a medium-skinned hand holds a blue card which has a silver key-shaped USB drive attached to it. the USB says the word "DRIVE" in aggressive font. the blue card is a duotone photo of dancers in evocative poses.
Reconnecting formerly incarcerated teens with the arts
with The Chicago Community Trust

The Chicago Community Trust is a community foundation dedicated to improving the region through strategic grant making, civic engagement, and inspiring philanthropy.


Chicago, IL

Topic Areas

Arts & Culture
Youth Development

Project Types

Digital & Physical Tools
Visual Identity

Arts education programs can help teens inside Chicago’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center discover their talents, heal through creative expression, and even develop a new outlook on life. But once they re-enter society, it’s too easy for these young men and women to put their creative pursuits on the back burner. With support from the CCT, we designed a digital resource to bridge that gap.

Project Outputs


We named, branded, designed and produced a digital platform with a youth-focused voice. While at the detention center, teens may access computers but not the internet, so we created a hard-coded website that lived on individual USB drives.

Thanks to our arts education partners, each drive has in-depth information on seven types of art. Not only that, it also features connections to housing and mental health services, how to expunge a record, how to re-enroll in school and other practical information. That way kids can make sure their basic needs are met while also fostering a deeper connection with the arts.

This made me think, ‘key to my success.’ If you don’t have a key to start the car, you can’t go, just like if you don’t have this key, you can’t start a positive life.

Aaron Former incarcerated youth and current youth leader

Client & Community Outcomes


By creating an object of value, intended to stand out from the pile of papers handed to youth upon release, our goal is for Drive to be kept, used and accessed. Ultimately the intent is for youth to continue engaging with the arts, sustaining the strategy of the Arts Infusion Initiative, which is to foster positive youth development for at-risk teens.