Monica Haslip, Black Pearl's founder, established the organization in the basement of her Bronzeville mansion ten years ago. Her mission? To provide a safe after-school haven for young children while helping them develop their artistic talents and teaching them to market their work. Today Black Pearl makes its home in the 40,000-square-foot Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center, located in the Kenwood area, which lies just outside of Bronzeville.
The cultural center houses Black Pearl, but also provides Chicagoans with artistic and cultural experiences while staying true to its original goal of training youth in arts and entrepreneurship. Black Pearl's nonprofit workshop instructs students in a variety of media, including sculpture, ceramics, papermaking, furniture design and building. Student work is on display and for sale. The center also hosts an artist-in-residence program, where local creatives share their work with the community. A must-see destination for all Chicagoans, the center is splendidly rich in color and life and truly anchors the corner it now calls home.
Centerstage Reviewer: Venita Griffin