Chicago City of Learning at SAIC

Continuing Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is now a part of Chicago City of Learning (CCOL), a groundbreaking initiative by the City of Chicago that creates learning opportunities for young people outside their schools. CCOL opens new paths of discovery, allowing Chicago's youth to explore the city's rich resources and discover what they can learn, make, do, and ultimately become.

Middle and high school students who complete select camps and courses through SAIC Continuing Studies will earn a digital badge from CCOL. A digital badge offers students a way to represent online the skills they have learned. These badges can be shared on websites, blogs, social media profiles, online portfolios, and résumés.

In 2009, President Barack Obama launched Educate to Innovate, an initiative that raised more than $700 million in public-private partnerships to help raise American students from the middle to the top of the pack in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). There is a growing national movement among organizations, including the National Science Foundation, to integrate the arts into STEM, turning it into STEAM.

By earning a combination of badges through CCOL, Chicago youth receive city-level badges for work in STEAM fields. STEAM badges unlock higher level citywide challenges that allow participants to demonstrate their skills.

SAIC’s interdisciplinary educational philosophy encourages students to explore the intersections among the STEAM fields. Through Continuing Studies, students can study animation, architecture, fashion, web design, video game design, digital design, toy design, 3D modeling, photography, DIY publishing, and artist materials and techniques to earn CCOL badges.

Diverse voices from the not-for-profit, scientific, academic, and corporate communities increasingly recognize the benefits of quality arts programming for young people. Research by the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Chicago Community Trust shows that students, especially low income youth, who have had significant exposure to arts education are more likely than their peers with low levels of arts involvement to complete college and obtain good jobs.

SAIC's proposed Chicago STEAM activities will expand the institution's outreach, giving more students access to the Art Institute of Chicago; Sullivan, Rymer, and Student Union Galleries; Gene Siskel Film Center, Fashion Resource Center, Video Data Bank, and the MacLean Visual Resource Center.

Students will also have access to SAIC's renowned faculty, many of whom are leading practitioners in their fields. 

The leadership of SAIC President and prominent physicist Walter E. Massey reinforces SAIC's commitment to STEAM education and our students' potential to transform the local and national economy by applying innovative solutions to societal issues.

CCOL badges will be awarded for the following camps and courses:

Middle School Program, ages 10–13

Fall and Spring:


Early College Program, grades 9–12

Fall and Spring: