Snow City Arts Foundation

aka Snow City Arts   |   Chicago, IL   |


Snow City Arts inspires and educates children and youth in hospitals through the arts.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Carrie Spitler

Main address

1653 W. Congress Parkway Rush-Kidston 103

Chicago, IL 60612 USA

Show more contact info



NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Single Organization Support (E11)

Single Organization Support (O11)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We aim to bridge the learning gap that children encounter when they miss school due to short-term or long-term hospitalization or chronic health care needs. We partner with Rush University Children’s Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Children’s Hospital University of Illinois, and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. Our professional Teaching Artists work in inpatient and outpatient pediatric units to engage children in arts-based workshops in creative writing, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and dance. Artmaking in the hospital can be considered recreational or therapeutic work, but SCA is entirely unique in its focus on arts learning in a clinical setting. SCA works closely with our partner hospitals to create a rigorous, standards-based arts curriculum that can serve each child’s individual needs. We then create detailed reports that children and their parents may elect to submit to their respective schools for class or attendance.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Visual Art Workshops

Our Visual Arts Workshops teach children art history, drawing and painting techniques, photography skills, digital imaging, filmmaking and much needed hands-on computer experience. In these workshops children learn to identify core artistic building blocks such as line, shape, perspective, color theory, and space. They learn principles of repetition and pattern and the expressive qualities of mood, emotion, and pictoral representation.

Population(s) Served

Our Creative Writing Workshops improve literacy, grammar, and spelling skills, expand vocabularies, and teach the overall craft of writing to the children in Snow City Arts’ programs. But more than just helping a child create a single poem or short story, each workshop session is a building block to introduce children to the larger literary world. Children are taught to read literature for content and interpretation, and to write with their voice and audience in mind.

Population(s) Served

Our Music Workshops teach children to play the guitar or piano or percussion instruments, read sheet music, learn music software, compose and record original songs, and even
learn music theory. Children in our Music Workshop explore many facets of music creation and history. Our artists are able to introduce children as young as three years old to the diverse world of rhythm and music. Adolescent patients explore music history and tradition, instrumentation, notation, and music composition.

Population(s) Served

Our Theater Workshops enhance communication, self-reliance, and team-building skills
through performance and voice techniques. In these workshops, children explore a wide array of principles and techniques including performance, design, and history, and children engage how their creative decisions are communicated to the larger community. This process enables children to create work in response to the work of their fellow
patients or from seminal theater productions from the cultural world at large.

Population(s) Served

Teaching Artists help students use a wide variety of audio and visual media techniques and technology in both one-on-one and small group settings to learn the essentials of photography, filmmaking, and podcast production. Students study the work of other artists to understand the vocabulary of the media in the context of an established artist's aesthetic that they then translate into their own work.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Coming Up Taller Award - The White House and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities 2016

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

In 2020, SCA will engage 1,300 students in 3,200 high-quality arts learning workshops, over 3,000 instructional hours across five disciplines: creative writing, visual arts, music, theater, and media arts. SCA will engage students in matching 150 learning standards of which 50% reach at least one level of mastery and We will facilitate change in level of engagement for 50% of students along both the Creative Decision Making and Techniques and Technologies assessment protocols. We will also send 200 reports to students’ home schools to help students earn academic or attendance credit, and We will also engage our Teaching Artists in more than 900 hours of individualized or team-based professional development. Finally, we will produce at least one public-facing exhibition/event, outside of Gallery Night, highlighting Snow City Arts and our students.

Our programming is built to “meet students where they are” as our Teaching Artists adjust programming to each student’s unique interests, abilities, and needs while providing the rare opportunity to work toward school credit while hospitalized. All programming adheres to a set of Best Practices that puts the student first and informs our methods for the development, execution, and evaluation that our Teaching Artists develop curriculum against Student Decision Making, Customized, Differentiated Learning, and Artistic Process Valued Over Art Product.

Across our five disciplines, our workshops include: Daily Discipline-Specific Projects in one of five disciplines which allows the student to explore interests uninhibited, resulting in a deepening of understanding and skill in arts concepts and where Teaching Artists craft curriculum designed to guide a student through the exploration of discipline-specific arts concepts and techniques; Peer-to-Peer Level Projects that provide creative ways for students to collaborate with other hospitalized children without being in the same room due to health conditions that limit students working side-by-side; and Personal Projects for children who are hospitalized for long periods of time who create a piece in a single genre or intersecting genres that to be completed over several days and visits of instruction, which allow a student to take pride in a sense of completion and ownership over their work.

