Who we are
What began as an artists’ dream in the basement of her gray stone is now the Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center located in the Kenwood/Oakland neighborhood. Little Black Pearl is a thriving nonprofit serving youth in the Kenwood/Oakland, Woodlawn, and Bronzeville neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side. Firmly rooted in the black community, as the population has changed, so has Little Black Pearl by working with an increasingly diverse youth population and adding curriculum and services for adults and families.
Today Little Black Pearl is a 40,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the community. This cultural arts center provides opportunities in art, culture and entrepreneurship to youth, adults and families across Chicago. In 2011 LBP expanded its vision of marrying art and education by establishing Options Laboratory School.
No gift is as precious as the potential of a child
Their talents, needs, questions and hopes are entrusted to us. Our job is to guide, nurture, support, empower, and challenge them. They are the heart and hope of our community. At Little Black Pearl (LBP) we commit ourselves each day to achieving success for all children by empowering them to envision and achieve their unique potential through art and entrepreneurship. Moreover, we believe that art is an integral part of a healthy community and its presence creates opportunities for community and economic development.
What we do
LBP works diligently to counter the challenges urban youth face by providing a safe environment, positive role models, and rigorous program and skill development activities and opportunities. Our 18-year history has successfully proven that it is possible to marry art and entrepreneurship through real life application of talent, interest and skills. At Little Black Pearl, youth feel safe and open to exploring, expressing and challenging their ideas and feelings through art. The combination of art and business bring out innate talents and shows youth the value of their work. They learn lifelong skills; enhance their self-esteem and benefit from the sale of their art. A wide array of works of art created by youth in programs and workshops provided by Little Black Pearl are available for purchase through the Art and Design Center.