在70年代末, 拉里·乔丹, a young art and dance teacher in the Chicago Public School system, watched as city arts programs lost their funding due to budget cuts and program changes.

An image of the original Academy building, located at 718 West Adams Street.

The original Academy building, located at 718 West Adams Street.

 As a lifelong believer in the arts, Larry wondered why Chicago did not have a school for young artists. After submitting a proposal to his school’s administration, the board unanimously accepted the proposal, but turned down the request based on finances.

In 1980, Larry sold his car and invested the next few years into starting a performing and visual arts high school. With the support of prominent Chicago figures – such as 乔伊斯·斯隆, Essee Kupcinet, 多丽威尔逊, and 塞尔达沃纳 – Larry and the first board of trustees began the initial plans for an independent arts high school. With the school year approaching, they auditioned hundreds of students in the original building on Adams Street near downtown.

Chicago Academy for the 艺术 ribbon-cutting in 1981.

Chicago Academy for the 艺术 ribbon-cutting in 1981.

1981年9月, the school opened its doors to 59 eager young artists, who would go on to create the culture that The Academy is still known for to this day. On that first day, the sign on the school door read: THE ACADEMY: ART, MUSIC, DANCE, THEATRE.

拉里·乔丹 and 弗兰克Mustari were named The Academy’s first headmaster and principal, respectively. The original artistic faculty included working visual artists, 音乐家, 舞者, 和演员, while the academic faculty included social studies, 数学, 语言, 科学教师. The Academy was born on the principle of artists teaching artists, supported by artists.

校友亚当·比特曼, from the school’s first graduating class, recalls what it was like walking into The Academy’s doors for the first time:

“Walking into The Academy felt warm, 欢迎, and fun; it felt new while at the same time, 熟悉. 感觉就像回到了“家”." I felt grateful, fortunate, professional, eager, excited, valued, and respected. Among the students and faculty, there was a real feeling and awareness that we were all on the forefront of something groundbreaking and untested…”

拉里·乔丹 cuts cake on the first day of school at The Academy, surrounded by excited students.

拉里·乔丹 with Academy students on the first day of school, 1981.

In 1990, the school moved to its current home on Chicago Avenue and became The Chicago Academy for the 艺术. The new building offered larger facilities, better classrooms, and more accessible transportation. The faculty and staff transformed empty hallways into black boxes, stages, and rehearsal space. What were once parish classrooms became recording studios and sculpture rooms.

弗兰克Mustari, first principal and lifelong friend of The Academy.

After nearly ten years with the new name, school leadership decided to adopt a co-curricular model, which became the foundation for our unique approach to arts and academic integration. In this model, arts and academics are equally important. 在早晨, students are immersed in humanities, 科学, 数学, 语言, 和历史, and then transition to one of six arts departments in the afternoon.

In 2011, The Academy celebrated its 30th anniversary. 在这一年, the school revised its mission statement to more clearly reflect the development of its educational philosophy. The new mission statement reads:

The Chicago Academy for the 艺术 transforms emerging artists through a curriculum and culture which connect intellectual curiosity, 批判性思维, and creativity to impart skills to lead and collaborate across diverse communities.

In 2021, the school celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala honoring the many hundreds of young artists, 激发了教师, 不知疲倦的工作人员, and relentless advocates who have made this community “home” since 1981.

自成立以来, The Academy has believed that if a student belongs here, there should be no barrier to their admittance. Fundraising to support tuition assistance remains, 即使在今天, one of the most fundamental functions of the school. Because of that idea, the school has been supported by generous donors for over 40 years now.

A special thank you to The Academy’s first 校董会:





Dr. 爱德华•罗宾逊







拉里·乔丹, Founder and Director


Essee Kupcinet, Vice Chairman

Dr. William Gaines, Secretary

Donald Brenner, Treasurer