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Sam Mikaelian Community Arts Events

The District 39 Educational Foundation sponsors complimentary cultural arts events for the community through the Sam Mikaelian Fine Arts Fund (SAM Fund). This special endowment was created in 1998 in honor of the retiring Wilmette superintendent’s         31 years of exceptional service to the District.

rack-it!_PublicArtProject_WEBOur latest Community Fine Arts Project…

With the help of District 39 students, the Foundation facilitated the fabrication and installation of two artistic bike racks in the Village of Wilmette.  The Rack*It Project began in the art classes at all six District 39 Schools this Fall when the children were invited to design a bike rack that represents the community of Wilmette. 

All designs were submitted by October 31st. Each school reviewed the designs submitted by the children and selected five designs to submit for consideration.  A Design Committee, comprised of teachers from the District 39 Art Department,  Foundation members, cycling advocates and community stakeholders chose three designs from those submitted by all six schools. After careful consideration and review, two designs were selected – one by Elle Linetsky from Central School and the other by Nika Chuzhoy from Highcrest Middle School.

The bike racks were created by metal fabricator and D39 alumni, Austin Bader. The Foundation hosted the Rack*It Bike Tour and unveiling presentations for the community on May 9th. One new rack was installed outside the Wilmette Village Hall and a second at the Community Recreation Center. Each bike rack design is unique and is a functional piece of art that represents the Wilmette community.

Past Sam Mikaelian Fine Arts events showcased include:

  • In 2011, our sixth and most ambitious SAM event was Wilmette does Shakespeare, complete with flash mobs, a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and related celebrations at the library and Wilmette Theatre.
  • In 2008, The Second City improvisational group gave a tailor-written performance for the Village of Wilmette.
  • Our 2006 event featured the Holy Goat Ensemble and the Jubilate Children’s Choir presenting the music of West Africa.
  • In 2004, the community was treated to popular Broadway tunes in Broadway Ballyhoo.
  • In 2002, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance group performed for the Wilmette community.
  • In 2000, our SAM Mikaelian Fine Arts event showcased internationally acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton.

Each SAM event is accompanied by a related in-school enrichment project or presentation.


Wilmette Does Shakespeare ― Fall 2011

For its sixth in a series of community fine arts events, the Sam Mikaelian Fine Arts Fund of the District 39 Educational Foundation brought an extensive series of performances, movies, readings, and guerrilla theatre activities featuring the work of William Shakespeare. Wilmette Does Shakespeare was presented in partnership with the Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette Theatre, and First Folio Theatre. On Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 3 pm, Wilmette enjoyed live street theater on the Village Green, where actors performed their favorite Shakespeare scenes.

Shakespeare came to the classroom the week of October 31, when all Wilmette Junior High students enjoyed First Folio’s “Warring and Wooing” production of scenes of love and combat from several  Shakespeare works. Later that week, students in WJHS drama classes received training in movement and combat on the stage from First Folio’s artists-in-residence program. These in-school activities were sponsored by the D39 Educational Foundation’s Gripp Grant program.