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Marwen is a creative youth development organization that educates and inspires Chicago’s young people from under-resourced communities and schools through free visual arts programs.

Marwen was founded in 1987 by Chicago entrepreneur Steve Berkowitz and named after his two daughters, Marcy and Wendy. Inspired by the positive impact arts education had on his own children, he founded Marwen to create free opportunities for young people from under-resourced communities and schools in Chicago to participate in the visual arts.

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In 30 years, Marwen has created a community of more than 10,000 alumni. Students from across the city of Chicago receive rigorous studio art courses, college and portfolio support, and individual counseling in a safe and creative space.

Practicing Chicago artists teach all Marwen courses and workshops which span many visual disciplines, including photography, ceramics, fashion design, and digital animation. Other opportunities for Marwen students include art-based career planning courses and workshops, paid employment opportunities, an internship program that provides on-the-job training, and an annual career day during where students meet professionals from a broad spectrum of fields, including architecture, graphic design, arts education, and filmmaking.

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Marwen's students come from 55 of Chicago's 57 zip codes and nearly 250 different schools. More than 90 percent of Marwen students have limited access to arts education and come from families that self-identify as low-income. Through Marwen's programming, these students can learn important artistic and professional skills, develop friendships, and gain confidence in their work and their identities.

For more information, please visit our main website:

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