Working With Chicago Communities

As part of Shambhala’s social engagement focus, we have been hosting a variety of community events, including art and music events.


Speak Up Chicago!

DSCF0034Speak Up Chicago!, an open mic night created by Josh Beltran, a Chicago youth leader. Josh was inspired by Shambhala to help create a positive, safe community event that also raises awareness about the violence impacting Chicago’s communities, especially youth. The open mic events offer the chance for people of all ages and from all walks of life to come together and celebrate in the spirit of artistic expression. Our West Loop center is uniquely situated to provide the setting for this cross-cultural celebration.


Art Events & Art GalleriesDSCF8338

We’ve hosted youth art events at our center, which showcase talent from around the city. We continue to do art events from time to time.  If you are interested in sponsoring an art event at our center, email us here and let us know.  In addition to art events, we also display youth artwork at our center.  We showcase youth artists from around Chicago.

Creating Safe Spaces

Creating Safe Spaces began in the summer of 2012 when Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche tasked four Shambhala Centers with the job of organizing a program that predominantly focused on some form of social engagement that felt relevant to our city. We were asked to envision what the year 2020 might look like in the city of Chicago and how a peaceful city might look. Many of us felt that in order to see a peaceful Chicago, we needed to create more safe, peaceful spaces, and that the city’s violence which was making national news, had to come to an end.  We held a conference called “Imagining Peace” and from this, the youth that were involved in the conference told us that what they wanted was more safe spaces in which they could dialogue without feeling like they had to hold back.

Since then, Shambhala has been working to create more safe space for youth and adults.  Currently, we are working with Ceasefire West to bring safe community and youth events to the west side of Chicago.  The events include everything from sports, art, mindfulness, dialogue, and food.