After studying the Poloroid photo collages of David Hockney and creating their own collages with images, they decided as a group that they wanted to do a project that involved more than just still photography - stop motion.

We got to work right away, preparing costumes, dialoging about ideas and themes, and the kids even composed their own songs using Garage Band to accompany the photo slideshows. We looked at some original "stop motion" photography by the photographer working during the 19th century, Eadweard Muybridge, to get a better idea of history and possibilities.

Enjoy the short slideshow and music while keeping in mind the involved process the children were so engaged in to create these pieces in only four days! (Also, I was only able to upload one video for now, but please feel free to view the other two on the Kidstreet Flickr site in the right hand column of this page).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Camps are growing! Trees are being created!

Last week, Jenny and Angela's camp conducted a Tree Study in which they first gathered natural materials during a walk around Lillstreet, then used printmaking and painting techniques to create large-scale trees. Enjoy the colorful pictures!

Please visit our new Flickr site for more images!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"The Magical Mango Tree"

Last week, the 7 to 11-year-old Clay & Multi-Media camp created their own screenplay and a feature film (only about 4 minutes long though). Their movie was shot on Thursday and premiered on Friday. I am so impressed with the children's unlimited imagination and motivation behind the making of this beautiful film, "The Magical Mango Tree."

Because one of my goals as an art teacher at Lillstreet is to help the children engage in community outreach, I invited a friend and filmmaker, who studies film at Columbia College Chicago, to bring a video camera, some lighting equiptment, and film knowledge to the kids. He enthusiastically agreed, and helped the children make their screenplay a movie! It was a huge success - about 40 people attended the premiere (thanks to all of you who were able to support our budding filmmakers' and actors' careers!).

If you're interested, please visit this site to see a new Community of Practice (CoP, or on-line discussion forum) I've developed to engage people in dialogue about children's art-making practices as a form of taking action in their communities. I was actually asked to create a CoP for an Erikson Institute school assignment, but I hope the discussions will continue to grow and advance well beyond the course semester. On this site, you'll see some new discussion forums, a few photos, and the children's screenplay for "The Magical Mango Tree."

Don't forget to check out our new Flickr site
(lots of "Production Stills" have recently been posted!)


Friday, June 26, 2009

Camp is in full swing!

Hi!  So far, the kids here at camp are creating beautiful works of art...and this is just the beginning of summer!  Please see the new Kidstreet sign below, designed and painted by the children in Lauren's is truly an amazing piece of collaborative art.  (And personally, I think this should be printed on the next batch of Kidstreet t-shirts)

I just finished teaching an unbelievably spectacular week of camp.  The children in the AM Red Room studio worked so hard on all kinds of projects.  Two of the most inspiring seemed to be our Matisse collage study, and the anti-smoking extravaganza.  The Matisse study turned into a full-blown performance with paper puppets, performed for over 35 people (the children made and distributed tickets to the other camp classes).  I might be able to show the video footage we captured during tomorrow's Open House (12-5pm at Lillstreet!).  
The anti-smoking project was motivated by the children's dissatisfaction with people smoking near them at lunch-time on Wednesday afternoon.  The entire group picked up their lunches and moved away from the smoke in the air, and just a moment later an anti-smoking club was formed.  Please feel free to view the activist art work made by the children in response to their disapproval, just beside Lillstreet Art Center's front steps.   

Enjoy the images documenting these fantastic child-prompted, elaborate, fun, and inspiring art projects!

The Anti-Smoking Club:

The Matisse study and preparation for "Icarus in the Sea":

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Camp has begun!!!

Happy summer everyone!  We are all very excited about such a wonderful start to a new camp session!  

Below are just a few images I took during wheel throwing and clay & multi-media
Teachers and students alike have been very focused on their art-making practices, and so far it looks like no one has forgotten to have FUN!

...Please check our blog periodically throughout the summer for more images of the artwork and your children working hard as budding talented artists...

Also, please don't forget to come out to our SUMMER OPEN HOUSE this Saturday from 12-5pm!!!  
For more info, see 


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our New Reading Area

The new reading area in the Yellow Room kids studio is really coming along!  Check out our progress below....



After, and still in progress!

One of my favorite features of the newly painted wall are the black spots...we used CHALKBOARD PAINT!


Camp has begun!!!

Happy summer everyone!  We are all very excited about such a wonderful start to a new camp session!  

Below are just a few images I took during wheel throwing and clay & multi-media
Teachers and students alike have been very focused on their art-making practices, and so far it looks like no one has forgotten to have FUN!

...Please check our blog periodically throughout the summer for more images of the artwork and your children working hard as budding talented artists...

Also, please don't forget to come out to our SUMMER OPEN HOUSE this Saturday from 12-5pm!!!  
For more info, see 


Friday, May 22, 2009

A New Reading Area is Under Way!

Hi all!  We're in the process of creating a reading area in the Yellow Room children's studio. (Please see a previous blog post for more info about the use of this space!)  I hope everyone can enjoy stories together, like Pierce, his mother, and baby-on-the-way in the photo above!

I am beginning to sort through the book collection that already exists, while adding appropriate books as I collect them.  If you have any new or used books you'd like to donate to our reading corner, whether they're specifically about art or not, please feel free to drop one off at the Lillstreet front desk for Melanie or Quinn.

We also plan to paint the wall soon, where the gold curtain is hanging now, just to make the area even more inviting and relaxing.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hurry! Camps are Filling Fast!

Hi everyone!  

I just wanted to pass on a quick reminder - Don't forget to sign your children up for Kidstreet summer camp classes before they all fill!  Those of you who have been involved in camps in the past know that it is such a fun and inspiring way for your children to spend the day - making art, connecting and communicating with other children and teachers, walking to the park for a lunch break, and so much more!  And those of you who have never been involved in summer camp should at least try it!  I think you and your kids will be very pleased.  I can't help but remember my first experience as a teacher at Lillstreet.  I began working this time last summer, and after a week of camp, I was hooked, and I'm sure your kids will be too!

