The Artistic Dreams of Children

Piece 1, Monica Gibson. Photo by Tracy Saville.

LPTrendsKids: Art & Fashion. In April, a local writer penned this piece, capturing the essence of joy between kids and their artistic dreams. Thanks, Oscar, for being so cool, and thanks also to Monica and Mas Bonita for the fashion-inspired adventure.

Article by Oscar Benjamin. Photos by Oscar Benjamin, and Tim and Tracy Saville.


An intriguing, imaginative and fascinating variation on the theme of fashion design occurred in the Spring past, in Sacramento, California. The laughter and barely contained screams of children provided the audio soundtrack to “Kidz Art for Kidz Clothes,” within the studios of artist Raphael Delgado – an auction event to support the internship project for graduating student, Monica Gibson of the International Academy of Design and Technology.

Raphael with the kids! Photo by OB.

The art of Raphael Delgado provided a colorful backdrop to the inspiration for many of the children whose artwork inspired the fashion that was displayed that night. The line designed by Monica Gibson sprang from her interaction with their artistic dreams.

“My inspiration was the children’s art. We hosted a Facebook event page and people uploaded their artwork there.” They will “use some of the profits from the sale of the clothes” to help fund Raphael’s charity of choice, she also shared – a kid’s art supply drive.

Monica Gibson, the fashion designer. Photo by OB.

As the children walked past the guests, the night’s hosting duties fell to publisher and sponsor of the project, Tracy Saville. Saville has created the “Fuse Apparel” umbrella concept as a novel method to empower new designers with the opportunity to utilize the artistic concepts of emerging artists. The novel idea may provide monetary return that would help the fledging designers and encourage future art projects. Later Saville offered, “We don’t know if it will be successful, but we love the idea of pairing art with children and design – anything can happen!”

Moms, kids, and Monica after the show! Photo by OB.

The success of a clothing line is sometimes measured by a monetary profit, but the night’s activities could more accurately be gauged by the reactions of some of the young artists that were in attendance. A young artist by the name of Michaela spoke about her experience with a hint of pride about attending the event and seeing her work on display, “I feel happy and excited!  I like to draw things of what I feel”.

A younger and more bashful artist supplied the true sense of wonder that many lose as they progress in life. Hannah supplied these wonderfully simplistic, yet powerful words that address where ideas come from, which truly reflects the night’s raison d’être,

About the clothes she sang, “I just get ‘em’!”

The clothes! Photo by OB.

It is this powerful belief as children that many of us lose as adults. Approaching fashion with a child’s sense of imagination proved to be a winning idea as Monica Gibson’s project came to. By working with children whose imaginations are not encumbered by “reality”, a seasoned artist can approach a subject with fresh eyes.

Artist Raphael Delgado underscores this notion with a sense of accomplishment as the night came to an end, “I was very impressed with the style of art they were making. The way that they captured the essence of things. I always thought it would be cool to incorporate designers and use kids’ art.  It was a brainstorm and she (Monica Gibson) ran with it”!


The real reason why children need art and you to support them in it. Photo by Tim Saville.

LPMagazine shares this story by Oscar Benjamin because we all need a little inspiration from those whose eyes are not yet spoiled by contrivance or fear. Go kids. Go art. Go big ideas.

Thanks to Melanie Blalog, Monica, all who attended, IADT Sacramento, and the Delagado’s.







Dance Chicago – From Orland Park to Istanbul

From Kathryn’s desk … National News: In its current and 18th season Dance Chicago is representing 200 + premieres, 250 dance companies and choreographers and 3,000 artists in 20 different performances.

Quirky and unpredictable, Dance Chicago endures as a gritty, grass-roots compendium of the area’s present dance scene and its possibilities.” - Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune

Why does Artistic Director John Schmitz work so hard to make Dance Chicago all that it is? 

…..So that dancers can build confidence – in both their artistry and in their community. Differentiating dancers in a specific area of the globe is important to John, but that means fighting the system, which baulks at the idea of communities building an infrastructure of dance unique to their area of the globe. The ‘establishment’ (world-renowned dance companies) typically ignore community ties. They often feel any artistic impression emulating local culture might weaken their international appeal.

