State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Jonathon and Nikki Romain transform an old school building into a community arts center.

To inspire and empower the community through the arts.

Through the community arts center, we will offer FREE after-school art programs to youth in the community and provide affordable studio space for artists to create and share their work.

There are currently no facilities that provide affordable studio space to artists, moreover after Peoria's major studio space warehouse shut down, many local artists have been displaced. There are also several after school programs offered by the Peoria park district and other organizations, but none offering FREE art programs to youth.

The 45,000 sq. ft. Greeley School building we've purchased sits in the impoverished North Valley community. This community has a large population of African Americans and Latinos. The school district has a 67% graduation rate, 29% chronically truant students, and 73% of the students are from low-income families.

Renowned researcher, James Catterall, found that students with high arts participation and low socioeconomic status have a dropout rate as low as 4%; 5x lower than their peers. They are also more likely to earn a bachelor's degree and average 100 points more on SAT scores.

The community arts center will offer classes in music, language arts, graphic arts, STEAM, family empowerment, yoga, health workshops, sewing and many more.

The $25,000 will assist with repair costs and help meet our objective of providing productive, fun, and creative activities for young people who otherwise could not afford them, in a safe environment.

Our goal is to open the community arts center in the summer of 2019. We plan to revitalize the property with colorful sculptures, murals, and an urban garden, which is sure to breathe new life into this community.

The partnerships we've established with Mayor Ardis, Councilwoman Moore, Superintendent Dr. Kherat of Peoria Public Schools, Alignment Peoria, Habitat for Humanity, and Youth Music Illinois provide us with the community support needed to secure a sustainable future.

Local artists will have sustained, affordable workspace. Through the tutelage of nationally renowned artist and co-founder Jonathon Romain artists will be provided with vital entrepreneurial skills to sustain themselves as full-time working artists.

Art has the capacity to reach far beyond experiencing or creating something visibly beautiful. A community thriving in the arts can improve early learning, increase higher educational achievement, enliven elderly citizens and enhance business performance.