If you want to see a complete list of camps offered, and the schedule of classes, please visit:

Summer camp begins June 8th, and I hope to see all of you then!


Friday, April 17, 2009

The warm weather is on its way...and we hope it's here to stay!

It's been a while since our last post and a lot has happened here at Kidstreet since then. One event was our first Parent Workshop hosted by myself, Melanie, and Glynnis. It was made up of a small intimate group of parents and teachers. For two hours we worked with clay in a process-oriented way, discussed ways to nurture children's creativity, drank coffee, and talked about different clay techniques and ideas. Parents were sent home with some reading material about how to talk to kids about their art, and a great recipe for making your own clay/playdough at home. It was a great first workshop, especially when we got to hear from the parents about their interests, questions, and even concerns about their child's artistic development. For the parents who attended, thank you for participating!

And coming up soon...
We're beginning to put together a small reading area in the "Yellow Room" kids studio. This will be a space for children to read books, draw, and talk with each other when they're done with an art project, or just want time to relax after class. If you have any books you and your children would like to donate to the new reading area, we would be so appreciative! New or used, we welcome any kind of book...just drop it off in the reading corner of the Yellow studio, or leave it at the front desk for Melanie & Quinn!

We'll keep you updated with the new reading area progress and the next (FREE!) Parent Workshop!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Open House was Spectacular!

Thanks to everyone who supported the Open House last weekend! It was a huge success! Each studio and gallery space was open for our fellow artists and families from the surrounding community to enjoy. It was so inspiring to see all the incredible work on display and to watch the wonderful demonstrations taking place throughout the afternoon. I especially liked viewing our very own Kidstreet artists' beautiful work on the walls and in the display cases.  
Please enjoy the images from the Open House event below, and thanks again for supporting...we hope to see you in the Kidstreet classes beginning on March 23rd!  

Thank you also to all of you who came to the family workshop during the Open House and created a clay tile.  It was the biggest turnout we have ever had with a total of 94 tiles created!  Bobbe and Susan did a wonderful job leading the workshop and I can't wait to get the tiles installed on the walls of the kids room.   We all love the idea of our Kidstreet community contributing to the beauty of our space.  We'll be documenting the installation process and hopefully have most of the project done by the time camp begins.

Speaking of free workshops, don't forget that this Saturday 3/28 we'll be having our first parent workshop regarding nurturing children's creativity.  It's a FREE workshop, but advanced registration is required.  

Our Spring session began this week and many of our classes still have openings.  Go here to see our schedule.  Many classes are offered in 5 week sessions and will begin again the week of April 27th.

Be well!

Upcoming classes, workshops, and events:

3/28 Family Drop-In 10:30-11:30.  $10/per person.

3/28 Nurturing Your Child's Creativity 12-2pm.  FREE (advanced registration required)

3/28 Reception for The Ceramic Print  5-8pm featuring Paul Wandless, author of Image Transfer on Clay.  In the gallery.

Ongoing: Registration for Spring classes and Summer Camps.

Call 773.769.4226 or go to: to register and receive additional information.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We're feeling Spring-y

Hello all!
We hope the colds and flu that have been circulating through Chicago schools and businesses melt away with the snow and that this entry finds all of you healthy. We are really looking forward to Spring here at Kidstreet as the Winter Session comes to an end. To celebrate all the wonderful art-making during the Winter, please join us for the first all school student exhibition at our March 14th Open House. If your child was in a class this session and would like to show a piece they made in class, you can drop off work by March 10th. Contact Melanie Brown for more information:

We also have the complete Summer Camp schedule up on our website and are registering now. I was looking through my files and found some wonderful images of work done in the multimedia camps in the past:

Fiber Wall Hangings


And one of the most fun projects ever, marionettes. I loved seeing what the kids came up with and taking video of the performances.

I will be there for the open house, so I hope to see you then!

And now your weekly update from Quinn, our artist in residence:

It's already March?! It's the beginning of a new month and I'm very excited to explore all of the Kidstreet classes, document the action using photography, and share what I'm observing with you. Lately, I've been noticing the power of the art projects that emphasize a process-oriented approach, rather than a product-oriented focus. In preparation for the upcoming Open House on March 14, the Kidstreet students are starting to develop work they're interested in sharing with their friends and families at the event. Rather than ask students to "complete a final piece of art" we are encouraging their on-going creativity. So, this means the pieces they've chosen to make for the Open House may very well be works-in-progress come show time on the 14th!

Below are a few images from Kidstreet classes in February...

Hisham and Sam work on their drawings in Susan T's class:

Close attention paid to detail while carving a design in clay:

Thomas paints his clay piece with underglaze in preparation for the Open House on the 14th (He chose to contribute his sculpture titled "Rainbow" for everyone to enjoy!):

Here, Jayla concentrates on her painting experimentation:

...hope you can stop by the Open House!

Upcoming classes and events:

3/7 Family Drop-In for family members ages 2 and up. 10:30-11:30a.m. $10 per person.

3/14 Open House. Free Workshops for the whole family, open studios, and student shows. Kids' activities from 12-3.

3/14 Family Workshop: Spring Bunnies for ages 5+. 2-4pm. $25/children $30/adults.

3/28 Free workshop for parents regarding how to nurture your child's creativity featuring Quinn Hunter, Glynnis Lessing, and Melanie Brown. Please call to register for this free workshop.

Ongoing: Registration has begun for Spring classes and Summer Camps.

Call 773.769.4226 or go to: to register and receive additional information.
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

Office/Gallery Hours: