Ten Chicago-based artists will be taking part in a new city-led job training program where they can apprentice at the city’s mental health clinics and become certified community health workers.
The program aims to bridge arts, health, healing and wellness by laying a foundation for collaboration between arts and health professionals, who will work toward the holistic well-being of communities, according to a news release.
Each artist will be contracted from September 2023 to December 2024 to apprentice at one of the city’s mental health clinics while also completing a community health worker certification program at the City Colleges of Chicago.
“This pilot validates the skills of artists who have long held health, healing, and wellness as part of their creative practice,” Erin Harkey, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events commissioner, said in the news release.
Each participant receives an apprenticeship award of $66,000 in salary and benefits.
The Chicago Arts & Health Pilot for Creative Workers program is funded by federal dollars via the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law two years ago to speed up the U.S.’s recovery from the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program also aims to “empower artists while enhancing trauma-informed and culturally responsive health services available to residents, particularly in communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the news release.
The city mental health clinics where apprentices will be placed include North River Clinic in North Park, Lawndale Clinic, Greater Grand Clinic in Bronzeville, Greater Lawn Clinic in West Elsdon and Englewood Clinic.
The program, which was announced in June, is a partnership between the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Department of Public Health, the City Colleges of Chicago and the national arts and health initiative One Nation/One Project.
Learn more about the 10 artists chosen for the program’s inaugural cohort here.