Concept Schools’s 16th annual Art & Language Festival draws in hundreds of people

CHICAGO, IL –– Hundreds of students, teachers and parents made their way across the Midwest to the Copernicus Center on May 4 for the 16th annual Art & Language Festival. Schools within Concept Schools’s network came together to marvel at the work their students put months of effort into––and it did not disappoint. 

In a day filled with live performances and deep appreciation of world cultures, Concept Schools was proud to expand on its vision of providing students platforms to express themselves through various art forms.

“It’s important for students to have confidence in themselves,” Concept Schools President and CEO Sedat Duman said. “ALF is providing that confidence and courage they need to be successful in life. Concept Schools exists to help students reach their full potential and they are able to develop their communication skills at ALF.” 

Before participating at the event, students had to submit videos of what they would perform if selected to be a part of ALF. Those who were invited to join this year showcased their talents through singing songs in different languages, interpretive dance, classical music, spoken word and more. 

Students like Horizon School Academy McKinley Park’s Maya Carmona and Noble Academy Cleveland’s Noelle Willis electrified the crowd with their vocal performances of “La Llorona” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”. Sarayah Wisneski from Indiana Math and Science Academy North also shared a touching spoken word piece about how she has overcome her mental health struggles and hopes to inspire others to share their story. 

“I love that we can (attend ALF) because some people can struggle with sharing their emotions,” Wisneski said. “Maybe if they see someone else doing it on stage they will feel more comfortable stepping up and talking about it.” 

HSA Cincinnati’s cheer team also had the crowd going with its dance routine at the end of the event. The group, which has generated an audience of over 8,000 followers on TikTok since it created an account last fall, used ALF as an opportunity to practice their arrangement for future competitions. 

“They were really excited to get to come here and perform,” said music teacher Liliana Carpenter, who supervises the team. “We normally cheer for basketball games which is very different than a dance routine so we put a lot of time and effort into all of the little details to make it really great for the audience.” 

Outside of the on-stage performances, over a hundred pieces of artwork were displayed throughout the building. The exhibition, which included sculptures, paintings and sketches, was a testament to the brilliance of the young artists within Concept Schools’s network. 

“I was blown away by everything in here today,” said one parent in attendance. “The creativity of these kids at their age is inspiring.”

ALF will be back in 2025, and Concept Schools looks forward to seeing what its students bring to the table after a wonderful spectacle this year. 

“The event today was amazing,” said IMSA North's art teacher Paige Thompson. “That’s what I love about events like these: the kids are just able to come out of their shell, blossom and show you what they got.”

For more information about ALF, visit its website here