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1637 N. Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Street-Level Youth Media is a non-profit, media arts literacy organization serving Chicago's youth.  We teach audio engineering, mixing, video production, digital photography, online journalism, and more.  If you are between the ages of 12 through 24, all of our programs and services are free.

If you live in Chicago and are between 12 - 24 years old, come take part in one or all of our media arts programs, book a private studio session, use our computer lab or join one of our clubs.  We also host an open-mic on the first Friday of each month.  



Nancy M. Abbate

 "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Often we can get stuck in our brains and overthink our creativity. Barriers to self-expression can include oppression by internal and external forces. As The Huffington Post suggests, we frequently consider whether we are "good enough, pretty enough, or fill-in-the-blank enough." But we are all good enough and our art matters. Self-expression involves revealing your thoughts, feelings, or ideas, through writing, speaking, music, art, or dance. Essentially, it is the way we interact with the world around us and this interaction holds great value, "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

However, expressing your authentic self can give you a feeling of vulnerability. Vulnerability brings with it fear; Fear of making mistakes, fear of displaying quirks to the world, and fear of rejection by others. Vulnerability can act as a barrier to authentic self-expression. The wonderful thing about Street-Level Youth Media (Street-Level) is that it acts as a canvas for self-expression and offers a supportive environment. Classes resumed last week and they are a great way for youth to self-express because more than anything, Street-Level provides youth with a home, where youth can feel safe while being true to themselves. Street-Level currently offer the following classes: The Plug, NewsX, Anime Club, and Game Club.

The Plug and NewsX provide youth with the tools to express themselves in meaningful ways through journalism, photography, videography, and music. While Anime Club and Game Club provide youth with a space for communication. In terms of self-expression, communication always has an element of risk, such as misinterpretation of words, hurt feelings, or embarrassment. Here at Street-Level we think it is time to conquer fear. Street-Level provides youth with many outlets to self-express. As Toby Zbaraz from Vaughn Occupational High School says,

“Street-Level gives our students a chance to express themselves through music, video, and editing. They play many roles here: writer, rapper, cinematographer, photographer, actor, and artist. Since there are so many roles to play, everyone can find a niche either in front of the microphone, behind the camera or in the editing room. Watching our students open-up, express themselves, and have fun is a very rewarding experience. Our students are proud of the products they make here at Street-Level Youth Media.”

Today we challenge you, Readers, to be true to yourself by practicing your niche. Just remember, as long as you are doing something that you love, that's all that matters. How do you self-express? We'd love to hear from you below! :)

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