Our History

After School Matters has been serving Chicago teens for 30+ years.

After School Matters began in 1991 as Gallery 37, a summer arts education program for Chicago teens located in tents on a lot in Chicago’s Loop. It soon expanded from that downtown location to bring the successful program to Chicago neighborhoods and in 1995 started a partnership with Chicago Public Schools to deliver the programs in Chicago high schools.

As the program expanded to include after-school offerings in interest areas beyond the arts, it officially became the nonprofit After School Matters in 2000. Working with both independent instructors and community-based organizations, ASM now offers more than 24,000 program opportunities each year, at 338 sites across the city.

Since our founding, teens have earned a financial stipend for taking part in their program, helping to lower potential barriers to participation and teaching them the value of their time. Our instructors are professionals in their respective fields, giving the teens hands-on learning and providing important mentorship.

With programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM, there is something for everyone at ASM.

After School Matters History 1991-2023

First Lady Maggie Daley founds Gallery 37 as a downtown arts education program with 260 teens and 55 teaching artists
Gallery 37 expands programming into the city’s neighborhoods with 3 satellite locations
Gallery 37 partners with Chicago Public Schools to deliver programs in high schools
After School Matters (ASM) is founded as a nonprofit organization to extend the Gallery 37 model beyond the arts to include sports and technology programs.
66 East Randolph becomes Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, our first flagship site.
ASM adds Communications and Leadership programs, including Civic Leadership.
ASM extends partnerships to include Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library, forming "campus sites"

ASM adds STEM programs to our offerings

ASM offers 20,600 opportunities to 15,000 teens across the city.
City of Chicago launches One Summer Chicago and ASM partners to offer summer opportunities.
ASM introduces daytime programs during the school year, offering flexibility and access for diverse learners.
The Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters opens in Belmont-Cragin, our second teen-dedicated neighborhood space.
AMS launches our Peacemakers program, offering 1,000 teens the opportunity to help reduce violence and tensions in their communities.
COVID pandemic requires ASM to reinvent programming to be offered remotely. Access to mental health resources and meals is put into place for ASM teens and instructors.
After School Matters at Gately Park opens in Pullman, as our third teen-centric neighborhood space.

The Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters welcomes the Lutz Family Annex, a separate building to offer welding, bike repair, and skateboarding programs.

The Power of Community at After School Matters

Hear directly from ASM teens and instructors from across Chicago.
Give us a follow @afterschoolmatters to stay up-to-date on all things After School Matters. You might even see yourself or your program featured!

Share Your Story