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Art that Unifies

Recently released inmates could be potential scholars with the tools and classes that Rumble Arts Center provide.

By Uncategorized

A look at Humbolt Park’s Rumble Arts Center

By Katie Bateman

Laboratory Dancers during their Sunday dance class at Rumble Arts Center, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.  Photos by Marie Socha

Laboratory Dancers during their Sunday dance class at Rumble Arts Center, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Photos by Marie Socha

“1,100 inmates released from prison each year are relocated to Humboldt Park,” said Brook Wolf, director of the Rumble Arts Center. “Those 1,100 people could be potential scholars with the tools and classes that [we] provide.”

Wolf, an SAIC alum, is the director of the Hulmboldt Park-based organization which helps its participants to integrate creative tasks with important life skills through creating hope for a better life, using that hope to engage in a service program, and ultimately channeling those experiences into a job.

“We focus on the inner workings of a relationship between the mother/father and child, as well as bringing the community together through the range of classes that we offer,” Wolf said.

Some of the classes include figure drawing (taught by Wolf), comic book and illustration, African drum and dance, Filipino and Indonesian martial arts, yoga, writing, and a hip-hop dance classes for kids and adults.

One of the dance classes called “Let Me See Yo Footwork!” is taught by “The FootworKINGz (FWK)” who were on the popular television Show “America’s Got Talent” and were a part of “Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet” 2009 tour. In total, there are 23 teachers, all of them volunteers.
In addition to working with families, Rumble Arts also plans to offer classes to former prisoners. Wolf notes that because they have difficulty finding jobs once leaving prison, there is so much uncertainty “that makes them feel inadequate.”
She hopes to “aid in helping these individuals to have hope and to feel that they have somewhere to go.”

“These programs at Rumble Arts do not focus on progress reports or a grading system, while other after school programs may,” Wolf said. “Rumble Arts gives students the ability to have an outlet from a rigorous academic art system, [and] a taste is given to those who want to pursue that next step into a career.”

The Rumble Arts Center also owns a gallery space located on the first floor of their two-story building, which they rent out to others for different events and shows, as well as hold their own cultural events.

With the rental income, the center is able to provide the supplies needed for established classes, as well as providing for the newer classes being established.

“The more we are able to rent the gallery, the more we are able to give back to the classes, it’s kind of a cycle,” Wolf said.

The Rumble Arts Center is also affiliated with the organization “Food Not Bombs.” Every Saturday they provide hot meals, as well as fruits and vegetables, (provided by Whole Foods) for the public on the lawn of Humboldt Park.

This is another way of helping out the community during these hard financial times, by building opportunities for individuals to create and gain knowledge in spite of monetary hardships.

“It’s hard to believe that we began to offer classes here only a little less than two years ago,” Wolf said. “It’s still very much a baby to me.” The infrastructure of Rumble Arts began with a few classes and, though expanding, continues to maintain the same important goal it started with: unifying the community.

3413 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-4441
Email: [email protected]


Rumble Arts Center is an all ages, multicultural, community arts organization serving Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. We offer donation-based classes in art, music, dance, yoga, martial arts, writing, and performance in addition to regular cultural events. By providing educational opportunities for all ages, we actively cultivate an environment where entire families can come together to learn, teach, and play under the same roof. … In this way, we build meaningful, mutually rewarding relationships with local artists, our neighbors, and other community organizations that share our vision of making the arts a thriving presence in our daily lives.


Visit for a
complete class schedule.
May 8
Various art workshops
May 14
Humboldt Park community organization showcase

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