Visit: Cultural and Arts Organization/Venues Directory. Cultural and Arts Calendar. Civic Knowledge. Community Events Calendar. News from Co-laboring Organizations in the Community. Tracking Community Trends I, Tracking Community Trends II. (Reflections on the state of arts, culture, entertainment in Hyde Park and Kenwood: In "I" go to Culture, in "II" scroll alphabetically to Cultural Vitality.) Checkerboard Lounge. Harper Theater. Blackstone Library. Community News. Calendars and Directories index. Nonprofits and the Media with some quick contacts contacts and funders-see also in Neighborhood Links and Media. Nonprofit Helpers.

Arts and Cultural News bits and tips, seminars, links

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website, Help support our program: Join the Conference!

Enhancing Assets conference report from the Conference Reporter, other reports
Maps. To UC and the Arts, below.

HOT NEWS- 5SCREEN THEATER COMING TO HARPER THEATER! HyPa Space becomes artist, high schoolers studio

Announcements, meetings, opportunities et al.

Two local giants are celebrating anniversaries by re-thinking "the middle," "scupture," or "the object." Smart Museum 40, Hyde Park Art Center 75.

Radio Hyde Park-Andrew Holzman writes- You are the first to know about a new project of the Herald: Radio Hyde Park. This is a new way to tell your stories and get your news in Hyde Park. Read on to find out what it is and how we hope you will get involved!
In a week or two, you'll see a SoundCloud player go live on the Herald website. When you press play, you'll hear, or be able to choose if you prefer, news stories, music from and interviews with local artists, and, maybe most excitingly, stories and opinions from your neighbors.
If you have a story about your past, the history of the neighborhood, an opinion about it's future--- if you have anything to say, I want to hear from you. The Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference has given me funds to come and record you using state-of-the-art equipment, and your voice will be added to the programming on Radio Hyde Park.
So get excited; there are interviews with the neighborhoods political and cultural players, carefully crafted news stories, and thoughts from your friends on the way.

A giant has passed: Ruth Horwich. there will be a memorial at KAM, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd. Sept 20 2014, 3 pm.

7 South Side HP museums in 2014 formed a consortium known as Museum Campus South. One outcome is a trial trolley during August 2014 among the institutions, weekends 11-4. Building the support base and visibility are among advantages cited.
the institutions are: DuSable Museum of African American History, FL Wright's Robie House, Museum of Science and Industry, David and Reva Logan Center, Oriental Institute, Renaissance Society, and Smart Museum of Art.

Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 - Join the Conversation. Plan released in fall 2012.

And (requested in the Cultural Plan) the Museum Campus South (announced July 2014): DuSable Museum of African American History, Reva and David
Museum of Science and Industry, Oriental Institute Museum, Logan Center for the Arts, the Renaissance Society, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and the Smart Museum of Art.

Participation of the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band in a May 30 2014 50-minute world premiered work at Symphony Center is a new milestone for Hyde Park-Kenwood as well as the school AND jazz in Chicago.

In May 2014 The U of C Civic Engagement announced Community Programs Accelerator Grants for Midsouth nonprofits. Call for proposals May 30-July 5.

Announcement in May 2014 by Dan Friedrich (Friedrich and Katz) that its buildout of 2nd floor corporate space in East View Park tower will include performance and training-workshop space in improv theater represents a new milestone and new performance space, building upon the growth of 5-year-old Hyde Park Community Players, with which Intentional Improv (or the permanent name it will select) has a collaborative relationship.

Jazz in the Courtyard returns to Hyde Park Shopping Center 1st and 3rd Fridays at noon in summer 2014, a reduced schedule to accommodate the retailers in the courtyard. Some chairs are provided, but many bring their own. The lineup is first rate. First performance is on June 6.

The Arts Incubator (under &C Arts + Public Life and led by Theaster Gates now with Lee Bey), at 301 E. Garfield continues to expand its programming and its presence to the east with buildout of the buildings there for office and production and a cafe.

South Shore Opera Company of Chicago presents a free concert, Opera In the Movies on Saturday, June 14, 7 pm at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive. Conducted by Leslie B. Dunner. Starring some of Chicagoland's leading operatic singers- diverse artists, with orchestra and clips of opera songs and takeoffs in favorite movies and cartoons. For a pre-concert dinner option, call The Parrot Cage (onsite) at 773 363-1903 T-Sat 3-8 or Sun 11-3 (byob corkage $5).

Hyde Park Jazz Festival is holding its 2014 Benefit June 26 at The Promontory (1539 E. 53rd St.) grill and music venue, expected to open by then. Featured at the benefit is WRW Trio- Steve Wilson, Renee Rosnes, Peter Washington Trio. Visit The Festival is September 27 and 28.

The Lakeside Quilting Guild is much more that people who love the ancient art of quilting. They generate quilts to give or donate to worthy causes- from hospitals to victims of disasters, organizations that work to reduce homelessness, new comers to Hyde Park, and a scholarship for a student attending the Art Institute of Chicago.

LYRIC: A new Ring (with the first black Wotan for a major company) and Lyric premiere of new opera on the Holocaust- Weinberg's The Passenger.

January 17, 2014. "At a press conference this morning, general director Anthony Freud and music director Sir Andrew Davis announced two new epic undertakings from Lyric Opera. We're thrilled to share this exciting news with you! Read on to learn more, and stay tuned for more details about these upcoming productions!

Richard Wagner's
Der Ring des Nibelungen

Lyric Opera has commissioned a new Ring production to be presented one opera at a time, beginning in 2016-17 for four consecutive seasons, followed by three complete cycles in April 2020.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's
The Passenger

Lyric Opera of Chicago will present the Chicago premiere of The Passenger, the poignant and powerful, recently rediscovered opera by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, as part of the company’s 60th anniversary season.

And a new accoustical shell being built by Jeannie Gang.

One Book One Chicago- year round now. Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.

University of Chicago announces the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society, to be housed in the former Meadville School of Theology main building, 57th and Woodlawn.

Op Shop surges through 4th iteration, even more of a force joining communities artistic, civic, economic (urban farming and much more), social, social-needs (Village) and more. Seeking also a permanent home "S.H.o.P."

S.H.o.P. Southside Hub of Production

This event announcement will give an idea of what is envisioned: September 24, Sunday, evening. Launch party for S.H.o.P. (Southside Hub of Production) at Fenn House, 5638 S. Woodlawn. For a year, this collective of independent nonprofit organizations and individuals will contain a wood shop, a recording studio, art studios, a time bank, a resource library, game room, rec room, community museum, classes, workshops, hosted potlucks, performances, literary events, and art exhibits, debates and conversations, and have office and meeting space for nonprofits and ad hoc's including the Village, - Midwest Media group, Op Shop, South Side Projections, Dilettante Studios, Resource Center, and several artists. Sponsor Ken Dunn of The Resource Center. At 5638 S. Woodlawn- Fenn House, rented from First Unitarian.

Some shorts....

DuSable independent African American films festival summer-fall 2010

57th Art Fair and the adjacent Community Art Fair- watch for it again in 2014
(find more on:) Or for the Community Art Fair,

Du Sable Museum/ Chicago Park District received final payments for completion of the Washington Park roundhouse building as an action to the Museum.

Final payment for the Roundhouse Project at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Final payment of $914,343, from the 1999 Aquarium and Museum Capital Improvement Program, paid for the completion of the Roundhouse Project at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Total cost of the project was $2,147,600.00. Commissioner Dr. Margaret Burroughs abstained from vote due to her relationship with the DuSable Museum.

Community Art Fair saved by Artisans 21 as 21st Century Artisans
thanks to IRS expediting of petition

Hyde Park Herald, April 28, 2010. By Sam Cholke

Artisans 21 Gallery has started its own nonprofit, 21st Century Artisans, to keep the Hyde Park Community Art Fair alive. "The Community Art FAir had been a project of the Harper Court Arts Council [and before that of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, which was given the opportunity to resume its fiscal agency], but with their change of mission the art fair lost its sponsorship," said Pat Rosenzwieg, a volunteer who is helping the new nonprofit get on its feet.

The Hyde Park Community Art Fair is an arts and crafts fair that runs concurrently with the 57th Street Art Fair. The art fair will be June 5-6 this year. To be part of the City of Chicago's Neighborhood Festival Program, the organizers must be a nonprofit organization.

Rosenzwieg said a group of artists and volunteers at the Artisans 21 Gallery asked the Internal Revenue Service for an expedited hearing of its application to get set up in time for this year's art fair. The group became an official nonprofit one month ago.

Twenty-First Century Artisans will be an advocate for crafts in the neighborhood and at local schools, according to Rosenzwieg. The nonprofit is currently doing an assessment of available crafting options from the South Loop south to South Shore to find its niche in the South Side arts community. Once the group has identified its role in the arts community, 21st Century Artisans will hire a full-time director and seek city, state and foundation grants, according to Rosenzwieg. "Once we have an initiative, a clear view of what we want to do, it will be fully staffed, Rosenzwieg said. "It's not going to happen as just volunteers."

"In the meantime, we're doing some experimentation," Rosenzwieg said. The group hosted and art day for kids to make jewelry out of recycled materials earlier this month and will host a knitting group on April 25.

The nonprofit is a member of Hyde Park Alliance for arts and Culture and the South Side Arts Council.


Op Shop to return, this time at the former Dr. Wax, 5200 block of Harper, by the Coin laundry and DOVA Temp.

A new media for discussion and arts by black youth:
Black Youth Project: Provides a place for black youth to speak. To generate new media information, blogs, art, conversations, webinars, data, research, policies and movements that will expand the human and social capital of young black youth, facilitating their empowerment through highlighting their voices, attitudes, lives, and experiences. Features:

• Black Youth Blogging – daily blogs by black youth on important and controversial topics and links to black youth bloggers
Rap Lyrics Database – the first public searchable database of rap music lyrics based on Billboard charts
• Curriculum Workshop – teachers, social workers, community activists, and artists can download and add to curriculum centered on the experiences of black youth and use data from the Black Youth Survey.
• Black Youth Create! – uploaded videos, spoken word, webisodes and other offerings made by black youth
• Research and Resources – listings/links to latest reports, research, books, films, documentaries, organizations and websites focused on black youth
• Survey Data & Findings – the Black Youth Project Survey includes the most extensive dataset on black youth
• Black Youth in the News – articles on black youth from newspapers across the country


Some of our favorite neighborhood events and institutions are in jeopardy with drying up and cutback of funds from government (notably Chicago Depts. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events). Please remember them. This includes cuts to next years' Hyde Park Jazz Festival just as it's hit its stride. But several orgs are being founded, from theater to opera to Japanese Garden.

Here is a message from Irene Sherr from the Hyde Park Cultural Alliance,

Neighborhood, race, income education gaps in in use of mainline culture venues--what it means: study by U of C Cultural Policy and Joyce Foundation. Is some about Hyde Park vs. surrounding cultural demographics. Could also be used to toot Hyde Park's horn, but to what use doing it at expense of neighbors when the whole South Side art scene is growing exponentially?

Jazz up, jazz down, maybe up again?

Some current shows- see Cultural Calendar page

This year's Arts Awards

Wireless Internet access now at branch libraries

Local authors and book titles. Venues for Author events

One Book One Chicago selection; Chicago Book Festival October 2005

55th Street, Washington Park become an art class for UC students, projects were shown, honored at Hist'l Soc. in June, 2005, follow up class held in September; exhibit in HP Historical Society

Arts classes- for you

Seeking/showing the South Side's home movies

Someone to watch: Hamza Walker of Renaissance Society

Another: Keith Purvis and his (co-owned) Art on the Loose

Hyde Park Art Center new building open, evolving

Black Pearl/Muntu: Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center (Workshop) opened a major, innovative center on 47th Street now a major 2nd venue for U of C and Smart fine arts programs.

Muntu Dance ground breaking, gets big gift from Boeing. Has $11 m of 19. Watch for Muntu's gala summer, 2007.
In mid 2008 still stalled but on track.

DuSable Museum gets historic park building, starts leg 2 of major fundraising. New hours during construction.

University of Chicago and the arts:

President Zimmer gives arts campus priority.

Concept development continues for U of C Center for Creative and Performing Arts- architectural competition decided.

Enhancing Assets- now Southside Arts and Humanities Network/Civic Knowledge Reports: A new UC/Smart Museum led resourcing consortium for arts and cultural venues and organizations and community orgs. and businesses that can help the arts. Teaching artists the practical side. And now, a traveling module on researching your house as asset. CK, SAHN Updates will be in Civic Knowledge page. And a new Network Directory is out by CK.
Artists, performers in greater south side who are being helped.
What a new $25,000 grant will enable Civic Knowledge/Enhancing Assets to do!
Civic Knowledge listhost: Contact
The guidebook is now out!

March 7 2005 arts panel analyzes university's role in community

and Feminism and Hip Hop conference hits a nerve, is sold out

Smart Museum outreach, recent accessions, awards

Oriental Institute opened last major permanent collections exhibit January 2005

World's achangin': Did you know that...?

"...knowledge and its circulation...have structural social effects that are as fundamental as brute economics [to] not just empower local communities, but also it establishes the realities. Increasing knowledge circulation around the University, University as a community resource." Danielle Allen

" Public scholarship in the arts and humanities is defined by its explicit hopefulness. Such work is based on the conviction that it is possible for artists and humanists to make original, smart, and beautiful work that matters to particular communities and to higher education. Public scholarship is terrain where invention can be carries out sociably, yielding new relationships, new knowledge, and tangible public goods." Ellison, U. Michigan

"It's the only thing that people do, especially with regard to making things, that they don't have to do... an act of human intervention [that] seems to point to what is special about being human... where to look for what's gong on, ..the things we have in common, [personal process, conduit for connections with another, understanding]." Ted Cohen, Prof. of Philosophy

Announcements, save-the-dates, requests, opportunities etc.

General, deaths, kudos

Jazz,Sundays 7:30-11 pm. Checkerboard Lounge and CheckerJazz. Sept. 29 they host the final HP Jazz Festival great midnight JAM.


Need space?

Dear Members of the Southside Arts and Humanities Network "The Network,"

If you are looking for a space for your arts non-profit organization
-- I encourage you to read the following message from IFF and
complete their survey! If you have any questions, please contact
Robin Toewe directly at (312) 596-5141

Message from IFF:

"Are you tired of dealing with second-rate landlords?
Is your program space bursting at the seams?
Are there programs you would offer if only your agency had the right

IFF, a nonprofit community development lender and real estate
consultant, is pleased to share an exciting and rare opportunity to
offer nonprofit arts and culture groups space in state-of-the-art
community facilities to be built on Chicago’s South and West Sides
over the next few years.

IFF is facilitating the planning process to construct two multi-
tenant arts, culture and recreation facilities in Chicago. The first
site is at 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue on the South Side,
and a second to-be-determined site will be constructed on the West
Side. Each facility will house a variety of nonprofit-run programs to
serve area families. The facilities may include shared state-of-the-
art performance space, retail businesses and other amenities for
seniors, families and children.

If your agency is thinking about new space, please take 10 minutes to
complete this survey:

IFF is eager to gauge the interests of arts and culture nonprofit
groups in occupying space in either of these facilities. All
responses will be acknowledged by IFF by mail or telephone by October
1, 2007.

Deadline: Survey must be submitted by July 30, 2007."


Reva and David Logan family gift of $35 million sets the Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts development in motion. The architect selected in late May is the husband and wife team of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien of New York, known for art centers and work on university campuses. It looks like the structure will be built in one phase, with hopes it will not have to be scaled back. It have a horizontal component visually open to the Midway, a raised courtyard and a 160-foot green stone clad tower including a protruding glass-faced cafe with retractable roof, yoga and napping room. The building is to expose the messiness of art to the outside while avoiding separated- off floors, so that the different departments can mingle.

The Zhou Brothers has a new major art manufactory and gallery in the old Spiegel hq, 35th and Morgan. 1029 W. 35th. 87,000 sq. ft. It's fast becoming a major and chic art center in Chicago. Raises stipend money for struggling artists and arts organizations. Its use for gathering space has been curtailed or killed by police action.

Collaborating on mural restoration in viaducts and a new call for proposals for the new art panels are Hyde Park Art center, Chicago Public Art Group, and South Side Community Art Center. Details and links to graphics in Murals and Viaducts page. Looks more encouraging for 47th viaduct- call for proposals to go out.

Groups seek to preserve public art [mixing new art and existing 70s murals]

Hyde Park Herald, June 6, 2007. By Nykeya Woods

The South Side Community Art Center, the Hyde Park Art Center and the Chicago Public Art Group are soliciting local artists to refurbish several historic murals. Plans include 55th, 56th and 57th streets. Talks began when the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) whitewashed murals at the 51st and 47th street viaducts during improvements.

Jon Pounds, executive director of the Chicago Public Art Group, said that several panels will be installed during the renovation as "an outdoor gallery for artists."

His organization is spearheading the proposal, which was announced at last month's [May 14, 2007] 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council meeting. Artists who live between 2nd and 79th streets and the Dan Ryan Expressway and the lake are encouraged to submit their work. "The interest is in making this geographically specific artists who have made the South Side of Chicago a part of their complex history," Pounds said.

Pounds said once the proposal is sent out by mid-June, the next step will be to restore the viaduct murals, two of which were created by Hyde Parker Astrid Fuller in the 19070s.

Fuller is delighted that her murals at 57th Street--"The History of Hyde Park" and "The History of Social Work" will be restored. Each mural will be photographed, washed and sealed with an acrylic varnish and then the existing paint will be used as a guideline to redraw and repaint.

Fuller said that she would not be interested in creating new artwork. "Well I have enough of my statements up there," she said. "I would have to have someone do most of the climbing work. Its' been quite some years since I climbed up a scaffolding."

South Side community Art Center Curator Faheem Majeed said that he and Chuck Thurow of the Hyde Park art Center are helping Pounds decide which artists are selected. "Being one of the oldest African-American art institutions in the country, we have lists of artists with varying ranges of mediums and aesthetics who would be able to handle this," Majeed said.

[Ed.--Means of blowing up or adjusting scale and new, inexpensive means of reproduction, materials and attachments make this feasible, according to Pounds. Meantime, the 47th and 51st murals will not come back- Top

New Art will brighten Lake Park Viaducts- selection made, works in progress

InsideOut Fall 2007 (University of Chicago)

By Spring 2008, thousands of resident, automobile passengers, CTA riders, and Metra commuters will experience a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly experience at the 53rd and 55th Street viaducts on Lake Park Avenue. The city is currently renovating these viaducts and will landscape the railroad embankment between them.

The City of Chicago and Metra--through the support of Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle (4th Ward) and Leslie Hairston (5th Ward)--have committed $3.8 million to support this first phase of work. Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25th) obtained an additional $2.5 million from the State of Illinois to fund subsequent phases. Design is currently underway for the next set of viaducts at 51st and 57th Streets. The Chicago Department of transportation estimates that he entire multiphase project will cost over $20 million.

With $100,000 in support from the University of Chicago, a curatorial team from the Chicago Public Art Group, the Hyde Park Art Center, and the South Side Community Art Center selected the work of four South Side--and internationally renowned--artists to adorn the walls of the viaducts. The work of Terry Evans, John Himmelfarb, Calvin Jones, and Margaret Taylor-Burroughs will be reproduced digitally and printed onto eight-by-twelve-foot panels lining the pedestrian walkways in the viaducts at 53rd and 55th Streets. The selections "showcase the diversity of the extraordinarily talented artists living on the South Side," says John Pounds, executive director of the Chicago Public Art Group.

In addition, the Chicago Public Art Group will restore the mural on the north side of the 55th Street viaduct. The murals on both sides of the 57th Street viaduct will be restored in conjunction with the future renovation of these viaducts.

These major infrastructure improvements combined with the colorful art panels and restored murals underscore the presence of the vital art community on the South Side," says Irene Sherr, a principal with Community Counsel, an urban planning firm involved with the project.

New proposal for niche mosaics by schools in 57th/Lake Shore Drive underpasses Rebecca Janowitz and Irene Sherr wrote the Herald in autumn 2006:

There is a wonderful proposal for a mosaic created by school children a the 57th Street underpass to Lake Shore Drive under the superb direction of Hyde Park artist Mirtes Zwierzynski. The Chicago Public Art Group is prepared to spearhead the fund-raising for this and for the restoration of the other murals, at 55th, 56th and 57th streets that meet CPAG's rubric.

More on the project form the Jackson Park Advisory Council December 11 minutes:

A public art project was introduced by guests Lauren Moltz, coordinator and volunteer on councils and boards of schools and numerous organizations; Jon Pounds, director of the Chicago Public Art Group, and Mirtes Zwierzynski, directing artist. The project would consist of placing mural mosaics in up to 64 niches (554 square feet) in the two underpasses under South Lake Shore Drive and 57th Drive that were built by Chicago Department of Transportation with recessed surfaces, with such public art in mind. The mosaics would be of hard-fired, close-set ceramic that would take up virtually no water and would be extremely difficult to deface and easy to clean off, as attested by the many such mosaics around the metropolitan area. The Hyde Park Art Center and Ms. Zwierzynski will oversee the production of colored tiles by students of nearly every school. To date most of the elementary schools in Hyde Park have signed on; Ms. Zwierzynski has helped several already to make and install murals in their schools. Mosaic production is curricular-imbedded and involves four teachers at each school. Opening involvement to other schools near the park was requested by JPAC, and participation by or presentation to other organizations was suggested. Ms. Moltz and Mr. Pounds will coordinate participation and fund raising, with as much as $100,000 budgeted if all the niches are to be filled over the next set of years. The theme or set of themes is under consideration but could include neighborhood and or park and other history, features, nature, people, activities or concerns. For information, Mr. Pounds suggested people visit the Chicago Public Art Group website—

Peterson moved that: Resolved, JPAC supports the 57th and Lake Shore Drive Underpass Public Art Project. Upon second by Louise McCurry, the motion was unanimously approved.

Students learn by creating art for public, new art selected to brighten Lake Park viaducts.

InsideOut Fall 2007.

True public art is an enduring expression of a community and the people within it. So says Mirtes Zwierzynski, a public artist, muralist, and mosaicist who for twenty years has worked closely with Chicago area youth to create just such artistic expressions. Much of her work takes place under the umbrella of the Chicago Public Art Group, which engages communities and artists in creating high quality public art.

Mirtes is working with students from Bret Harte and Canter Schools on several mosaics for the pedestrian underpass at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Their collaborative project began in October [2007] at the Hyde Park Art Center with the help of a $9,950 neighborhood beautification grant from the South East Chicago Commission funded by the University of Chicago. The underpass has concrete insets of various sized and shapes waiting for the mosaics that will be installed in spring 2008.

Mirtes says she helps young people create public art "first of all the bring art where there is no art. I do this because I believe that everybody has something to express. Everybody has some sense of art."

And collaboration is much bigger than the personal lives of individuals, she explains. "Collaborative art projects involve these students in a process of reflection, sharing, and creating together. They learn respect for the group. They learn both to give and to give up. Sometimes the group decides a student's sketch is too small or to big, and the process starts over again. Through this kind of intense collaboration they learn more about themselves, each other, and how to make judgments about values they have."

[Mirtes worked with student on decoration of water fountains on 3 floors at Canter School.] Visit Chicago Public art Group website,


Kenwood Academy in June 2007 joined the many schools whose students with artists are creating mosaics and murals. Kenwood's is 400 square foot.

Hyde Park Art Center keeps up its heavy pace of multiple exhibits while Renaissance Society has another site specific exhibit, Katharina Grosse's interactive exploration of pure colorism, Atoms Inside Balloons. Through June 10.

New director at Chicago presents takes over concert series.

Based on University of Chicago Chronicle, March 29, 2007. By Josh Schonwald

Shauna Quill, who has had a distinguished career with several music groups, festivals and presenters, will head the professional concerts organization at U of C as Executive Director. Although on the job since February, she will take her official vow April7 at the Contempo double bill program at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Music Dept. Chair Robert Kendrick notes that up to 60 percent of Presents performers are making their Chicago debuts and says that finding young musicians on the brink of success is a top goal. UC programming must also appeal to diverse and multi-interest audiences while exposing them to music they may not otherwise hear. The 2008 season will celebrate Olivier Messiaen and 2009 Joseph Haydn.

Illinois Humanities Council has a quarterly grant cycle for small arts groups (under $1 million per year). April 15, July 15 deadlines. Visit Note that IHC is now located at 17 N. State Street, suite 1400. 312 422-5585.

Classes forming for nonprofit arts groups continually.*****Don't miss this FREE workshop, hosted by the Southside Arts & Humanities Network ("The Network"- formerly Enhancing Assets of Civic Knowledge, U of C) that will help you acquire fundraising skills and build
the capacity of your organization! Register now because space is limited to 20

New (but really active long in the area): Kalapriya Indian Performing Arts Foundation teaches traditional dance of India and more. At Joan's studio, 138 E/ 57tj. 773 463-4117.


Black Pearl students and area artist Bernard Williams design wall medallions for Dan Ryan walls.

Eight Little Bal ck Pearl students showed their medallion designs for Dan Ryan retaining walls. Artist Bernard Williams worked with the kids and the designs were "juried" online. Six collaborative medallions will be placed between 51st and 59th. Justin Fawcett, 16, is one student who created the innovative "day and night" design. They even collaborated on the IDOT logo! Some of the students are from Ariel and Dyett

Little Black Pearl students set to beautify Cottage Grove after successful decoration along Dan Ryan Expressway

From Herald article February 13 2008 by Kate Hawley

Troy Patterson eyed the giant slab of pressboard propped up against the studio wall, its surface criss-crossed with pencil lines, its edges carved to outline human faces. "Nice," said the 15-year-old, under his breath. "Real nice."

Patterson is among a handful of students working on murals at Little Black Pearl Art Center, 1060 E. 47th St., under the direction of artist Jharrett Brantley. A total of five murals will hang in front of a smattering of vacant lots in the 4300 to 4700 blocks of Cottage Grove Avenue, an effort to boost the attractiveness of the strip during a long-term project to revitalize it.

The first mural -- the one Patterson admired -- wil be up by the end of the month, weather permitting, according to Bernita Johnson-Gabriel of ?Qua Communities Development Corp. (QCDC) the non-profit behind the Cottage Grove plan. Johnson envisions Cottage Grove's well-work buildings transformed into a retail corridor that mirrors Andersonville on the North Side -- a dense, bustling row of high-end boutiques and eateries.

Little Black Pearl, just around the corner from the proposed mural sites, has been integral to QCDC's mission, designing the banners and providing design consultation for businesses interested in setting up shop on Cottage Grove. The murals are its latest effort.

Artist Carla Carr laid the groundwork for the murals' design, Brantley said, but now he's adding his own spin with a swirl of neon hues and squiggly white lines. "I'm a contemporary kid," he said. "I love color. I love movement. I didn't want to take too much away from the original design, just make it a little hipper."

Other murals will explore Cottage Grove's past and future, a topic Brantley said he's in the middle of researching. He's getting technical help from Dante DiBarolo, who has created murals and other public art installations in Joliet, among other places.

The students are playing a key role as well, drawing, priming and painting Brantley's design -- of which Patterson is an enthusiastic fan. "I really admire his work," Patterson said. "Basically, anything this guy does is cool."

Patterson was driving with his father on the Dan Ryan Expressway when he saw medallions painted by Little Black Pearl students. "I asked by dad who did those," he said. "I wanted to come down here so I could get some of my work in public." Since he showed up at Little Black Pearl in September, it's been hard to keep him out of the studio. "He attacks a project," Brantley said. "I like to do a lot of art," said Patterson. "That's basically my life."


New proposal for niche mosaics by schools in 57th/Lake Shore Drive underpasses Rebecca Janowitz and Irene Sherr wrote the Herald in autumn 2006: [A substantial grant was given in Dec. 2008 by Harper Court Art Council.]

There is a wonderful proposal for a mosaic created by school children a t he 57th Street underpass to Lake Shore Drive under the superb direction of Hyde Park artist Mirtes Zwierzynski. The Chicago Public Art Group is prepared to spearhead the fund-raising for this and for the restoration of the other murals, at 55th, 56th an 57th streets that meet CPAG's rubric.

More on the project form the Jackson Park Advisory Council December 11 minutes:

A public art project was introduced by guests Lauren Moltz, coordinator and volunteer on councils and boards of schools and numerous organizations; Jon Pounds, director of the Chicago Public Art Group, and Mirtes Zwierzynski, directing artist. The project would consist of placing mural mosaics in up to 64 niches (554 square feet) in the two underpasses under South Lake Shore Drive and 57th Drive that were built by Chicago Department of Transportation with recessed surfaces, with such public art in mind. The mosaics would be of hard-fired, close-set ceramic that would take up virtually no water and would be extremely difficult to deface and easy to clean off, as attested by the many such mosaics around the metropolitan area. The Hyde Park Art Center and Ms. Zwierzynski will oversee the production of colored tiles by students of nearly every school. To date most of the elementary schools in Hyde Park have signed on; Ms. Zwierzynski has helped several already to make and install murals in their schools. Mosaic production is curricular-imbedded and involves four teachers at each school. Opening involvement to other schools near the park was requested by JPAC, and participation by or presentation to other organizations was suggested. Ms. Moltz and Mr. Pounds will coordinate participation and fund raising, with as much as $100,000 budgeted if all the niches are to be filled over the next set of years. The theme or set of themes is under consideration but could include neighborhood and or park and other history, features, nature, people, activities or concerns. For information, Mr. Pounds suggested people visit the Chicago Public Art Group website—

Peterson moved that: Resolved, JPAC supports the 57th and Lake Shore Drive Underpass Public Art Project. Upon second by Louise McCurry, the motion was unanimously approved.


Civic Knowledge Project of the U of C Humanities Div. with Graham School of General Studies offers two courses of interest to arts (and other) organizations, providers, artists: "Making Savvy Organizational Choices" and "Managing Intellectual Property." Cost is $100 each. Ask about the next and register at

Also offered and free to boards and staffs of South Side arts organizations:
Legal Basics for Nonprofits. William Rattner, J. D., of U. of C. Law School and Harris Center.
Weds. Oct 18 and 25 and Nov. 1, 6-8:30 pm at Harris School, 1155 E. 60th St., 773 834-3929. And

Art and Business Council's Board Development Seminars. Introductory 1-hour free Monday Oct. 23, 224 S. Michigan 7th Floor. RSVP 312 372-1876.

New grants and a course announcement for arts nonprofits from Civic Knowledge-Enhancing Assets and others. Let's hope these repeat.


For information on pricing, registration, and location please contact
Elizabeth Babcock at or 773-834-3929.

The University hired three major artists as Dept. Visual Arts faculty: Tania Bruguera, Inigo Mangloano-Ovalle, Catherine Sullivan. Adding rich depth and new internationalism.

And the Presidential Fellows in the Arts openers for 2006-07 are filmmaker Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter," "Exotica," "Where the Truth Lies," "Ararat") and contemporary SITI theater ensemble director Anne Bogart (directing "Hotel Cassiopeia" this fall at Court Theatre). Top

Students and faculty of the U of C have been inventorying, creating website for researchers, on archives of South Side and African American history and on arts, poetry, jazz in various archives. The archives include U of C Libraries and Special Collections, DuSable Museum, The Chicago Defender, and Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History at the Woodson Regional Library. The grants are from Mellon Foundation and others and expands a Mapping the Stacks project into Uncovering New Chic gao Archives Project (UNCAP). The project will for the first time make what's available on what accessible and usable. Work at most of the sites is wrapping up, next are the Jazz Archives and poetry manuscripts. The effort is highly collaborative. Top

New youth-made mural for Harris Recreational Center opening

Talent of area youth artists to grace Harris YMCA

Students of the Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization
(MAGIC) will be on hand at noon Friday, July 14 to unveil a 20 by 30
foot mural that will grace an entire wall at the Harris YMCA, 6200 S.
Drexel Ave.

The mural includes images of historic African Americans from the
Woodlawn area —including entertainer Oscar Brown Jr., pilot Bessie
Coleman, writer Sam Greenlee, and the Bishop Arthur Brazier—and will
be unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Chicago
Park District Harris YMCA. The students, ages 12-18, created the mural
at the Washington Park District building as part of the After School
Matters Program directed by Maggie Daley, wife of Chicago Mayor Richard
M. Daley. MAGIC is a Woodlawn-based organization that chose the Harris
facility for the
display because it is located in Woodlawn.

“The students learned to create something they probably never thought
they could create,” said MAGIC executive director Brian Echols. “They
tapped into a deep talent, and they connected with historic figures who
demonstrated they can accomplish anything they want to, if they give it
a good effort.” To interview students or to get information on MAGIC or
its arts program, contact (773) 290-2313.

Contact: Bryan Echols (773).290-2313
July 11, 2006

July 8 Smart Museum dedicated the Eunice Ratner Reception Gallery in honor of "Red" Ratner's generous gift to the mission and programs of the very special university art museum, Smart. Dedicators, including Dana Feitler Director Hirschel, Geoff Stone for the University, and Board head Feldman noted the physical alignment of the Ratner Gallery in Smart and the Ratner Athletics Facility in the revitalized north campus. A wonderful etching in metal of Eunice Ratner, based on a photo taken at the Athletic Center dedication, was unveiled and will be mounted.

Students from Chicago Vocational Career Academy filmed part of their Independent Feature Project feature, "The Last Stain" on the 5100 block of Blackstone. They were counseled in all aspects of film making and based their work on a student's script. The film was to be premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center in August 2006.

Five ways to save cheap at Chicago cultural institutions (besides becoming a member and volunteering)

Great Kids Museum Passport. Go to your public library and get a 1-week pass of free general admission to 11 museums for up to 8 children or adults.

GO Chicago Card. 25 attractions and tours, dining, shopping discounts. From $49. 800-887-9103,

Go on free days. Tuesdays-Art Institute, MCA. Monday, Tuesday Sept.-Feb. at Field. Field-Shedd-Adler free all of Campus Week, Aug. 26-31. MSI- Monday and Tuesday part of winter?

Cheap seats at the symphony. Students for $10 up to two weeks in advance. Non students can buy in bulk up to 20% of for 10 concerns or more.

Student seats at the Opera. $20 to full time college students for select performances--register online. Court Theatre has student rush tickets and a preview night.


Summer art camps are offered by Hyde Park Art Center and Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center.

Eva Liljendahl, Inspiration for Excellence start series of creative writing classes, support groups. "My passion is to help writers be able to express themselves, say what they want to say in writing and say it well," she told the Herald. Watch for her repeating series of programs at Blue Gargoyle, First Unitarian, and many other mid South locations, as well as by teleconferencing- see the Arts and Culture Calendar. She hopes to have a program on WHPK. Beginners to advanced.

The 57th Street Art Fair and Community Art Fair, June 3 and 4 2006, was heavily visited and seemed to have more, higher quality and varied artists and fares this year. The 57th Street Art Fair has a survey up through June 9 on its upgraded website. Note, artists can also apply for next year online.

Find out about small city grants to programs that build small org skills and transmit these skills to 12-18 year olds including through the arts.
Contact also Civic Knowledge Project at U of C.

Kenwood Academy student senior Steven Barrett in March 2006 won a CPS All City Art Exhibition scholarship. The $10,000 award was made at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where the Exhibition is on display through April 30. Barrett will attend the American Academy of Art on South Michigan. He paints and sculpts his portraits at Gallery 37 downtown. Top

Artisans 21 arts cooperative was one of the original tenants of Harper Court and recently celebrated a major anniversary. The organization stated emphatically at HPKCC forum on Harper Court future that it wants to stay in Harper Court. Thirtieth anniversary specials and celebration October 21 and 22 2006.

Four new artists were recently inducted: Danny Ellis, glass blower, son of Raku artist Dorri Ellis; Kristi Sloniger, ceramicist (Moonstar Pottery, represented in over 30 galleries and part of the Illinois Artisans Program); Suzan H. Mahal, printmaker, former Kenwood teacher, leader of Gallery 37, member o the All City Art Fair, co-wrote the CPS Fine Arts Assessment Guide, and created art for La Rabida; Harry Meyer, Chicago photographer. 773 288-7450.

Locally based artists can often be found exhibiting or selling locally, at fairs or individually on streets and in stores.
Laurel Stradford was a lead organizer of the Harper Court Arts Fair
at which artists and artisans can exhibit in a casual atmosphere. Joyan, for example, shows arresting stained glass triptychs making astute use of negative spaces. Stradford exhibits much in her What the Traveler Saw, in the 1400 block of 53rd. There is also Artisans 21. Sometimes artists have a whole business to exhibit in, such as Third World Cafe at 1301 E. 53rd.

Recently featured in the Herald is Tonya Patton, who displays her art along 53rd Street. She has studied art little and thinks the gallery scene is too much about being seen rather than engaging with the art and artist, but feels she grows as she does the art, which is highly dramatic, often suggesting African masks and cubism.

Hyde Park Art Center, At the Hyde Park Art Center:
New exhibits are going up at the new Center (5020 S. Cornell) almost every week, plus lots of classes and venues for artists' work.
More below

HPAC has become a source behind mural creation by school children. Teacher Kathy Kerigan has been one of the teacher-facilitators. Bret Harte has one inside the school, Ray has one on the utility garage (with Brazilian artist Mirtes Zwierzynski). Canter kids worked with the Hyde Park Art Center to create "Cityscape", which was on display in the County Cts. Building lobby, 69 W. Washington. Mirtes has worked with several Hyde Park schools in collaborative, curricular-imbedded mural and mosaic programs. For description of a truly ambitious multischool program for the underpass under Lake Shore Drive at 57th, see above in HPAC.

The Museum of Science and Industry took a broader look at artist and intellectual Leonard Da Vinci in 2006 exhibit- get catalog there.


Notable at the Renaissance: several impressive exhibits in 2006- get catalogues or oversized descriptive brochures. In 2007?

Done. Top

Bronzeville is becoming a new gallery center, in synergy with much else including the Harold Washington Cultural Center. Some of the key galleries are Guichard, Nichole 2, and SteeleLife. See Cultural Resources-Galleries. It also has a visitors' center now, in the former Supreme Life building, 3501 S. King.

Bronzeville Academic Center/Blue Gargoyle students won the Alternative Golden Idol competition in May 2004., reciting storied verse in turn or unison. The competition was run by International House and the Alternative Schools Network. Bronzeville is becoming an arts-based learning center with a recording studio. Top


A trustees-deans-and donors gift of $15 million has been given in honor of President Randel for restoration of the Rockefeller Chapel organ and carillon. The gift was made to Randel on his 65th birthday. These restorations were a top priority of Randel's. The 1923 E.M. Skinner organ, unable to be used since 2001, is considered one of the finest early 20th century romantic organs. It has three academic companions, at Yale, Princeton, and Michigan. The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Carillon was made in Britain and installed in 1932. It is the second largest in the world and largest installed at one time. The rusting bells are now pasted together. The total campaign for reconditioning and repair is $2.75 million, and one aim is to repurchase remaining lost original pipes. It is expected that with all the money in hand, a fund can be included for ongoing maintenance. Not clear in releases is whether the funds include installation of a small baroque organ in the west side aisle. Top


Smart Museum - for exhibit description see in Arts and Culture Calendar, under Best Bets.

Each of these exhibits in its way broadens our grasp of the subtleties of their subjects. I


Smart Museum, already rich in schools and other family programs, received a Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to provide the "Families at the Smart" programs. The service, matched $ for $ by the Museum, will target surrounding neighborhoods. Families are to be enabled to become engaged partners.
First fruits include SmartFamilies at Blackstone Library:

SmartFamilies@Blackstone Library
4904 S. Lake Park Avenue in Hyde Park, Chicago
Second Saturdays: October 8, November 12, December 10, and continuing through June 2006! 2-4 pm
The Smart Museum of Art and the Blackstone Branch of the Chicago Public Library are teaming up for an exciting new series of FREE drop-in family workshops. Visit the children's reading room in the library and join Smart Museum staff for exciting art and reading-related activities. Parents, caregivers and children can make art projects together, read related stories, and explore artworks on the Smart's children's website, smARTkids. Best for children ages 3 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 773-702-4540.

Jacqueline Terrassa
Deputy Director of Collections,
Programs and Interpretation
Smart Museum of Art
University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
Chicago IL 60637
ph. 773.702.2351
fax 773.702.3121



University Theater's Summer Inc. gives local stage artists creative space.

A new residency program gives space for everything from clowns an hip hop to cutting edge theater troupes and collectives. Free use of the theater and residency is for 2-3 week time blocks. There is tech support and access to a learning production manager. UC students participate, 4 ongoing, and hone their skills and thoughts also. Eight groups participate, three at a time using the first floor, third floor, and Bartlett spaces. In 2006 all 8 groups opted to give performances at the end of their residencies--schedule is in

Court Theatre has selected Dawn Helsing as Executive Director. Helsing comes from CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore. At all her previous positions she substantially increased successful fundraising. Helsing will work to raise Court's profile both nationally and on the local scene. See Cultural Calendar for their 2005-06 schedule! Top

International House chooses veteran Bill McCartney as new director

Bill McCartney directed the housing system at the University of Mississippi and previously University of North Carolina-Wilmington before accepting the position at the International House at the University of Chicago, 1414 E. 59th Street. While at each, McCartney fostered and coordinated international exchange programs and development of international-focus programs. He has also served for the past decade as chair of the international relations committee of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.

McCartney, who started in March, 2005, will manage both real estate--management, marketing and occupancy--and programming while I-House undergoes a total reconstruction modernizing to much improved quality of life.

McCartney is quoted in the UC Chronicle: "Throughout my whole life, I've helped build environments that are conducive to learning, social interaction and personal growth. That's exactly what I-House represents... The shining star of I-House is its programs. Programs such as the Global Voices Series provide a great resource to our community...The opportunity to be exposed to world leaders and thinkers is rare. It's certainly something that's unique about this job."


St. Paul Chamber Orchestra takes up residency at U of C

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the country's only full-time, professional chamber orchestra and one of the finest in the world, will begin a three-year residency and provide performances and tutorials under University of Chicago Presents in the 2005-06 academic year. Tickets for its first program next fall go on sale April 22. Each quarter, the orchestra will be in residence a week to give a 3-concert series dedicated to the repertoire, a family concert, master classes/composition reading/coaching, and music education in Chicago elementary public schools.

Marna Seltzer, Director of University of Chicago Presents, is quoted in the UC Chronicle: "Our residency with SPCO adds a world-class chamber orchestra to the musical menue of our already musically diverse city. We think it fills a need and creates an exciting new offering on the local cultural scene. But perhaps more importantly, it allows our organization to expand its impact outside the concert hall through outreach efforts that will enrich the lives of many different constituencies on the South Side." And Richard Kendrick, Chair of the Department of Music: "We are pleased to have th SPCO on campus, and we look forward to their interaction with our faculty and students, especially students interested in composition and conducting. We hope this residency will deepen students' understanding of orchestration and orchestral practice, giving a new dimension to their work in composition, musical analysis and even the sociology of orchestras."

SPCO is in its 47th season. For more information go to the link above or call 773 702-8068.

Former UC President Randel told the Maroon that the Mellon Foundation is considering funding residency for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at U o f C.


Maverick Ensemble is a contemporary music group that performs at the Ukrainian Institute and at Renaissance Society, the Chicago Cultural Center and elsewhere. It has about 15 members, only a very few of whom appear in any performance. It specializes in works that go counter to the trendy, have not had much exposure, or are totally new. The November 27 performance at the Renaissance Society in conjunction with "All the Pretty Corpses" consisted of recent and a new commissioned work that are spare-- subdued and bit melancholic but not really minimalist and are accessible if obviously modern/postmodern. The new work, by William Jason Raynovich, is for two sopranos and sets two related poems of e e cummings dealing with the human and creative enigma and tragedy. The Sopranos sang different sections divided by what is in parentheses. This performance also celebrated the birthday of Lamar Brantley, Jr.
312 771-4916. Top

Hyde Park Art Center has a winner in the James Faulkner retrospective. Important though little known on the Chicago art scene for five decades, Faulkner's art is closer to Surrealism and Joseph Cornell (and suggestive of Westerman(n)) than to either national or regional trends of recent decades. Yet it calls together and questions the reverberations between art of various ages and experience and between 2 and 3 dimensions in a way that is distinct. What hangs this exhibit together is the idea of bumping together with other countries and cultures with their arts and architecture through traveling. Into January at 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd. 773 324-5520. Top

The Compass Players with Off Off Campus reenacted the birth of Improv July 5, 2005 in the Kinahan Theater at Reynolds Club. The original 1955 venue of course was the Compass Tavern at 55th and University, torn down shortly thereafter in Urban Renewal. David Shepherd was co director of both the original performance that gave birth to Second City, Saturday Night live and lots of movies, and of the reenactment. 2005 skits included "Tribune Blues" from bits of headlines and stories and a surreal "drama," "The Game of Hurt." The mother of improv was Viola Spolin, whose son _____ Sills created the genre with Shepherd. The Compass and its Second City successor featured and sent in the world Elaine May, Mike Nichols, Bernie Sahlins, Bill Murray , Roger Bowen, Barbara Harris, and Ed Asner. Improv at U of C still thrives and has nourished David Auburn (Proof), Greg Kotis (Urinetown), Abby Sheer and Tami Segher. Top


Local filmmaker Deri Tyton, 30, premiered her "Toot's and Blow's-The Movie" at the Gene Siskel Center Black Harvest Festival of Film and Video in August 2005. Several scenes were filmed in this neighborhood, creating one of the poles of neighborhoods the characters inhabited.


2005 1st round Illinois Arts Council local area awards:

DuSable Museum ($50,000), Hyde Park Art Center ($30,000), Hyde Park Youth Symphony ($1,910), Little Black Pearl Workshop ($15,530), Muntu Dance Theatre ($20,700), Renaissance Society at U of C ($18,220). University of Chicago- for Folk Festival ($2,240), for WHPK Concert ($3,360), Arts at Argonne ($4,520, Smart Museum ($17,250), University of Chicago Presents ($18,220.

Local recipients of CityArts grants

$7,000: Court Theatre, Hyde Park Art Center

$6,000: DuSable Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Renaissance Society

$1,300: Hyde Park Youth Symphony.



UC and Joyce study show a gap in use of main cultural venues in Chicago--what does it really mean, what can be done?

The gap is real--mostly white, well educated, wealthy people and only certain ethnic groups, and largely lakefront folk visit the Art Institute etc. and go to Lyric and Symphony. And Hyde Park is an island (36% have gone to one in the past year) in the South Side. But peoples in other neighborhood patronize smaller cultural institutions, and not factored in are the many outreach programs--sometimes reaching as big an audience as those who come through the doors-- and there are plenty of schools whose curriculum is arts-centric. Yet even this shows that most "outreached" to do not reciprocate by going to the full experience and that the big institutions (including MSI) are at risk of becoming isolated and irrelevant to the larger region and populace and losing support base - although those they still draw from are those that include big and small cultural donors. Moving heavily to blockbusters or programming that plays to the underrepresented seems to help only to redress past disparities and only goes so far while distorting the broad range of cultural expression and artifice.

Alderman Preckwinkle suggested free or reduced-price admission Saturday and Sunday afternoons--but there are already countless bargain and programs and free days. And there are many collaborative programs between large and small, local institutions. A more coordinated set of arts and music programs in schools (which would need to have an underwriting mechanism) might help. Kids have shown again and again that they respond and do better in their other studies.

Hyde Park's institutions take strong advantage of outreach opportunities in surrounding neighborhoods-Smart's families and schools programs, MSI, Court, Oriental--working with the second-size institutions such as DuSable and third-tier such as Little Black Pearl and Hyde Park Art Center that also have very strong and distant outreach, including to upcoming cultural centers in Bronzeville. They work collaboratively, including with such projects as U of C Civic Knowledge, to make themselves and the arts community resources and assets. _________

Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2006. By James Janega. "Cash, color gap in arts, culture: Study of Chicago-area institutions" links attendance to race, wealth, education.

Higher education and upper incomes bring people to the city's museums and cultural forums, with most of their visitors wealthy and white, a study of attendance at Chicago's cultural institutions reveals. The findings reported Wednesday by the Joyce Foundation and University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center show deep wedges between those who visit Chicago's flagship museums and theaters and those who don't, often carving stark lines between neighborhoods.

According to the report, attendance was lowest from primarily African-American census tracts on the West and South Sides of the city, but it was also low in the racially mixed south, west and northwest suburbs. It was highest among residents of the North Shore, Hyde Park and Chicago's north lakefront.

The study also noted that smaller ethnic and diverse cultural institutions appear to reach groups that the major institutions did not, though statistical conclusions could not be reached because only 40 of the area's 496 smaller institutions responded to the survey, its authors said.

"We need to figure out some way that ordinary families can afford to go to museums on Saturday and Sunday afternoons," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), whose South Side ward straddles Hyde Park and Kenwood, among the more glaring divisions in the city.

Hyde Park, which is almost half white and home to the University of Chicago, ranks high for museum and arts attendees. [North?] Kenwood, with a much higher African-American population, does not rank high.

The dozen large cultural institutions studied had annual budgets of more than $8 million and included five museums: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum (formerly the Chicago Historical Society), the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Science and Industry, an the Field Museum.

The rest were the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Auditorium Theater; the Joffrey Ballet, and the Lyric Opera.

During 2004, researchers reviewed more than 1 million records from those and 49 smaller cultural institutions, using the information to map attendance among 600,000 families by county and neighborhood, from southeast Wisconsin to northwest Indiana. The data do not include outreach efforts or count school visitors, because it was deemed too complicated to gather information about them, report co-author Colm O'Muircheartaigh said.

Representatives from the large cultural establishments said the information would radically alter the view of who they reached on a daily basis, with visitors coming from throughout local public school systems. "Organizations such as ours are working so hard to make certain that we are a community resource by going out to underserved areas with educational programs, and none of what we're doing in educational programs are represented in this study," said Susan Mathieson Mayer, director of marketing and communications at the Lyric.

But if the visits were intended to build long-term relationships, overall it did outside of the north suburban and North Side area from which most of the organizations' visitors were drawn, the data show. "We call it the Glenview Effect," said Valerie Waller, vice president of marketing for the Museum of Science and Industry. "There are a million questions you ask," Waller said. "Is this an awareness issue? Is price a factor?"

For a family of four to park, attend the Museum of Science and Industry, see an Omnimax film and visit the U-505 submarine, it would cost $88.50 without lunch. a couple attending the Lyric Opera on a weekend must spend $41 per seat for upper-balcony seats or $175 each for good seats on the ground floor--before calling a babysitter.

"Somewhere along the line, people who were in charge of the cultural institutions--I think it's just ignorance and being out of touch--they just did not have a plan, they did not think beyond the point that the city would change," said Chris James, 39, of Uptown. Now, he said, "The museums don't necessarily fit. They can do all the outreach they can. But how broad is their base? If you're at the Art Institute , you're competing with the DuSable. Downtown isn't the draw like it was once."

Even before getting the report, downtown cultural institutions had moved to address the disparity. Last month the Chicago Historical Society changed it name to the Chicago History Museum "so people don't think we're an exclusive club," museum president Gary Johnson said. They're adding exhibits reflecting ethnic neighborhoods prior to reopening next September after an extensive remodeling.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is planning a hip hop music festival in May. The Art Institute of Chicago has a four-pronged outreach effort ranging from traveling to city parks and libraries to exhibiting Southwestern and African ceramics.

Several have already opened partnerships with smaller arts instructions, which gladly hailed Wednesday's report as showing they had found a way to serve groups uninterested in downtown cultural attractions.

But for the city's flagship institutions, the report left only more questions. "What I would really love to see is some kind of tracking so that we can measure year on year, month on month, on how we're doing at moving the needle," said Carrie Heinonen, vice president for marketing and public affairs at the Art Institute. "It's certainly on my wish list for things to do."



Jazz up- and down- and now up again?

The New Checkerboard Lounge, opened in November at 5201 S. Harper, features mainly blues, but has a jazz Sundays at 7:30. But this may not last long into the new year due to low attendance and lack of publicity. (The night chosen, however is Sunday.) The Hyde Park Jazz Society (Committee to Restore Jazz to Hyde Park) is largely responsible for the Sunday night trial. Numbers have been going up Sunday nights in early 2007.This group says it is incorporating. Jazz is often performed in the area, however, for example at South Shore Cultural Center. Saturday mornings Eugenio "Tundi" Ruiz plays jazz on WHPK. Special concerts include 16 2005's charity Jazz Concert, featuring Willie Pickens and Maggie Brown at Hyde Park Union Church and a gala celebration of Pickens' birthday at Museum of Science and Industry February 2006. More in "Will jazz survive" in Checkerboard page. (At the latter, series of quality performers are regularly lined up for Sunday evenings and sometimes afternoons.

Willie Pickens, Jazz musician, educator extraordinary

Jazz pianist Willie Pickens has been identified with Hyde Park for decades (since 1959), and raised three children here in the public schools, where he also taught for decades. Daughter Bethany is a noted singer and pianist. Son Bob is a high-ranking officer in Chicago Public Schools. More than once a year, Willie gives concerts at his church, Hyde Park Union Church, to raise funds for the Hyde Park Food Pantry, homeless, and the church and its programs and he participates in Neighbors' Eve. October 26, 2006, he and Bethany will perform at the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Quadrangle Club. Perhaps he will play from his newest CD, "Jazz Spirit."

He started playing piano at age 5, his mother and sister being pianists. After serving in the Army in the early 1950s, he earned a degree in music education at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. After graduation, he expanded his work of the clubs such as the Pershing Lounge at 64th and Cottage and th Crown Propeller on 63rd, later at the Underground Wonder Bar (then Domino) on Walton. He reflects that the jazz scene was vibrant on both sides of town. He thought of working his way east to New York, but slowly gravitated to Hyde Park, taking his first teaching job at Lindbloom High in 1966. Later, he formed the first jazz band at Kenwood Academy and directed the All-City High School Band. The public schools are still his great love, and he says the local schools are the best thing in Hyde Park.

In 1992, post retirement, he was able to tour five years, especially in Europe and Japan, with the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine after Jones left the John Coltrane Quartet. In New York, they played the Bottom Line, joined by Wynton Marsalis. Top



Some current exhibits and art shows, performance series

Consult Cultural Calendar. Of special interest are those at Smart Museum (especially Beyond Green), Renaissance Society and Hyde Park Art Center. Also the exhibit on Maroon Cultures of the Americas and one on a hundred years of American Music (open June 6) at DuSable Museum.


Wireless internet access is now offered at public libraries, other computer services expanded. Anyone with a laptop can access from any of the 76 branches, in addition to free desktop computer service already available! this will be the largest public library net in the country. In addition, patrons can now reserve two one-hour sessions on desktop as far as 3 days in advance by using their card at the library or via Also, from January 3, users may print up to 10 pages freeze (more are 15 cents each). Remember that a library card is now required for computer access- so get one! Top

One Book One Chicago- Discussions in various libraries and online, plus performance at Steppenwolf Th. in One Book One Chicago- year round now. Fall 2014-spring 2015: Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. About the Jewish kids who created escaped fascism and in 1939 created the first comic book hero, The Escapist, and how that led to Superman et al. The theme of the program this year is Heroes Real and Imagined.

Among local authors (or native Hyde Parkers) published in recent years or soon to be published: (new books and their authors, as well as authors from around the world, generally read from, lecture on, and sign their books at local bookstores! Most frequent author events are at 57th Street Books/Seminary Coop Bookstores. (Sometimes the events are at the associated Newberry Library downtown, or at places in the neighborhood with more space, such as Oriental Institute or International House or St. James United Methodist Church.) Also holding a fair number of such events are Borders Books etc. and occasionally University of Chicago Barnes and Noble Bookstore or the Hyde Park Art Center. See Cultural Directory for locales, links and contacts.

List of books SET in Hyde Park:!An-Ode-to-Hyde-Park-Not-Quite/c1q8z/E75D8C07-C794-4DAB-B377-2893AC2EE445. There are also several such books at Hyde Park Historical Society headquarters that may be browsed onsite, 5529 S. Lake Park Sats and Suns 204 pm. 773 643-1893.
Books by Hyde Parkers or relevant published in HP:

Coming- Book by Rebecca Janowitz: Culture of Opportunity: Obama's Chicago-The People, Politics, and Ideas of Hyde Park.

Obama’s Chicago: The People, Politics, and
Ideas of Hyde Park

Rebecca Janowitz’s portrait of Hyde Park—the Chicago South Side neighborhood long noted for its progressive politics— offers an expert, insider’s social and political perspective on this intriguing community that in many ways nurtured Barack Obama’s political career and made possible his run for the presidency. Sixty years ago, after a major community grassroots organizing effort and a massive, publicly funded urban renewal program, the Hyde Park–Kenwood area emerged as a diverse, politically confident community in a key lakefront location within the city, cultivating a rich and congenial cultural tradition. Before achieving a racial balance, Hyde Park had become a center of progressive politics dating from the late nineteenth century. Scholarly reformers—many of them from the University of Chicago, a part of the community—as
well as clergy and women had sought more influence in the city from a base in Hyde Park. The neighborhood offered a political alternative for people throughout Chicago who were dissatisfied with the city’s corrupt patronage politics. As early as the 1960s, Hyde Park reformers were looking for strong black leaders to serve a progressive white constituency as well as the black community. The willingness of Hyde Parkers, especially progressive Jews, to rally behind Harold Washington helped him become Chicago’s first black mayor, and one committed to reform. In the course of Obama’s rise to power, Hyde Park proved its usefulness again as a sounding board, support system,
and launching pad for political change. Culture of Opportunity will introduce you to one of the most distinctive and unusual neighborhoods in the United States. With 37 black-and-white photographs. Rebecca Janowitz has worked in politics and community affairs in Hyde Park for more than twenty years. A lawyer by trade, she has applied her skills with Arne Duncan at the Chicago Public Schools, in the Fourth Ward office of Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, on the board of the South East Chicago Commission, and most recently at the Cook County Jail. She is the daughter of the late distinguished University of Chicago sociologist Morris Janowitz, and lives in Hyde Park.
June / History, Politics / 256 pages / Illustrated
$26.95 cloth / ISBN 1-56663-833-3
Rights: W

Daniel Parker's book features his Kenwood collection of contemporary African, Caribbean, and especially Chicago and Hyde Park artists--that's right, such major African-American artists as Dayo Laoye, Julian Williams, Jason Jones, Dale Washington, and Rhonda Wheatly,...., .... live in Hyde Park/Kenwood! Parker and others have formed a diasporal Rhythms art collectors group. The object is to encourage and grow the artists and start a museum of contemporary African-American art. Top

One Book, One Chicago, Chicago Book Festival

One Book One Chicago this Fall is Carl Smith's "The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City." Watch for programs in branch libraries including Blackstone. September 14, Monday, 6 pm. At Harold Washington Library Center, Lookingglass Theater presents a performance recreating the initial presentation of the Plan to the public.

Copies are now available at all the libraries. . "Book Club in a Bag" having 8 copies and a resource guide can also be checked out from Washington, Woodson, Sulzer, Beverly, Douglass and Rogers Park. 312 747-4010.


The Annual Chicago Book Festival occurs every October, brought to you by the Chicago Public Library.

For full schedule visit the library or Or visit our Friends of Blackstone Library and Cultural Calendar pages.


55th Street, Washington Park became art class for Anne Stephenson's UC 2005 class, projects shown, explained at Hyde Park Historical Society

19 UC seniors took a class that explores the architecture of 55th Street. Anne Stephenson, the teacher, lives 2 blocks from 55th and bartends part time at Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap. She believes the built environment is art history writ large. The class started with DuSable Museum and a tour of the park and will proceed all the way to Promontory Point. Their final projects were to explain their poster projects at the Hyde Park Historical Society June 1st. In September, a 4 week class was held on the park and its social and inter neighborhood aspects. The presentation on this September 24 at Hyde Park Historical Society coincided with opening of an antique postcard and stereopticon exhibit on the park at the Society.

Among art and crafts classes being offered at var. times of the year, check out:

Chicago Park District- Jackson, Kennicott, Kenwood, Nichols, South Shore Cultural Center, Washington. See Parks pages.
Public Library Branches- Blackstone, Coleman, South Chicago. See Blackstone and visit Public Library site.
Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center (was Workshop). See also in our Co-Laborers in Neighborhood page. Includes glassblowing and pottery.
Hyde Park Art Center
Common Threads in St. Paul's and Kenwood Park- see in Good Neighbor

The U of C Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture with Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center UC South Side Home Movie Project seek 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm home movies of the South Side and its people, as far back as they go. A first free showing at Little Black Pearl, 1960 E. 47th on August 27, 3-5 will feature Woodlawn's gardens in 1942 and Shoesmith School plays of the 1970s. or 773 702-FILM. Top

Someone to Watch: Hamza Walker

In 2004, Renaissance Society/Bergman Gallery Associate Curator Hamza Walker received a major award and grant, the second Walter Hopps Award, and was named one of the 7 most influential curators in the US by the New York Times, in recognition of his scholarship and elevation of curatorial standards. Mr. Walker was noticed several years ago by those of us privileged to take one of his tours and is said by persons knowledgeable in the art world very likely to rise to major importance.

Here is a follow up, from the Hyde Park Herald, June 1, 2005. By Mike Stevens. Rising Renaissance star curates with curiosity.

If there is something Hamza Walker does not know yet it is not for lack of trying. The fast-talking associate curator for the Renaissance Society art museum does not seem to stumble across a tangent he is unexcited to explore.

A pile of unopened mail can grab his attention as easily as a painting. A recent 30-minute conversation with Walker expanded rapidly to include a wild range of unforeseen topics including a decades-old German TV series in the style of "Bonanza" to the peculiar and carcinogenic chemistry favored by painter William de Kooning. As someone who is charged with presenting a wide range of recently produced artwork, Walker sees part of his job as simply staying abreast--of pretty much everything.

"I just have a deluge of information. You can surf it," Walker said. "You cannot see enough. that's how you stay informed." Even with the dizzying options available through the Internet, visiting artists in their studios remains one of the primary ways Walker sees and considers contemporary art. Between studio visits, panel discussions and gallery going, Walker estimated he spends two to three months a year traveling."It doesn't get any more live and direct and unmediated than that," Walker said. "It's like the difference between reading about Emily Dickinson and reading Emily Dickinson."

After more than a decade at the Renaissance Society, the 38-year-old has established a strong reputation in the art world. Last October, Walker receive the second Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement and its $15,000 prize. The New York Times named Walker in 2002 one of seven of the most influential curators in the United states, arguing he was "helping to define 21st century aesthetics behind the scenes."

"The Renaissance Society is such a first rate place and he is a huge part of that," artist Stevens Badgett said. "I'm so glad that he is still here in Chicago." Badgett, through his art collective Simparch, has worked with Walker on various art projects over the last few years. "His hand in other people's projects is always about improving things and bringing [the art] to a higher place," badgett said.

Walker's responsibilities can include acting as a creative sounding board on a large scale project, orchestrating the logistics of getting work to and rom shows or overseeing work crews preparing a gallery for a show. "His level of involvement is pretty unique. He just really throws himself into it," Badgett said.

Walker's excitement, not for novelty but for expanding his base of knowledge, helps drive his curating style. "I like it all [artwise]," Walker said. "Show me your screw holes. Show me your video, your massive bronzes. There is room for everything under the sun. "I never dismiss something as a category," Walker addend."It's more a case of a bad apple versus all apples being bad. If you look at 100 conceptual text-based works you will develop a concept of what makes good or bad conceptual text-based work."


The Renaissance Society was founded in 1915 and showed many of the most famous artists of the 20th Century before they were famous. As Walker puts it, "We're presenting people, who do not have word-of-mouth street appeal. by th time they get [to that stage] we're onto something else." as quote in the March 1 2007 Weekly News, "I prefer to think of myself as a cultural bureaucrat. Some very small percentage of time involves any kind of specialized activity that belongs to the province of 'The Curator.' The realization and envisioning of an exhibition for the space out there--that's one thing. [But] it's the getting it done part that's the work part. ...I actually like stuff t hat I don't understand. Other people have a set of expectations for a certain pleasure quotient they want to take away, but I am more interested in questions.' He added that people naturally prefer the familiar, and that poses a problem for making and presenting the new. "You have to see more of it to understand that range. yu begin to value questions more, and the role that you begin to ply. And it isn't about liking it as much as formulating those interesting questions." He noted that the University now takes the arts much more seriously and as a part of the intellectual quest and of making students and faculty shapers of the fields.


Another to watch is Keith Purvis, and his co-owned Art on the Loose. This firm regularly breaths life into new and old exhibits, including at DuSable and Museum of Science and Industry. It aims to put "art" back into exhibit design. It also works with businesses such as Dixie Kitchen / Calypso. Art on the Loose will be redoing DuSable's Annie Malone and Africa Speaks exhibits.


Hyde Park Art Center during its construction

Hyde Park Art Center's new (or rather adaptively reconstructed) building on Cornell in early 2007 won 2nd place Neighborhood Development Award in the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation's Architectural Excellence Awards. Garofalo Architects.

From the March 16 2006 Tribune. Crafting a new home for arts: The latest Hyde Park Art Center, still a work in progress, gears up for a spring opening. By Jon Anderson

Hammers were smacking. Saws were screeching. Stones thudded into place for the new front walk. Ready to go up is a 128-foot-wide facade of frosted glass, with a lighting and projection system that will amaze the neighborhood.

All the arts of construction were on view Wednesday at the new Hyde Park Art Center, a piece of architecture that, as its backers like to say, "inspires possibilities."

Despite the mess at every hand, it will all be finished, they insist, in time for a sparkling opening day April 29. "It's really quite amazing," said Kate Lorenz, director of development at the $6 million home for artists of all stripes. At 32,000 square feet, the building--a former printing plant at 5029 [sic] S. Cornell Ave.--is roughly four times larger than the center's old quarters.

For 25 years, the center was tucked into the back of the former Del Prado Hotel, a 10-story neoclassical pile of red brick an terra cotta with huge Palladian windows and arched doorways, grandly facing Lake Michigan at 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd. It was cramped, with bad lighting and limited utilities.

But the center's reputation, stretching back to 1939, was enough to attract 10,000 students a year, from every Chicago ZIP code and 32 suburb. Ed Paschke, the late artist and the center's best-known alumnus, once noted, "If it weren't for the Hyde Park Art Center, I don't know if I would have had the guts and fortitude to stay the course."

The new center will have wide corridors, so no wall space will be unhung. The ceramics department will have gas-fired kilns. Large windows will cast light in all directions. The University of Chicago, which provided the building, will maintain some studios for faculty artists.

But most of t he hoopla probably will center around the building's novel entranceway. As envisioned by architect Douglas Garofalo, the two-story space, once a loading dock, will have fold-up doors that open upward in summer, allowing easy access to a large art gallery. Upstairs, across the front, there will be a series of glass screens and a catwalk for artists and computer imagists.

The neighbors seem to approve. "When we had the zoning hearings, it was the first time in Hyde Park history that there was no opposition," Chuck Thurow, the center's executive director, reported proudly.

But for the opening, the center plans 36 hours of continuous free programs. Along with artists showing works and as tribute to longtime backer Ruth Horwich, there will be gypsy music, a pancake breakfast, and at some point in the wee hours, a soccer clinic by members of the Chicago Storm.

One element won't be ready until July 1. A branch of the nearby Istria Cafe will offer coffee, sandwiches an 24 flavors of gelato, an Italian-style ice cream. Center staffers claim that the Istria operation is the only city source for "made-on-the-premises gelato south of the Chicago River.

Top More:

Later, collaborative design for the digital facade art

Hyde Park Herald, January 5, 2005. By Tedd Carrison, contributor

The Hyde Park Art Center will begin work this month on its 32,000-square-foot, $5 million masterpiece and the Kresge Foundation has agreed to help. Throughout the year, the center hopes to convert an old warehouse at 50th Street and Cornell Avenue into its larger, better equipped home and with the addition of the $250,000 Kresge grant, over 80 percent of the project's funds are now accounted for.

The warehouse overhaul requires an additional $750,000 that must be raised within six months if the Kresge Foundation is to foot its share of the bill. According to Chuck Thurow, executive director at the Hyde Park Art Center, Kresge stipulates that the center must "build a base of donor support" in order to qualify for the money. He said that the center is seeking the remainder of funds from all levels of the community so as to encourage "a feeling of ownership from a very broad constituency." "We'll take kids with $5 or adults with many more," he said.

In 2003, the University of Chicago donated the warehouse to the art center under a rent-free lease for 25 years. The building, once used as a printing center and machine repair [and theater storage] shop by the university, will soon serve as one of the largest art attractions in the city.

The new center is slated to open in early 2006 and will provide more than three times the space of the old one. Highlights of the new facility include a gas-powered kiln for sculptors and ceramic artists, a digital lab for photographers and videographers and an art resource center intended to serve as a gathering place for artists of all experience levels and media.

Thurow said that the fund-raising aspect of the rehab process has gone well and looks optimistically ahead to the new center's construction which is scheduled to begin this month.

Hyde Park Herald, March 23, 2005. By Nykeya Woods

Interior demolition on Hyde Park At Center's new 32,000-square-foot home at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. began last week. Executive Director Chuck Thurow said he was excited to have construction underway on the two-story building which is owned by the University of Chicago. "It feels really great," he said. "It feels to wonderful to have the project started."

By the end of April Thurow said the firth step, the removal of non-load bearing walls and other materials, will be completed. After that, the construction to transform the art center from its current home inside the Del Prado building will begin. "The major new change that you will see is the front of the building. [It] will have a glass and steel framework and catwalk going across the front of it," Thurow said.

The building will house a gas-powered kiln for ceramic artists and sculptors, and art recourse center with art books along with magazines for the community and a digital lab for photographers and videographers. Half of the building will become classroom space which will triple in size from the previous location, including ceramic studio and photography studios. The other half will include five exhibition areas, Thurow said. The University of Chicago will occupy a space in the back on the first floor. Administrative offices, some gallery space and computer labs will be coated on the second floor. Also included in the new bu9ilding will be an independently owned cafe. Thurow respects that construction will be finished by February, 2006.

Exterior renovations include the replacement of the loading dock, which will become the new entrance to the building. There will also be storage space behind the building. In addition. the parking lot will be repaved. Thurow said the Cornell Avenue side of the building will change because the entire center of the building will be open. He said this dramatic change allows for indoor and outdoor activities.

In 2003, the University of Chicago donated use of the former publishing warehouse (once an army px) to the art center under a rent-free lease for 25 years. Top

32,000 sq. ft.
128-foot 5-screem digital facade with catwalk: IIT students design digital images to be projected on the facade
cost $3 million
Opening date April 2006

New Hyde Park Art Center bldg, 1st Floor

New Hyde Park Art Center bldg, 2nd Floor

Later: Several of us and artists took a tour of the new Center under buildouts. The spaces are flexible and allow for both large and small shows and many kinds of studios. In fact, the University of Chicago will build out the west half of the second floor as studio space, possibly with collaborative residencies for Midway Studios, which is what the Center wants the new building to have. Columbia College is collaborating on the digital/video studio and will teach photography classes. The new ceramics studios will feature gas kilns. The old building will not be entirely out of view and can open up to the outdoors, as will the unique digital display/performance front facade, now a subject of study by students of IIT and UIC. Entry area will be on the north with parking; the cafe on the south side. Emphasis is on this being a resource center and a space for experimental art. Collaborations, breaking boundaries, becoming a working space for artists all over the city and a citywide destination spot are critical.

The Center hopes to engage local residents, the larger community, other organizations locally and world wide. The opening exhibit will engage every part of the building and site. Midyear 2006 there will be several exhibits simultaneously in different media, as well as performances. Year's end will have a major exhibit, if recalled correctly featuring a guest curator from London.

First exhibit held, Takeover, April 1-June 11 2006. Every kind of space was used by any one of these 40 artists who took over this building for art. From HPAC release:

"The first exhibition for the new Hyde Park Art Center at 5020 S. Cornell will be an explosion of new works by emerging and established artists with Chicago roots. The new art Center will be a laboratory for experimental art and ideas. The innovative nature of the building's architecture and the one-of-a-kind glass facade are designed to be resources that artists can use and transform in exciting ways. A select group o artists at all stages in their career have been asked to create art works that respond to this challenge - A creative takeover.

Invited artists have proposed new work that utilize, incorporate, correspond or disrupt a particularly space in the building. The exhibition will break down the distinctions between gallery and classrooms, hallways and offices, making the whole art center accessible to the creative process. Visitors can explore the entire building while experiences site-responsive art works by a collection of the area's finest artists. Expect the unexpected.

The photography, sculpture, installation, video, sound, painting and performance exhibited will not only create a dialogue with the architectural features and physical location of the new building, but also highlight the community function, and future role of the Hyde Park Art Center as a hotbed of activity.

Participating artists includes Candida Alvarez, Denenge Akpem, Damon Bishop, M.W. Burns, Juan Angel Chavez, Laura Davis, Jeff Deolier, Andrea DeMears, Jeanne Duning, Julia Fish, Fen Foch, Dianna Frid with Mark Galley, Goat Island, Jacob Hashimoto, Pablo Helguera, Industry of the Ordinary, Chuck Jones, Stuart Keeler, Anna Kunz, Judy Ledgerwood, Nina Levy, Joan Livingston, Inigo Mangiono Ovalle, Kerry James Marshall, Patrick McGee, Adelheid Mers, Ben Nicholson, Anders Nereim, Dan Peterman with Doug Garofalo, Jenny Reeder, Karen Reimer, Jenny Robers, Kay Rosen, alison Ruttan, Scott Short, Siebren Versteeg, Dan Wang, Anne Wilson and Scott Wolniak.

Illinois Institute of Technology students designed and chose digital images for a means to project giant images on the facade. The 10-member team is from IIT's Inter professional Projects Program that requires students to take part in real-world projects (not unlike what the teams thrown together in "The Apprentice" have to do). Students are majoring in architecture, psychology, computer science and humanities. furthermore, University of Illinois at Chicago may offer a 2-semester course on content for the facade.

Director Chuck Thurow told the Herald, "A lot of our efforts are going into [this]. It's interesting because their analysis did come out in a broad array. They weren't just looking at the nature of projectors... but also how you can use this to interact with the community." Assistant Bob Krawczyk adds, "How does an artist take a video image and cut it up so it goes across five projectors? In this gallery space, maybe the at starts outside and it crawls along the facade so the people inside will see the reverse of it." The first artist to use the facade had not been selected as of May, 2005.

Historical vignettes, new book

Hyde Park Herald, April 12, 2006. By Nykeya Woods

It all started in a neighborhood pub. The Hyde Park Art Center has had nine different homes since opening more than 60 years ago. A new book, Perpetually Strange: The Hyde Park Art Center, takes a look at its history through pictures and art. the book is scheduled to be released later this month to coincide with the grand opening of the new Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell on April 29.

