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Amplify Peace

Amplify Peace features American artists from the diaspora of predominantly Muslim countries impacted by war. Previous iterations of the tour highlighted Syria, raising awareness around the largest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime and shining a light on U.S. based charity organizations such as the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Karam Foundation, and the Syrian American Council. The program features a dynamic, multi-genre performance by socially conscious artists along with a variety of educational packages featuring lectures, interactive workshops, and a Q&A.

The concept for Amplify Peace originated from the success of a multi-genre tour across the United States in October 2017. The initiative was spearheaded by the Syrian-American front man of the neo-soul ensemble Bassel & The Supernaturals on the heels of a successful year featuring performances at South by Southwest (SXSW), Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Chicago’s Millennium Park, and many others. The tour was produced in partnership with Sukoon Creative and SAMS, and additional artists included Syrian-American poet Omar Offendum, Libyan-American hip-hop sensation Kayem, the traditional Arabic sounds of Ronnie Malley & The Turath Ensemble, and DJ Bella Loki. Highlights from the tour included a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, and a feature by the Associated Press.

The Syrian Crisis

This lecture focuses on the modern history of Syria and the events that ultimately led to the largest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime. We will uncover the layers of socio-political tension that brought Syria to the brink of war, highlighting the effects of the Ottoman Era, the French Mandate, the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and the Arab Spring. A discussion will follow regarding the risks associated with normalizing violence and death, and the role of the United States. 

Skills/Subjects: History, International Studies, Political Sciences

Understanding Xenophobia

Beginning with a basic explanation of terms such as ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim,’ we will dive into the common misconceptions that shape xenophobic landscapes. Examples of discrimination in the United States will lead into a deeper analysis of prejudice. Students will come away with an understanding of how to recognize negative stereotypes, along with tools to build compassion for Arabs and Muslims within their own communities at a critical time. 

Skills/Subjects: Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, Religious Studies

Art & Revolution

Art is a critical form of communication and healing during times of instability. Students will learn about how prominent artists connected to the Arab Spring have activated people around social and political causes, as well as ways that humanitarian organizations are currently using art to help refugees improve their well being. Audiences will also connect directly with artists to discuss how they are utilizing the arts to ‘Amplify Peace.’ The workshop includes an activity to engage audiences in creating their own unique art centered on a cause they are passionate about. 

Skills/Subjects: Art History, Critical Thinking, Writing

ART - Artist Readiness Training Program

(Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships)
A.R.T. is a youth artist program where youth create all original performance by finding their own voice, the expression of their ideas, their life experience, thoughts, and emotions through character performance, improv, music, dance, poetry and more.

Have fun! Make work! Get paid! 

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with VOTC's After School Matters program; youth artists "tune" their instrument (voice, body, articulation), build confidence, build on participation, and responsibility, and create safe space all the while presenting original performances that vary from theatre, improv, dance, and poetry.

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Urban sandbox

Try-out & Observe.

Youth artists while training at ART can see professional arts in action with VOTC productions, including the youth produced open-mic Urban Sandbox. Youth artists can observe and learn, or perform along side more seasoned artists gaining experience and performance chops in front of a live audience.

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Youth podcast


Starting in 2018, with a partnership between Columbia College and Collaboraction, youth artists can  hone their original work to be considered for inclusion to be recorded in a youth artist podcast to be distributed to the widest possible audience.



Design.Build.Grow.Eat. explores each of these content areas (design, implementation, agriculture, culinary) using both aesthetic and science centered practices, while building practical working skills like cooperation, communication and problem solving, as youth learn and work within a small group and youth led construct. In DBGE we design and build a labyrinth/community sanctuary at the Kimball Avenue Community Garden Oasis, which includes ongoing projects, which meet the goals of the onsite "client" and the issues that arise (water management, vertical gardening to increase produce yield, aquaponics, etc). New projects and gardens are on the horizon for DBGE youth! 2018 will be an exciting year.

45' x 54' accessible labyrinth

45' x 54' accessible labyrinth

Kimball avenue oasis

Since 2013 over 200 DBGE youth worked on designing and implementing a new configuration for this 100' x 100' space. Located within the Logan Square community, this highly visible space includes the largest accessible labyrinth in the city, two little free libraries, a kinetic sculpture and much more!

DBGE youth at Paradise Garden

DBGE youth at Paradise Garden

paradise garden

In 2017 DBGE youth were invited by NeighborSpace's Paradise Garden (Lyndale & Drake Avenues) to design and help implement a Nature Play space. 

DBGE youth building accessible planter boxes for gardeners who cannot kneel

DBGE youth building accessible planter boxes for gardeners who cannot kneel

other projects

DBGE youth are called upon to help clean up community gardens and participate in work days throughout Logan Square.  

Fine Arts for Kids

Voice of the City's longest running program, Fine Arts for Kids engages young people ages 3 to 14 , from all backgrounds, to develop their talent and foster a life-long appreciation of the arts. 


Fine arts for tots

One of our most popular programs, Fine Arts for Tots focusses on Music & Movement for ages 12 to 36 months. 

Currently running as a nominally charged program at Mozart Park under the Instruction of Artistic Director, Dawn Marie Galtieri. 


Fine arts for Kids 

A FREE program at Mozart Park, currently running as a Mixed Media class under the instruction of artist teacher, Dylan Cullison. 

Since 1999, Fine Arts for Kids has introduced Art, Dance, Theatre, Music, and Photo/Film/Video (often taught in collaboration) to hundreds of Logan Square children, regardless of their ability to pay. 

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arts camp on cps days off

A program parents have depended on since the 2012 strike. VOTC holds camp on all CPS days off, based on registration. We average 8 to 12 children, but have capacity for more. Highlighting two arts classes, Theatre and Visual Art with lots of relaxed, creative play in between!