A dream come true.

Since Side Street's inception in 2013, we have worked to offer as much free and low-cost access to the arts as possible, all while making sure artists and artist-educators are getting paid. Offering a large portion our educational programming to young artists for free has been a dream...until now. In response to the current urgent need in our community, with some retooling and community and funder support, Side Street is thrilled to offer most of its 2022 programs for young artists for free!

Fall offerings and registration information are shown below. We know these classes will fill and we will have waiting lists. We will do our best to expand offerings and get to as many young artists as possible. Whether they are just starting out or have been creating for years, we are looking forward to working with them to find their individual creative voice. 

Please note, times, dates, etc. are subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. Class registration and length is extremely limited to allow for distancing and enhanced safety and cleaning procedures. Additionally, everyone is required to wear a properly fitted mask during all time in any space at Side Street Studio Arts. We look forward to growing class sizes and offerings when it is safe.

- Tanner Melvin & Erin Rehberg

Founders & Executive Directors

Winter Classes

Classes run 1/30/22 through 3/12/22

Painting and Drawing for Kids w/ John French

3:30-4:30pm Grades 1-3  FULL

5-6pm Grades 4-6

Young artists will explore creative design practices and basic techniques in the mediums of painting and drawing.




After School Art II w/ Ivette De Santiago, Nick Mataragas, and friends

3-5:30pm (Grades 1-6)

Includes a Spanish-speaking instructor

Young artists must have previously taken an art class at SSSA. These artists will continue down their creative paths, as they expand their horizons into more advanced techniques and work in multi-media, printmaking, and more!

  • This class will include multiple groups, separated by age

  • Snack will be included in this class

  • Includes a Spanish-speaking instructor

Explorations in Photography w/ Chris Arrecis
4:30-6pm (Grades 6-12)

This guided photography class will focus on creative exploration and basic techniques of a number of photography methods and will include time in the darkroom. Good for beginning and intermediate artists. All supplies will be provided.

Interested in private lessons or drop-in classes, visit us HERE.


Spring Classes

Tuesday, March 29-Thursday, March 31

FREE Spring Break Art Camps

Tuesday March 29 - Thursday March 31

Grades K-3: 9:00 am - Noon

Grades 4-6: 9:00 am - Noon

Grades 7-12: 10:00 am - Noon

Young Artists will explore a variety of creative mediums on their Spring Break!

Your young artist is eligible to register for free classes, if they:
  • have an interest in art and are excited to participate
  • are committed and able to attend all weeks of the session
  • live within 10 miles of Side Street's downtown Elgin location
  • are grade appropriate for the class.
If your young artist is all of the above but still faces barriers to participation, please email us HERE, and we will work with your family to facilitate a creative experience. 
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Teen Art Hang

Teenagers interested in any type of art are welcome to join us for this drop-in monthly hangout! Art supplies will be provided and Side Street staff will be onsite to oversee the group. Dinner will be provided as well. 

Teen art hang occurs on the first Sunday of every month from 5:00-7:00pm and is intended for grades 6-12.

Besides that - everything else is up to them! They can spend time making work, talking to other artists, or just being.

Registration is only required so that we have guardian consent and emergency contact information. Young artists can attend every month or just every once in a while, as long as the registration form is complete.

Special thanks to those below for sponsoring our free art programs which help make these offerings possible

Anonymous donor-advised fund at The Chicago Community Foundation