ElevArte Community Studio & Giselle Mercier

By Daisy Carrera

ElevArte, a community organization located in the Pilsen neighborhood, is a staple within the community for all of the great youth programs it has offered since its beginning in 1978. Formerly known as Pros Arts Studio, ElevArte uses several forms of art as a way for its students to creatively express themselves. “ElevArte means, to elevate you through the arts. We needed a name that really resonated to the Latino families that we serve primarily.” states Giselle Mercier, Executive Director of ElevArte Studio.

Giselle Mercier gave us the honor of speaking to us regarding some topics such as the background of ElevArte, programs the organization offers community youth, how ElevArte plays a role in the recent public school closings in Chicago and more. We had the chance of sitting in on two of the classes the organization offers during the summer sessions; Tejer y Poder and Promo Pros.

Tejer y Poder was being taught by Thelma Uranga. The class taught the students methods of knitting and crocheting while they worked on their summer session final projects. The creative past works can be seen on their website.

Promo Pros was a marketing class taught by Lizette Garza. Here, the students brainstormed on ways to promote their upcoming We Are Hip Hop Festival. The festival promotes and celebrates the positive aspects of Hip Hop through spoken word, graffiti art and break dancing. The students here outlined week by week ways they would promote the event leading to the big day.

The We Are Hip Hop Festival is scheduled to be held this weekend Saturday, August 10 from 1pm to 6 pm. For more information on how to attend the festival, log on to the ElevArte Studio website or like on Facebook to get more notifications on the event.

The creative energy was flowing through the room as these students showed such high interaction with their teacher. “The cultural and arts richness here in Pilsen has always been the backbone to our organization, and we are very blessed to be in a community with so many artists and so much talent,” said Mercier. ElevArte’s mission of teaching and inspiring youth was evident in the classrooms while having their teachers not only serve as teachers, but mentors and examples for these students, our youth, and the Pilsen community.

Check out the interview with Giselle Mercier to learn more about this cultivating organization and what it has to offer to the community.