SCA utilizes an assessment rubric with six-outcomes Creative Decision Making, Applying Techniques and Technologies, Sense of Self as Artist, Making Connections, Reflection, and Experimentation. These areas are measured over a four-point mastery scale: Exploring, Developing, Proficient, and Accomplished. This rubric is applied in every workshop that the Teaching Artists consider to be the student working at their ‘normal’ ability. The rubric is not employed when a student is clearly not feeling well, but wants to engage in making art.

All Snow City Arts curriculum is aligned to state and national learning standards in the artistic and academic standards to ensure rigor. In January 2015, we adopted the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core in Literacy and Math, the Next Generation Science Standards, the National Curriculum for Social Studies, and the recently released National Core Arts Standards. Our Teaching Artists and Program Director collaboratively select from over 1,000 learning standards to ensure rigor and comprehensive learning in every project.


Snow City Arts is committed to making its data collection and assessment tools as robust and efficient as possible. Now in its fifth year of use, we hope to upgrade our custom-built Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant database to make reporting and deep data analysis more efficient. This software tool permits our artists and administrative staff to precisely track each student’s demographic information, mastery of learning standards, assessment outcomes, and artistic portfolio. The report function needs to be more robust. The goal of these improvements is to make it a more efficient tool for program staff, and to report deeper analytical trends that are not currently readily available.

School Reports

SCA’s software allows us to track individual student data, mastery of learning standards, and learning development. Twice each year, we produce comprehensive reports and artistic portfolios for each student who signs a release to be sent back to their home schools. By sending these achievement reports to students’ schools, SCA helps provide a continuous academic track for arts learning. Through an agreement with clinical staff and the Department of Child and Family Services, students in the inpatient psychiatric unit at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois are now eligible for such reporting and potential credit.

In 2018, SCA engaged with 1,295 students in 2,930 workshops resulting in 2,727 instructional hours. While the majority of our participants hail from the Chicagoland area, SCA also works with students from the Midwest region and across the country. Now that SCA is fully operational at Central DuPage Hospital, our first suburban partner, we have expanded our geographic reach to a wider array of students than at any time in the organization’s history.

Our students range in age from early childhood to early 20s. In 2018, 85% of our students fell between the ages of 6 and 18. Our student population is comprised of 30% African-American, 24% Latinx, 43% Caucasian and 3% Asian-American students. 54% of our students are female, 46% are male. Across all hospitals, approximately 65% of our students come from low-income households, and receive either free or reduced-fee medical care.

In 2018, SCA celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a series of six events throughout the year, showcasing the work of students in five Chicagoland hospitals. Each event focused on one of the genres in which SCA provides programming, and were presented in partnership with some of Chicago’s most esteemed cultural institutions.

These events included a Creative Writing exhibition in partnership with Open Books, a Visual Arts Exhibition in partnership with The Arts Incubator at The University of Chicago, an exhibition on Teaching Artistry in partnership with Weinberg/Newton Gallery, an original work of theatre in partnership with Steppenwolf Education, a Media Arts Festival at Gene Siskel Film Center, and a Night of Music at Schuba’s. All of these events served as a retrospective of 20 years of students’ work in hospitals, and were free and open to the public. All of these events provided opportunities for current and former SCA students to re-engage with teaching artists, to not only see their work in a professionally-presented manner, but reflect on how their time with SCA influenced their artistic growth as individuals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Case management notes, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Snow City Arts Foundation

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Snow City Arts Foundation

Board of directors
as of 03/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr Joe Schramm

College of American Pathologists, Director Enterprise Communications

Term: 2019 - 2021

Board co-chair

Mr Jeremy Wright

Cook County Health, Regional Operations Director South Cluster

Term: 2018 - 2020

Bill Loumpouridis


Amy Bossov

YES Promotions

Bela Lopes


Monica Heenan, RN, MPA

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

David Ray

IL Institute of Art, Schaumburg (Former President)

Usha Chandran

Community Leader

Bridget Evans

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Wayne Franklin, MD, MPH, MMM

Loyola University Medical Center

Junelle Speller

Independent Healthcare Consultant

Julie Carlisle Streu

Winturst Financial Corporation

Jason Zehr

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Melissa Adams

Near North Montessori School

Mary Pelican

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Erin Amico

P33 Chicago

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/23/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data