South Shore Arts believes that the arts have a positive impact on the scholastic aptitude of children and young people.  According to a study by the College Entrance Examination Board, students of the arts consistently outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, scoring, on average, 48 points higher on verbal skills and 34 points higher on math!  Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the arts stimulate a child’s desire to learn; improve problem-solving skills; engage the hard to reach child; increase knowledge and acceptance of other cultures; enhance self-esteem and self-discipline; and increase test scores, even in seemingly unrelated fields like math and science.

Many children desperately need self-confidence and help staying interested in school. However, those who need it most are often the least able to afford the kind of individual training and encouragement that an exposure to the arts can give them. With that in mind, South Shore Arts created the everykid program in 1995, starting with a single after-school scholarship class that brought artistically gifted fourth grade students from Hammond, Indiana, to the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster. Just 30 students were served that first year; however, South Shore Arts built on the success of the pilot program and quickly added more classes the second year, reaching out to Gary and East Chicago schools as well as Hammond. Over 28,000 are served by these programs today!

Some of the benefits of a student’s exposure to the arts include:

  • increased test scores;
  • a stimulated desire to learn;
  • increased knowledge and acceptance of other cultures;
  • enhanced self-esteem and self-discipline.

Scenes from 2003 East Chicago After-School Art Enrichment Program

The South Shore Arts everykid program annually serves over 28,000 students and their families, reaching an artistically underserved population, including inner city and rural communities, most of it at no cost.  By weaving visual arts into a reading activity, South Shore Arts has developed creative and effective tools to help teachers improve students’ English language arts skills, encourage self-respect, tolerance, and other social issues and develop a life-long love for reading and art.  By partnering with schools and youth-serving agencies, we reach a vast number of students by taking our instructors and supplies directly to them.

Under the umbrella of everykid, over 20 unique programs have been tailored to meet particular objectives at appropriate grade levels. Thanks to the success of “Polar Express,” a holiday-themed reading and art program serving over 3,300 1st grade students every year, we have developed a series of literacy-based art programs for the 2nd, 3rd and now 4th grades. “The Skin You Live In,” written by Chicago-based author Michael Tyler and illustrated by Hammond native David Lee Csicsko, gives some 7,500 2nd grade students the chance to explore the concept of skin and celebrate the ways in which we are unique, similar, happy and accepting. In the corresponding art project, students create their own self-portraits in the style of the book’s illustrations.

We have expanded into the 3rd grade, serving 4,850 with “Michael Recycle,” an environmental conservation story, in which the hero learns to correct his heavily carbon-foot-printed ways to become environmentally sensitive. Students utilize recycled materials donated by Huhtamaki, a Hammond manufacturer of the bowls produced for the restaurant chain Chipotle, to complete an art project. We have recently launched “H is for Hoosier,” a literacy program on Indiana history, a major unit of the 4th grade curriculum.

Since the inception of its everykid program in 1995, South Shore Arts has developed many successful partnerships with schools and organizations, offering creative opportunities for children and families. Meeting the particular needs of each partnership has led to positive relationships that benefit those being served. South Shore Arts is able to custom design programs by offering a variety of disciplines and themes to inspire subject matter. New partnerships and innovative programs are always in the works.

A sampling of current community partnerships includes:

  • Books, Brushes and Bands for Education
  • Center for Visual and Performing Arts
  • City of Hammond
  • Crown Point Parks and Recreation Department
  • Foundations of East Chicago
  • Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago Northwest Indiana
  • Hammond Downtown Council
  • Hammond YMCA
  • Hobart YMCA
  • Lake County Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Lake County Public & Private Schools
  • Lighthouse Charter Academies
  • Munster Parks and Recreation Department
  • Northwest Family Services
  • Northwest Indiana Symphony
  • Partners in Education, Hammond
  • Portage Township Schools
  • Taltree Arboretum
  • Theatre at the Center
  • Valparaiso Community Schools

Funding for the everykid program comes from individuals, organization, corporations and foundations throughout our community and beyond. The Beaux Arts Ball and Annual Fund provide additional support. Thanks to the donations received, South Shore Arts can continue to provide and expand arts education opportunities to children and youth along the South Shore.

