About

Chicagoland’s Non-Profit Arts and Social Services Organization

 

Open Studio Project (OSP) is a non-profit arts and social services organization in Evanston, Illinois. We provide unique, stimulating, powerful programming combining art-making and writing, with a special emphasis on using the creative arts to inspire personal growth, interpersonal understanding, and positive social change.

Open Studio Project’s mission is to provide a welcoming environment for people of diverse backgrounds and abilities to create art that stimulates personal growth, enhances social-emotional intelligence, and promotes community well-being.

Through workshops, classes, gallery exhibits, and especially community partnerships, we promote the power of using art-making as a safe and reliable medium for personal growth and exploration. More specifically, our goal is for participants to learn how to turn to their own creativity in order to increase self-awareness, empathy, and clarity in transitional times. Specific issues for some of our participants have included life-goal clarification, career changes, illness, bereavement, and managing feelings of hopelessness and anger during adolescence and adulthood.

History

 

Open Studio Project began in 1991 with, as most things at OSP, an intention: to make art and to be of service. Three Chicago area art therapists — Dayna Block, Deborah Gadiel, and Pat Allen — began this endeavor after many years of experience in clinical settings. These therapists realized that to be truly effective in teaching clients to use art-making for personal transformation, they themselves would need to engage in and model their own creative process alongside their clients — putting both participant and therapist on the same level. Over the next 9 years, a unique art and writing process, now known as the Open Studio Process, was developed and refined in an art studio in Chicago.

In 1999, the original Chicago studio was closed and in June 2000, a new studio was opened in Evanston, Illinois, an economically and racially diverse community just north of Chicago. With a goal of greater outreach to underserved populations, OSP began collaborating with a variety of social service agencies in order to bring to their constituents the benefits of these encounters with the creative process. We have been fortunate enough to serve the Evanston community for 20 years from our studio at 903 Sherman Avenue.