Kanye West may claim that he'll be teaching at one of Illinois' most famous art establishments, but that's a surprise to them

By Dave Quinn
September 12, 2018 11:00 AM
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Kanye West may claim that he’ll be teaching at one of Illinois’ most famous art establishments, but that’s a surprise to them.

On Thursday night, the rapper, 41, sent out a series of tweets about his hometown of Chicago, including a claim that, “I will teach a course at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art.”

However, the Art Institute of Chicago denies that.

“We’re flattered that Mr. West would have an interest in teaching emerging artists and designers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. However, Mr. West is not currently teaching at SAIC, and at this time, there are no plans for him to do so,” Bree Witt, the school’s public relations director, told The Chicago Tribune.

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Kanye West.
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Meanwhile, West has history at the American Academy of Art. He briefly attended the American Academy of Art and Chicago State University in 1997 — where his mother also served as a professor — before dropping out to pursue music at age 20. Though his career took the place of his education, West was awarded an honorary doctorate by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in March 2015 for his contributions to music, fashion, and popular culture, officially making him an honorary DFA.

He may not be starting a class anytime soon, but the father of three claims he will be opening a Yeezy office in the Windy City.

West also promises that he would be helping to restore the shuttered Avalon Regal Theatre in the South Shore neighborhood, which he called the “Regal Theatre,” and that he would “do” the Chicago Comedy Jam (which runs from Oct. 5-6 at the Arie Crown Theatre).

All of this appeared to be motivated by a visit by to Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank that West made earlier this month.

“It is super inspiring I’d even say it is overwhelming which is my favorite description,” West wrote. “We need to be overwhelmed with love and inspiration.”

West’s love for his hometown extends beyond Tuesday’s tweet storm, obviously. Despite being born in Atlanta, Georgia, Kanye has long shared that growing up in the city — where he moved with his mother after his parents divorced — deeply influenced his life.

It’s also where West began his career, first as a producer, and then as a member of a late-’90s Chicago rap group called the Go-Getters.

West eventually broke through as a solo artist with his debut album The College Dropout in 2004. But it was on his 2007 hit “Homecoming,” off his third studio album Graduation that he decided to voice his appreciation for his hometown city, rhyming about his love for Chi-Town and his guilt over leaving “her” to pursue his musical dreams.

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Since then, West has devoted much of his activism to helping the city, speaking out about the city’s gun violence and even forming a non-profit called Donda’s House in 2013 to provide “unprecedented access and education from leading experts in the music, fashion, and entertainment industry to Chicago’s creative youth and young adults.”

And if that weren’t enough, West and wife Kim Kardashian West, 37, named their now 7-month-old daughter Chicago.