CCAP and The People’s Cook

CCAP and The People’s Cook

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Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of being involved with the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) and the work they have been doing with The People’s Cook. You may be saying, “What is CCAP and who is The People’s Cook?” Let me explain…[flickr id=”8052494179″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

CCAP was started in 1998 and has been transforming the lives of Chicago’s young people with its unique approach to forging arts-based community partnerships. The organization’s mission is to “link the academic departments of Columbia College Chicago with diverse communities throughout the city.” One of my classmates, Carolyn Sybesma, has been working for CCAP since January. Her story is a great example of the diverse fields Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management grads are working in. I caught up with her to ask her about the work she does for CCAP…

“I do a lot of different things. I help coordinate community partnerships between Columbia’s faculty and students and community based arts organizations in Chicago. This can include organizing arts events for Chicago youth that take place at Columbia. In the spring, I organize Raw Voices, a youth and arts media event. I also place Columbia undergraduate interns at different arts organizations in the city through a grant that we have. It’s great. We pay the interns, and the organizations get them for free. I just finished helping head-up a two week artist residency. This included setting up all the logistical aspects of how to engage the program with the community and with Columbia. I helped organize and lead events all over the city, from Englewood to Rogers Park, from Pilsen to the Columbia classroom. Working at CCAP has been a great opportunity for me to fuel my interest in arts management in the the field of youth and community development. I am using a really broad management skill base to serve the community administratively.”

I also asked Carolyn about opportunities for other graduate students to get involved at CCAP…

“We are always looking for more people to get involved, because so much of our work is contingent on volunteers and people who are passionate about what we do. Not only are there a lot of volunteer opportunities, but there are also always job openings, particularly for those who are awarded federal work study. CCAP is a way to do something extremely hands-on, not just at Columbia but in the community as a whole.”

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So what about The People’s Cook? Based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, The People’s Cook tours the nation with the goal of reconnecting food, culture, and art by way of humor and performance. The People’s Cook aka Mero Cocinero aka Robert Karimi creates cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, participatory arts activities, incorporating local artists and community members to sustain dynamic community engagement. Here is a short clip of the man at work…

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The People’s Cook was working with CCAP as an artist in residence to host a number of events and performances all over Chicago. Events included a Water Taste-Test, an LGBTQ Feed and Be Fed Taco Bar for Columbia students, and two community BBQs. The residency was a great success, and I can officially report that the food was delicious! I got involved, because I heard through Carolyn that CCAP needed someone to design a campaign for The People’s Cook residency. I was intrigued, and in the quest to expand my portfolio, I submitted a proposal. They liked it, and I set to work on a final design, the results of which include the poster and banner in this very post!