Our Funders:

  • Annual Fund Donors
  • Anonymous
  • ArceorMittal
  • Beaux Arts Ball sponsors and attendees
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Don & Alice Burrell Family
  • City of Crown Point
  • City of Hammond
  • Crown Point Community Foundation
  • Enbridge
  • Foundations of East Chicago
  • Huhtamaki
  • Indiana UNiversity Northwest
  • Lake County Substance Abuse Council
  • Legacy Foundation
  • McDonald's
  • Morrow Family Foundation
  • Tri Kappa, Beta Rho Chapter
  • Dean & Barbara White Family Foundation

Perhaps the best way to assess the value of the South Shore Arts everykid program and art classes is to ask the students.

Porter County Boys & Girls Club
Alyssa Essex, age 9, described the process of making an apple: “First you use purple; then blue; then red. Then, you rub it together with your finger. You can use black and white to make it feel sculpted.” Her favorite part: “And I like getting messy!”

Hobart YMCA
“I’m making a mask like the one my great-grandfather gave me when I was a little baby,” said Kayla Brown, age 7. “I’m African-American, so it’s a cool project for me. I want to learn more about my heritage.”

“You get to use your imagination and make a lot of different things with stuff you don’t have at home,” said Shawn Lauerman, age 7. Shawn had plans for his new mask: “I’m going to use it to scare my mom.”

21ST Century Learning Program, Hammond
“I can show off my talents and it inspires me to be an artist when I grow up. Your art can tell a story about your life,” said Alexis Bustamante, age 9.

Drama Camp
During this year’s Summer Drama Camp, students learned what it’s like to put on a production. “We all had to use different voices. Mine was the hardest,” said Leslie Lopez, who played the Witch. “I had to use a scratchy voice.” Stephanie Zaccone started out shy, but soon found the courage to play the Lion. “We learned to be enthusiastic, to project and to block,” shared Cassidy Schwartz, who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Even weeks after camp was over, Cassidy and Dana Handler, who played the Scarecrow, were still reciting their lines. “We have the whole play memorized,” Dana boasted.

Adult Oil Painting Class
“I find it relaxing; something I can do anytime,” said Andy Brennan. “It’s not just physically learning to paint, but also, gaining a respect for what goes into creating an artwork; now, when I visit a gallery or museum and look at art, I appreciate other artists.” Andy believes that the social aspect of painting class expands the lives of many of the students in his class: “I also enjoy meeting others and painting with people from all walks of life.”

Raku Pottery Class
“What’s different about this class is that the students are involved in the firing process,” said Shelly Goodmanson of the Raku class she took this summer. “You don’t know what the finished piece will look like, so each one is a mysterious surprise,” she said of the Japanese inspired method of firing clay that creates a beautifully unique finish.

If your organization or school is interested in creating a custom-made art program, you may contactour staff for further information on educational outreach programming. South Shore Arts welcomes the opportunity to work with your school or organization.

Father and daughter in PACT (Parents and Children Together) Pre-School Program


South Shore Arts is looking for instructors to teach classes in drama, dance, and the visual arts, such as drawing, painting, ceramics, and more. South Shore Arts offers art classes for ages 3 to adult at each of our three facilities in Munster, Hammond, and Crown Point. In addition, South Shore Arts sends instructors out into the community in order to teach classes in schools, day care facilities, and other organizations. The hours and schedules are very flexible. Instructors can teach as little as one class a week or as many as 10 classes a week, depending on area of expertise and availability.

Qualifications required: at least a four-year degree in the Visual or Performing Arts or an Education degree with art certification. No prior teaching experience required, although preferred.

Please submit a resume, list of references, and representation of your work to: Director of Education, South Shore Arts, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster, IN 46321.