Performing Arts Program give young performers an on stage experience

Joan Collaso founded Timeless Gifts Performing Arts Program for Youth and Young Adults in 2010. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JOAN COLLASO.
Joan Collaso founded Timeless Gifts Performing Arts Program for Youth and Young Adults in 2010. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JOAN COLLASO.

 Performing Arts Program give young performers an on stage experience 

By Tia Carol Jones

Performer Joan Collaso founded Timeless Gifts Performing Arts Program for Youth and Young Adults in 2010 as a concept for concert that would pair young, aspiring performers with professional performers in different genres – music, acting and dancing.

The Timeless Gifts Christmas Duets Concert was a success. Collaso wanted to expand the time the students were able to spend with the professionals, so she decided she wanted to start the program. In 2011, she asked her performance professional friends to be part of her organization and the program began.


With Timeless Gifts, Collaso is using all of her experience as a performer, producer, along with her connections and network, to bring the students together as a family and a community. The goal of the program is to put the students who participate in front of performing professionals that can teach them, so they can have a network for future employment. Timeless Gifts has partnered with the  DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Cinespace and other spaces that enable them to perform.


Students, ages 3 to 24, can participate in the programs, which includes a seven-week summer program, as well as a fall and winter program, which takes place between October and November. Collaso estimates that hundreds of students have come through the program. She said the reason why the age increases is because the students don’t want to leave. As they get older, they continue to participate, they move onto other things, or they come on as assistant instructors or administrative assistants.


In 2019, Timeless Gifts partnered with the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago to take 18 young people to Milan for their first performance tour. There are plans to take students back this year.


“We help in every way. The students can come to us and whatever their interests are, be it an instrument, be it voice, any performing arts discipline, acting, tap dance … Our job is, we put our hands on the people we know that we have associations with, and we’re able to bring them into the organization as instructors,” Collaso said.


For the most part, Collaso said parents love having their children in the program, and the students love the program and they want to come back. The parents see the growth of the students. “As they find their place in this Timeless Gifts community, they become more comfortable and it causes them to be more comfortable in their own skin wherever they are. The result is always positive,” she said, adding the organization is a beacon of light for the community and is viable and sustainable.


In 2022, Timeless Gifts hosted its first four-day theater revue at Epiphany Center for the Arts, located at 201 S. Ashland. This year, Timeless Gifts will host “Timeless! A Musical Revue” from Thursday to Sunday, July 6th - 9th , at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive.


The cost for the revue is $25 for the show only; $40 for the show with two adult drinks; and $55 for the show, dinner and two adult drinks. Tickets are available at www.timelessgifts.org.

Latest Stories





Latest Podcast

Nicole Hunter