Auditorium Theatre’s Hearts to Art Summer Camp Returns July 2020

Hearts to Art photo by Julia Nash Photography

Hearts to Art, the Auditorium Theatre’s award-winning summer camp for young people who have experienced the death of a parent, returns for its 16th summer in July 2020. Thanks to the generous support of Auditorium Theatre donors (including the Auditorium Theatre Auxiliary Board, which raised more than $16,500 for camp at its annual Trivia Night fundraiser on February 28), Hearts to Art is offered at no cost to campers and their families for the first time in the program’s history.

“Hearts to Art is an invaluable program for young people who have experienced a devastating loss,” says Rich Regan, Auditorium Theatre CEO. “As someone who lost a parent at a young age, I know how important it is to foster a sense of community, hope, and healing among peers. It is a privilege to present this life-changing camp every summer.”

“It’s an honor to provide our campers with a community and home that is so meaningful,” says Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman, Hearts to Art Camp Director. “We wish that no camper needed our services, but since that is not the reality we live in, we are grateful and proud that we have had support for this program for 16 years. That is 16 years of fostering emotional growth and connection and providing a place for campers to explore the power of creativity and art while coping with their loss.”

Campers participate in dance, theatre, and music sessions each day, and have special sessions with local organizations. In the past, campers have learned from improvisational comedy group Playmakers Laboratory (formerly Barrel of Monkeys) and the poetry organization Young Chicago Authors. They also put together a talent show, in which each camper gets to showcase their own unique skills, and a final performance, developed by camp staff with the assistance of campers.

Additionally, campers hear from speakers who similarly lost parents at a young age. Past speakers have included former Auditorium Theatre Executive Director and camp founder Brett Batterson; actor and former Hearts to Art camper Khalil Everage; and composer, actor, and playwright Hershey Felder.

Professional counselors are on site and lead small group healing sessions, which give campers the opportunity to share their feelings and experiences with their peers. Camp staff is trained in trauma-informed practices to assist with campers’ needs, and a licensed social worker is on site throughout each session.

Throughout the year, campers are welcomed back to the Auditorium for special reunions during an Auditorium Theatre performance or event such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah.

The Auditorium Theatre Auxiliary Board hosted its annual Trivia Night fundraising event, benefiting Hearts to Art, on February 28. The event raised over $16,500 for Hearts to Art, and proceeds go towards covering camp tuition, art supplies, food, and transportation.

Hearts to Art Information and Registration Details

The Auditorium Theatre offers two Hearts to Art camp sessions: July 6-17, 2020 (for young people ages 7-10) and July 20-31, 2020 (for ages 11-14). Hearts to Art takes place at the Willow Creek Community Church’s Chicago campus at 1319 S State St. The camper talent show and final performance showcase are hosted at the Auditorium Theatre’s Katten-Landau Studio (425 S Wabash Ave).

Registration for Hearts to Art is open now.

For more information, visit or call 312.341.2353.

About The Auditorium Theatre

The Auditorium Theatre, located at 50 E Ida B Wells Dr at Roosevelt University in Chicago, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to all of Chicago and beyond as The Theatre for the People. The organization also is committed to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark.

The Auditorium Theatre 2019-20 Season is made possible in part with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel. Chicago Magazine is the official magazine sponsor. For more information about programming, volunteer, and donor opportunities or theatre tours, please call 312.341.2310 or visit For a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please click here.