I met Monica Haslip about nine years ago; the more I get to know her, the more awe-filled I become.
A talented artist, Haslip combined her corporate acumen, entrepreneurial spirit and community love to create Little Black Pearl (LBP) Workshop, in her basement.
That was in 1994. Today, she has a multi-million dollar Art and Design Center that houses several studios to teach woodworking, welding, mosaics, painting, glassblowing, pottery and photography, the Chase Kid’s Café, an art gallery and a store that sells the children’s artwork.
In my many conversations with her over the years, I am impressed by her intelligence and the unique voice she has to offer the fine arts world. Haslip wants to inject diversity and community into the art world, making it accessible to all, as it should be. She has used art as a means to teach children to express themselves and build confidence. It is no mistake that the neighborhood youth that have matriculated through LBP’s afterschool and summer programs have accomplished drastic academic improvements and continued to pursue higher education. With the tagline, The Business of Art, she has also further equipped her students with lessons on entrepreneurship, teaching them to sell their artwork which they can sell in the LBP store.
I have to be honest that my interest in Haslip’s work is also selfish. We share a kinship through art and community responsibility that nourishes me; I use her the way that I use all other art forms, to restore my balance. The first time that my daughter and I visited LBP Art and Design Center, we stayed hours into the night assisting artists with a community mosaic mural. I didn’t want to leave. There is a powerful energy in that place…
Monica has a mix of humility and stature that is both overwhelming and magnetic. I admire the work that she continues to do for our children and for the community at large. She inspires me to do more with the talents that I have been given.
Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center
1060 East 47th Street | Chicago, Illinois 60653
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