Friday, November 11, 2005


Culture Hero: Monica Haslip

Monica Haslip
Founder & Executive Director
Little Black Pearl

A couple of years ago, I attended an American Association of Museums conference in Chicago and was stunned by a presentation by Monica Haslip, Executive Director and founder of Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center. Monica, aside from being one of the most striking women I've met, is one of my cutlural heroes...she traded in her successful corporate marketing career, bought an abandoned building on Chicago's South Side for $24,000 and put $250,000 into renovations. After two years of work on the building, Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center opened with a mission to teach inner-city kids about art and entrepreneurship.

Little Black Pearl is now a 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art home for arts education offering a curriculum that focuses on the "business of art." The organization now has 12 full-time staff and serves thousands of kids annually. The 40,000 square foot space includes a two-story glass atrium with courtyard, garden terrace, gallery, state-of-the-art studio spaces with viewing areas, gift shop, and café. The program allows children to explore the connection between art and business through courses in art history, business, photography, painting, pottery, mosaics, computer graphics, welding, wood working and glass blowing. This unique approach not only teaches kids how to do art but also how to sell it. So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to one of people I most admire in the world, give a big round of applause for Monica Haslip and Little Black Pearl.

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