As part of a program focused on community development through the arts in three Chicago neighborhoods (Humboldt Park, South Chicago and Albany Park), supported by the Local Initiative Support Corporation and initiated by the Joyce Foundation, the Humboldt Park BCA Steering Committee committed to arts education partnerships with public schools as part of their community development strategy, and created the Building Community through the Arts Humboldt Park School Engagement Initiative in collaboration with the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education and co-managed with the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

Two teachers from each participating school collaborated with two artists to develop innovative curriculum-based projects that address the learning needs of students and the concerns of a historically Puerto Rican and African American community confronting gentrification. This arts-integrated approach to school improvement as part of community development supported student growth in the following ways:

• by reflecting the Puerto Rican/Latino and African American cultures and history of the neighborhood;

• by creating connections between students and their communities;

• by exploring young people’s ideas about and understandings of community development;

• by exploring young people’s ideas about and understandings of the arts.

The teacher and artist teams participated in professional development to enhance their skills in effective collaboration, in arts integrated curriculum development, and in understanding community history and community development issues.