Learning Tours of Community-Based Organizations

Learning Tours of Community-Based Organizations


Chicago is a city of neighborhoods with a history that is shared with people from around the world.  Community based activism has been a feature of Chicago's communities since the days of Roger Baldwin, Jane Adams, Saul Alinsky and Emma Goldman.  SCRA participants will have an opportunity to share a dialogue with Chicago's neighborhood leaders and get to know some of the community groups that continue the legacy of community building begun so long ago.

 Community-Based Learning Tours

SCRA participants will be able to participate in one of several learning tours that will be held during the conference.  These special events are envisioned as "learning tours" where members of the community and SCRA participants could come together at a community site to collaboratively engage in dialogue about a particular issue. The overarching objective would be mutually beneficial exchange of information.

Partnering organizations will be located in a neighborhood accessible by public transportation.  SCRA members attending these learning tours will meet between 8 and 9 a.m. to travel together to the site.  There we will engage in a structured dialogue about the issues facing the community and organization, sharing our mutual interest and expertise.  The conversation will be followed by lunch, and then a return to the conference in time for 1:00 sessions.  The Voice of the City tour will occur on Thursday, June 16.  The tours to the National Museum of Mexican Art and Teamwork Englewood will both occur on Friday, June 17.

Community Tour Hosts


Voice of the City

Building community through making art and teaching art.


As an arts alliance, Voice of the City unites the finest Chicago artists with each other and with the residents of Logan Square -- connecting quality arts experiences to community.

Building community is the central focus for Voice of the City programs and performances. The alliance works to bring together the sometimes fragmented artistic community of Chicago by providing on-going opportunities for collaboration and dialogue between artists of various disciplines. When artists are able to connect meaningfully with one other, their work inevitably grows in richness and scope.

Voice of the City is also firmly committed to sharing the work of these talented artists with the residents of Logan Square. Through partnerships with other neighborhood organizations, like Alliance of Local Service Organizations, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square, the alliance brings high-quality arts education and arts experiences to the Logan Square neighborhood.

Breaking Down Barriers

Many times throughout history art has been used as a weapon to create separation. Dividing community through unaffordable pricing, creating the allusion of grandeur of the artist detached from the audience, making distinctions of the merit between artistic disciplines, or devaluing teaching as a fundamental component to an artist's process.  

Voice of the City builds community by breaking the barriers that separate the artist from their audience, by keeping high quality arts experiences affordable to everyone, not making distinctions between what is "high art" or "low art" --  focusing only on what is good art; providing informal non-competitive forums for audiences and artists to discuss the work, and providing opportunity for the "Phat" artist: An artist who strengthens his/her work by reminding themselves of the fundamentals, and the reasons for why they became an artist in the first place, by teaching art. The balanced artist makes art and teaches art.

National Museum of Mexican Art


The mission of the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) is to stimulate and preserve knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture through sponsoring events and exhibitions that exemplify the rich variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; to develop, preserve, and conserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; and to offer arts education programs.
The Museum defines the Mexican culture as "sin fronteras" (without borders) and presents the Mexican culture from ancient times to the present and how it has manifested itself on both sides of the border.

Museum of Mexican Art is the nation's largest Latino arts institution and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The NMMA has aggressively challenged the cultural imperialism practiced by so many museums and advocates the return of select major pieces to the countries of origin, like the Elgin Marbles being returned to Greece.

The National Museum of Mexican Art has become a national leader and mentor for culturally grounded
institutions and community based arts organizations, as well as for its advocacy of  "First Voice" and cultural equity issues.

The NMMA has been in the forefront of defining the role of museums in the 21st Century.

The National Museum of Mexican Art serves as a cultural focus for the more than million and a half Mexicans residing in the Chicago area.

The Museum also serves as a cultural ally to other Latino cultural groups in the City of Chicago.

Teamwork Englewood

Teamwork Englewood was formed as a vehicle for comprehensive community development in 2003 through the joint efforts of St. Bernard Hospital, Greater Englewood Parish United Methodist Church and Pullman Bank (now Park Bank). Its first task was to organize the community planning process that is a requirement of LISC/Chicago's New Communities Program (NCP).

Teamwork Englewood brings together diverse representatives of the community to participate in a collaborative and comprehensive approach to community development. Teamwork Englewood doesn't control the process or dictate to the community, but rather serves as a facilitator and coordinator of the talents, energies and resources residents and other stakeholders bring to the process - and finds outside resources and partnerships that make sense and that the community believes are a good fit.


In order to register for a community tour, please email  and include "SCRA community tour" in the subject line.  Within the body of the email, indicate which site is of interest and provide your name, institutional affiliation, and a telephone number where you can be reached during the conference.  RSVPs are required by June 3 and appreciated if sent in earlier!

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