Urban Aspirations is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to influencing and preserving Chicago’s inner city community culture by promoting and stimulating individual potential through artistic engagement. We intend to accomplish this by establishing partnerships with Chicago’s various municipal venues, park districts and educational institutions to strengthen our commitment to developing relationships between community residents and their civic outlets. Urban Aspirations is about restoring unity in the community through the use of music, mentoring and partnerships.
Urban Aspirations Performing Arts was conceived in the fall of 2001 by President and Executive Director Marcus Burks, who played trumpet in a music workshop at the Brown Room Jazz Café in Chicago’s South Shore community. In February of 2002 Mr. Burks contacted Borders Books in Chicago, with an idea for live performances at the Borders in the ‘Beverly’ community. These performances featuring Chicago local street musicians titled “Street Psalms of Chicago”. In May 2002, “Street Psalms of Chicago” launched its maiden voyage with then popular street band of brothers, “Hypnotic”. The project's appeal soon caught on and musicians other than street performers expressed interest in participating. In October of 2006, Urban Aspirations concluded its two and a half year tenure with Borders Books at their Hyde Park location, but not before featuring twenty-five free music performances spanning various genres from Classical, Gospel, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Latin, Neo-Soul, Opera, and Salsa. Urban Aspirations also featured the students and the staff of Sherwood Music Conservatory and the Chicago All-City Elementary School Jazz Band, conducted by Urban Aspirations then Artistic Director, Mark Coulter. During that same month Urban Aspirations also acquired recognition as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by the United States Federal Government.