“If the element of surprise is carbon,

Dance Chicago is a diamond”

Time Out Chicago Review

John believes in building a dance community from the bottom up – not the top down. His festival, that he literally lives and breathes, is more than just a mere festival – as if that wouldn’t be enough – because who doesn’t love a festival? To John it is also the essence of community. The dancers themselves, he tells me, are unstoppable in body (bodies that need to move) and spirit (that ultimately moves us, the audience).

“Dance Chicago has made a name for itself not only as Chicago’s premier dance festival, but also for its touring performances. Every year, Dance Chicago takes three different groups on the road for performances around the world, from Orland Park to Istanbul.”

 What drives his passion?

John tells me he is also a dancer, and building this community of dancers unique to Chicago is a long uphill battle that has had much success and inspiration along the way from the dancers found, trained and developed to their fullest, and who, as artists, bring heart and soul to John’s dream. He also claims that as much as he loves dance, he can’t stand to watch dance without going crazy from the errors in staging, etc.

Ahh the always unsatisfied mind of the perfectionist artist! Alas, we are thankful because it causes them to build from nothing what is their vision and when they do – we come! To be moved, touched and inspired from our toes to our souls.

“The 20 shows from October 20, 2012 through February 14th, 2013 are showcased in the Dance Chicago way by Artistic Director John Schmitz. Each performance features as many as 13 Chicago companies representing all facets of dance: Ballet, Hip-Hop, Steppin, Footworkin, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Ballroom, Irish, Mexican, Bangra and other of the many rich textures from Chicago’s neighborhoods. The Kid’s shows have all the diversity as the adult shows, only the works are shorter and tailored to young families.”

I was able to speak with the intelligent, passion-driven John Schmitz recently, and ask some questions about his all-consuming, life-changing labor of love with Dance Chicago. 

K – Who founded Dance Chicago and how has it evolved over the years?

J – I originally developed the concept with Fred Solari, who is now deceased. Currently I am the sole artistic director, curator and fund-raiser. It’s an overwhelming task, but richly rewarding.

K – Is there an over-riding philosophy Dance Chicago adheres to?

J – Our philosophy and goal is to develop and present high quality, transformational Chicago dance, using all universal forms of dance, and therefore appealing to a wide audience.

K – What are some of your most outstanding achievements associated with Dance Chicago?

J – Myself and Fred Solari were the Chicago Tribune Chicagoans of the year in 1995, and we received the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Chicago Dance Community. I was honored with the Columbia College Entrepreneurship of the Year Award in 2007.

K – Any particularly acclaimed artists who became renowned because of their work with Dance Chicago?

J – To name a few – Lauri Stallings, Jon Leher, Eduardo Villaro, Julia Rhoads, Paul Christiano – and there are many others. We frequently get calls from Dancing With the Stars and America’s Got Talent. We just arranged the success of Stick & Move Dance Crew – in AGT – going to Los Vegas.

K –What makes you most proud of the Dance Chicago festival?

J – The festival has anchored the revival of Dance in Chicago for 18 seasons. Many performers in today’s festival were not yet born when the festival started. We put Chicago choreography on the international map.

K – How large is your typical audience?

J – We generally have approximately 500 audience members per show.

K – What would you like to see Dance Chicago doing in 5 years?

J – I’d like to see Dance Chicago continually reinventing itself to respond to the needs and interests of the dance community. 

K – Adding what perhaps?

J – I’d like to add more choreography projects and more humorous work. 

K – What local performances are coming up in the near future?

J – Orland Park Best of Dance Chicago happens in June, Dance Slam at Athenaeum Theatre takes place 10/22, 10-28, Dance Chicago Stage 773 is on 10/29-11/4, Dance Chicago performs at Athenaeum Theatre 11/5-11/18 and of course you can visit our website for details and ticket information.

Thank you John! We greatly appreciate your quest for the ‘unknown achievement’ you are dedicated to developing, and the dance community that is continually reforming from your vision!

You can visit Dance Chicago’s website at: and FB page at:, Twitter at

Photos courtesy of Marc Hauser

Article by Kathryn Mattingly.



The Delgadonian Principle


The Art and Science of Exraordinary

September 'leadingpossibilities" Cover Feature Artist Raphael Delgado

The September premier issue of “leadingpossibilities” features the Extraordinary Profile of Raphael Delgado. The Delgadonian by Christopher Karne Frost.

HERE - view the YOU TUBE video - the new urban literary video  - listen to the writer read his compelling story and see the art and world that is contemporary artist phenom Raphael Delgado.

Read the 4 page full feature article HERE.