CHICAGO, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a strong supporter of Chicago's Gallery 37, will honor the many young artists who have participated in this award-winning job-training program in the arts by displaying a comprehensive collection of Gallery 37 artwork in its corporate headquarters. More than 150 pieces of Gallery 37 artwork are on display in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois offices, which are located at 300 East Randolph in Chicago. The collection, which is professionally curated, represents the creative efforts of hundreds of young apprentice artists ages 14-21. It includes artwork in such diverse areas as stone sculpting, wood carving and portraiture. "We are proud of our association with Gallery 37, and we are very excited about our extensive new art collection," said Ray McCaskey, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "Gallery 37 has helped thousands of young people in Chicago develop their creative skills by introducing them to the world of art and we are absolutely thrilled to offer our support by displaying their artwork in our building. These young people are going to be the artists of the next millennium." Lois Weisberg, Chicago's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, stated, "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has made a strong statement about the importance of supporting arts for our youth through their significant collection of Gallery 37 artwork. We are deeply gratified by this commitment, and proud of the prominent display of Gallery 37 artwork in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield corporate headquarters." Gallery 37 is the City of Chicago's award-winning job-training program in visual, literary and performing arts for young people. Since its inception in 1991, Gallery 37 has created jobs for more than 8,000 Chicago youth and 800 professional artists. Last year, the program was selected as a "Top Ten" Innovation in American Government by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. Supervised by professional artists in such programs as architecture, playwriting, mural painting and textile design, Gallery 37 apprentice artists produce quality artwork that is installed in public areas or sold privately. Through this program, Chicago youth develop skills -- such as problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and teamwork -- that will serve them well in future employment opportunities.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois