CSU Receives $1.6 Million in Funding to Improve Access to Media Arts & Theatre Careers for Black, Latinx Students

CHICAGO (February 8, 2023) - Chicago State University (CSU) is pleased to announce $1.6 million in funding for state-of-the-art upgrades to the production labs and Black Box theatre in the Department of Communications, Media Arts and Theatre (CMAT). The funding was secured by U.S. Representative Bobby Rush in the FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Bill as one of his final acts representing the 1st Congressional District. This funding will put Chicago State’s Media Arts degree program among the best equipped university film, television and radio programs in Illinois. The funding ensures that CSU’s Department of Communications, Media Arts and Theatre will continue to be a leader in bringing equal access for Black and Latinx students to the booming media job market.

CSU is well-positioned to connect Black and Latinx students to the large and growing fields of communications, media and theater. CSU is the only four-year Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) in Illinois where 90% of CMAT students are Black or Latinx and the majority are women. Further, CSU offers students the opportunity for industry internships via its unique partnerships with major media corporations as well as arts organizations such as Midway Broadcasting, Cinespace Studios, Leo Burnett, Spark Foundry, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Dramatists and the Illinois Film Office. In addition to these key partnerships, the Department of Communication Media Arts and Theatre at CSU has a network of alumni whose work has been seen and heard on media outlets like Hulu, Power92, HBO, Crain’s Chicago Business, Black Ensemble Theatre, NBC Peacock, WVON and Chicago Med.

“I would like to commend Representative Rush on his decades of public service to the region – his impact can be seen throughout the area,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., President of CSU. “The talent of our students is immense and, with the latest technology and facilities, we will deliver the diverse leaders in the field for years to come.”

The 1st Congressional District is stationed to become not only the center of the “Hollywood of the Midwest,” as dubbed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, but also the engine connecting Black and Latinx professionals to this large and growing industry. Cinespace Studios is one of the biggest film production facilities in the U.S. and a second large studio on the South Side, the Regal Mile Studios, is opening operations in the region next year. CSU has both diverse students and strong industry connections. This new equipment will provide the educational experiences that fully meet the professional needs of its corporate partners.

“CSU represents growth and transformation. We lead in educating and graduating women and individuals of color in growing professional fields such as Communications and Media Production.” said Dr. Christine List, Chairperson of CSU’s CMAT Department. “With an investment like this, we are not only encouraging new students to enter this industry, but also preparing, providing, and enhancing current students for their careers by outfitting our WCSU Radio Station, CSU-TV Studio, Black Box Theatre and Digital Cinema labs to meet industry standards. Our top-notch faculty and alumni provide outreach and experience which benefits hundreds of students taking CMAT courses over the next five to ten years and also thousands of community members attending screenings and performances.” she added.

About Chicago State University

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus. For more information, visit here.