Celebrated Performance Artist Available for Residency Program in CPS


In the hallways of Rees E. Price Academy, large student-made canvas banners show off the fruits of a weeklong visit from performance artist Mark Thesken.

Artist in Residency ProgramUnder Thesken’s guidance, Price Academy’s students designed and painted the six
5-foot by 8-foot banners. The colorful banners demonstrate a variety of art styles, including depictions of a lion safari for “Price Pride” and a patriotic tribute to veterans; a series of geometric shapes using the creative-splash technique; and a bowtie design that salutes pop art.

Price Academy was the first CPS school to bring Thesken inside in a pilot artist-in-residency program launched in the 2015-16 school year. He’ll also spend a week each this school year working with students at Covedale School and Cheviot School, and it’s hoped that Thesken will be invited into six more schools in 2016-17, said Dr. Isidore Rudnick, CPS’ curriculum manager for fine arts.

“It’s a great way to inspire our students to get engaged in the visual arts,” Rudnick said. “Mark is so soft-spoken, gentle and creative. He’s really great with the children.” DSC09080

Thesken is a highly original live-performance speed painter who has performed for schools, businesses and organizations throughout the country. He’s known for creating large paintings in 15 minutes in front of an audience, with his broad brush strokes set to music. He demonstrated this skill in December 2015 in front of CPS’ principals, producing a large painting of Albert Einstein, which now also is displayed at Price Academy.

Thesken’s work in schools centers on a weeklong residency with 5th- and 6th-graders where he actively encourages students to “find your gift,” whether it be art, music, writing, science, sports, or any healthy pursuit that gives students a sense of accomplishment.

To book a weeklong residency with artist Mark Thesken for the 2016-17 school year, contact Dr. Rudnick:  rudnici@cps-k12.org or 363-0340.