Do Your P’Art has been fortunate to bring prominent guest speakers to the culminating event, as well as directly into the classroom:
Taking time from her news reporting and anchoring duties at Fox Chicago News, anchor Anna Davlantes gave a speech at the Do Your P’Art Foundation benefit on April 30, 2010.
Speaking on the importance of diversity in Chicago area schools, Ms. Davlantes spoke to the crowd hailing the Foundation’s efforts. She felt the group is providing an important role in art education. She noted the budget cuts in schools across the area and how Do Your P’Art has stepped in with lesson plans and the required materials for the program. Field trips to the art collaborations with schools from other socioeconomic communities are also provided by the charity.
The Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Eleven internationally exhibited artists, including vernacular artist Lonnie Holley, and National Heritage Award winner Mozell Benson, came to Chicago on three separate occasions throughout 2004-2005, sponsored by and on behalf of Do Your P’Art. They spent a week in January of 2005 working with 800 students at the American Indian Center on story quilts depicting various cultural themes. The quilters returned to Chicago to speak to an additional 1,500 students about their history stretching back to the first slave ships, and their optimism for race relations of future generations. The third visit made by the Gee’s Bend quilters centered around the culminating exhibition of the 24 School created quilts, at the Field Museum.
Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to enter a previously segregated Louisiana school in 1960. Do Your P’Art arranged for Ruby to speak about her experiences at Joseph Sears Elementary, Carleton Washburne Jr. High, Saints Faith Hope & Charity, Greeley Elementary, Crow Island School, Hubbard Woods, Family Focus, and at our culminating event.
- John Brown, Jr., a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, World War II veteran and one of the original 29 Navaho Code Talkers, who shared his experiences from World War II.
- David James, former Tuskegee Airman serving in the U.S. Naval Air Force during World War II spoke with students about his military experience as a minority.
- Native American culture performers including Nora Lloyd and R.J. Smith on Ski Bmaadzi Drum. This cultural celebration included local Native American children explaining the significance of dance and drumming in celebration of their culture.
- Virgil Brown, acting Principal of Tsaile Elementary School on a Navaho reservation , spoke to students about a Navajo reservation child’s life and the history of the Navaho tribe.
- Various Native American artists from New Mexico, Montana, Arizona, Wisconsin and Minnesota including noted children’s author and illustrator Baje Whitethorne.
- Mexican and African American artists, including Salvador Saenz, teacher at Santa Clara del Cobre School in Santa Clara, Mexico.