ChiMOP (Chicago, IL)

The mission of Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project (ChiMOP) is to affect positive social change in young students with limited access to the arts.

Young people need a foundation in human values to achieve long term success in music. ChiMOP provides students a safe and fun environment to make music and pursue artistic excellence together with peers and role models. ChiMOP is a member of El Sistema USA, an association of youth orchestras based on Venezuela’s el Sistema philosophy that high quality music instruction benefits students in their social, academic, and life outcomes.

Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project is part of Chicago’s commitment to improving the quality and expand the availability of arts education programs for students and neighborhoods that have a systemic and entrenched lack of access to such programs.

Humboldt Park/Belmont Cragin are legacy Hispanic/Latino communities under pressure from gentrification, with the Latino population declining from 80% to 58% in the past 20 years, while resources for the Hispanic community give way to economic pressures. As even the gentrifiers are pushed out of Humboldt, the neighboring Latino community of Belmont Cragin is starting to fall to this pressure as well.

We serve students severely affected by Chicago’s economic disparity, a result of its racist history of segregation, cultural devaluation, and gentrification. Unequal access to music education sustains this marginalization for Chicago’s Hispanic youth. According to Ingenuity’s 2022 report “Arts Education Access in Chicago Public Schools,” Hispanic youth were less likely than their white counterparts to attend a school with a music or arts program: District wide 3,705 Latinx students attend a school with no music program as opposed to just185 White students. Lack of access puts Chicago’s Hispanic youth at a life-long disadvantage.
Programs like ChiMOP, committed to working within the Latino community, with Latino institutions and stakeholders, help the community to retain its structure, its character, and most importantly, its people.

ChiMOP’s arts education programs combine arts instruction, performance and youth leadership opportunities as an intrinsic aspect of programming. Out programs are educationally and artistically rigorous, engage students in the creative process, and assess student learning in the arts.

This photo represents approximately 60 students from our Mary Lyon Youth Orchestra program in Belmont Cragin proudly posing with their beloved instruments outside their school