For eight months Hyde Parker Karen Wilson has been collecting pictures and interviewing artists and supporters of the art center for "Perpetually Strange." "It's just a snapshot," Wilson said about the 110 page book that will contain 75 illustrations. "It's just a sense of the place rather than a final word."

According to Wilson, a colony of artists from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition settled in Hyde Park after the fair and raised art awareness creating the 57th Street Art Colony. In 1939, the art center was founded as the Fifth Ward Art Guild by then Fifth Ward Alderman Paul Douglas, Mrs. Charles Merriam, Helen Bardner and Ulrich Middledorf in a defunct saloon at 1466 E. 57th St.

"Over the years, the art center has moved eight times, including the early 1940's to a location where t he trolley line ended and turned back towards downtown," Wilson said. The art center participated in the first 57th Street Art Fair, showcasing 48 artists in 1948. The 50's saw the center expand further by offering a variety of classes. The center moved to 1506 E. Hyde Park Blvd. above the National Theater in 1957, where sculptor Cosmo Campoli began teaching stone carving, casting and plaster.

During the 1960s, Ruth Horwich began hosting post-opening parties at her Kenwood home. "It was a way to get to know the artists and other people who were collecting art," Horwich told the Herald. As an avid collector, Horwich was always thrilled to see new artwork from local artists. "For so many of us, we would see the work of unknown artists, and it was very exciting," she said. Horwich joined the art center's board in 1962 and has served as president. A gallery of the new center is named in her honor "4833 RPH." Executive Director Chuck Thurow said she is the backbone of the art center. Thurow said 4833 RPH will be a welcoming place like her post-opening parties of long ago. "This ...meeting ro0m is where we'll have monthly gathering of artists to talk about things that will stimulate," Thurow said. "This is the place where we hope to have a diverse group of people." ...


From the April 13 2006 University of Chicago Chronicle. By Jennifer Carnig

As the Hyde Park Art Center moves from its cramped space in the Del Prado Apartment Building to its spacious new facility at 5020 S. Cornell Ave., the University is giving its neighbors an unprecedented housewarming gift: Although the University will continue to own the Cornell building, it has allowed t he Art Center to pursue its own design and to occupy the building rent-free for 25 years.

With every layer of concrete poured, every nail hammered and every light bulb wired, a new relationship is being built between the University and the surrounding community. "This move was made possible by an incredible partnership and is what I consider to be a model of how south side communities, government and the University can work together to make great things happen," said Henry Webber, the University's Vice President of Community and Government Affairs. "Driven by Chuck Thurow's ...inspired leadership, this new world-class building and the programs it will make possible bring so much vitality and energy to our community and the city--I'm thrilled to be part of this excitement."

Opened in 1939, the Hyde Park Art Center is one of the oldest arts organizations in Chicago. It is consistently celebrated locally for the art education opportunities it makes avail bale to the community and internationally for its exhibitions, including most famously one of the first shows by the Chicago Imagists...

As it enters its next phase, the art center is once again attracting the cit's attention south of the Loop. With the move into the new building, the Hyde park Art Center is trading in a 6,700-square-foot space for a massive two-story, 32,000-square-foot edifice, a University asset worth over $1 million.

"This is beyond exciting," said Allison Peters, director of exhibitions for the center, explaining that she will now have access to five galleries instead of one. "I can finally start thinking about what spaces the art will look best in instead of what art looks best in this space. It's an amazing opportunity."

The new Hyde Park Art Center, designed by Chicago architect Doug Garofalo, opens its door to the general community for the first time at 9 a.m.. Saturday, April 29, when a week-end long celebration called "Creative Move" kicks off. The art center will be open continuously for 36 hours, until 9 p.m. Sunday, April 30.

The free opening weekend will include a chance to see Takeover, the center's inaugural show composed of work by more than 40 different artists and collaborators, as well as listen to music, watch theater and dance performances, and even see the Chicago Storm demonstrate its soccer moves. Events geared toward families will take place during the day, and at night, bands will play and cocktails will be served for adults. There will also be a midnight ceramics class for those who want to try their hand at the creative arts.

While this opening creates a new cultural destination on Chicago's South Side and makes available great opportunities for art lovers in the city--more unique exhibitions to see, a wider variety of classes for children and adults to enjoy, and another place for people to hang out with the opening of a new coffee shop on the first floor--the new Hyde Park Art Center also means and enhanced art environment for members of the University community.

The second floor of the new building includes seven studios for University artists--faculty in the Department of Visual Arts will use four studios, and visiting artists will utilize the remaining three. The large, bright studios are "a huge deal," said Laura Letinsky, a noted photographer and Chair of Visual Arts. "These studios will facilitate our ability to attract and retain a strong faculty," Letinsky said while touring the new facility to survey the four allotted studio spaces designated for Department of Visual Art's faulty. "This is analogous to having a library for faulty in other departments. It's basic . Given that we want active artists, this is something we need. So this is a wonderful step forward."

The new space will also allow the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, which hosts a visiting artist artist every school year, to offer studio space as part of its incentive package and therefore for the first time, open up the program to artists outside Chicago.

Two additional studios will become home to ArtsWork, a new joint between the Division of the Humanities and the Hyde Park Art Center that will bring two visiting artists to the University for 10-month residencies. Slated to start in September 2007, the program will give the University and the arty center the opportunity t0 attract artists from around the world to the South Side.

ArtsWork signals another new collaboration between the University and the Art Center--the selection committee choosing the artists will include someone from the art center, as well as representatives from the Humanities, Art History, and Visual Arts and the Smart Museum of Art. But perhaps most importantly, this new panel promotes cooperation among various constituencies inside the University, said David Thompson, Associate Dean of the Humanities. "One particularly interesting characteristic of the visiting artist program is that its mere existence as a program testifies to the strengthening of creative partnerships both within the University and beyond." Thompson said. "The selection of these artists is carried out via a group conversation. Thus, the visiting artists arrive to find a receptive group of colleagues drawn from a range of endeavors-- a museum, a community art center, and several academic units. The possibilities for collaboration are exciting."

For more information about the Hyde Park Art Center, its opening weekend, its upcoming exhibitions or its classes, visit or call 773 324-5520. Also see Cultural Calendar.


Sun Ra and followers get due

Continuing through October 30 at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive and at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell:
The legacy of multimedia artist Sun Ra is featured at South Shore Cultural Center Gallery show "Beyond Boundaries" through October 30. Part of Chicago Artists Month. Features Melvin King, Yop Selgo (Bob Oglesby), Sherman Bech, Crump. And in the galleria is "Beyond Teaching": CPS teachers who also are artists.
This is part of series of exhibits and events featuring the work of Sun Ra and Afro-Futurism, including an exhibit at the Hyde Park Art Center (
Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968 and allied Interstellar Low Ways.) Afro-futurist musician and philosopher Sun Ra. Artists offer distinct projects that take up Sun Ra's characteristic forms including neon sculptures and "formlessness" paintings. 5020 S. Cornell. 773 324-5520.. The latter includes samples of his music and his record company, and a slide show with a music club atmosphere, and samples from his preaching in Washington Park. The show is co-curated by gallery owner John Corbett. "Interstellar Low Ways"- 30 artists inspired by Sun Ra. Oct. 17 6 pm. screening of Sun Ra's "Space is the Place." Parts through January 14.

Those who missed the October 15 2006 crowded opening of Interstellar Low Ways and Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground 1954-68 missed quite a show. At times as many as 4 sets of drummers beat hard-driving rhythms in sync like you might have heard in the Chicago South Side clubs where Sun Ra rose to prominence, created his later unique persona, foreshadowed many music trends of the 60s and 70s, was a pioneer in artist ownership of a record company, a pioneer in multimedia film, graphic arts, performance art, modernist woodblocking et al. There is also a large set of art of this decade created specifically to honor the inspirations of Sun Ra. Curated by John Corbett (north side gallery owner) and Terri Kapsalis.

Several related events including concerts and screenings occurred.



Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center (Workshop) new quarters was dedicated by Ald. Preckwinkle and many others at 47th and Greenwood September 25. Information in the Development page.
In May 2005 the Illinois General Assembly voted LBP c $400,000. LBP is now a major host to U of C Master in Fine Arts exhibits and Smart Museum off-site programs.

Further: Muntu Dance breaks ground (See Parking Woes page for some concerns.)

Little Black Pearl Workshop and Design Center celebrates Grand Opening September 25 in new home at 47th and Greenwood.

Little Black Pearl owner takes dream to 47th St.

Hyde Park Herald, September 22, 2004. by Kiratiana E. Freelon

Every time Little Black Pearl Workshop fonder Monica Haslip walks into her home at 4200 S. Drexel Blvd. after Sept. 25, there will be something missing. There will be no more kids congregating at her house, no more paint spills and no more tourists. All will now take place at the corner of 47th St. and Greenwood Ave. in a 40,000-square-foot facility that features an atrium, restaurant, multiple art studios, a computer lab and gallery. "Now the organization has a life of its own," Haslip said.

The workshop will celebrate the grand opening of its arts facility Sept. 25 with a gala. The event will feature a cyber auction, a gourmet dinner and music. A gallery will be named after Bronzeville residents Wanda and Lewis Martin for their long term support.

Haslip started the community arts program 10 years ago on the first fl0or of her renovated home in the once blighted Oakland neighborhood. She put a twist on the typical community arts program teaching children business as well as artistic skills. Children produce functional artwork that they can sell through the organization's store. The popular program, which serves 750 to 1,500 kids annually, eventually outgrew Haslip's home.

"We knew we needed more space because we had the challenge of not being able to accept all the children in the program. As a result of that, we made the decision that we needed to move forward in identifying a new location for this community." Four years ago the new workshop received a $1.5 million Empowerment Zone grant, which jump-started her fundraising for the $9 million building. ShoreBank financed construction, which began one-and-one-half years ago.

When the workshop designed the building, the needs of children and the community came first. For example, one of the building's architecture highlights is the two-story birchwood design because they wanted to provide wood paneled glass atrium. Haslip says she and her staff included the atrium in the design because they wanted to provide the community with elegant meeting and activity space. She also wanted children who participated in the programs to have quality hot meals onsite, so a restaurant was added. The importance of technology led to the inclusion of a computer lab.

Gwendolyn Pruitt, director of product design, participated in developing the layout for the paint studio. She boasts that the paint studio will have natural lighting and enough space for a live model.

An expansion of services will accompany the workshop's physical expansion. The artistic focus will soon include music. Beginning January, 2004, Little Black Pearl will offer workshops and classes to families and community residents, in addition to children.


Little Black Pearl kicks off 47th Street cultural corner

Hyde Park Herald, September 29, 2004. by Kiratiana E. Freelon

Little Black Pearl Workshop began another decade of community empowerment last weekend with the grand opening of its 40,000 square foot facility at 47th and Greenwood Avenue. "The opening of the Little Black Pearl Workshop is going to make 47th Street the epicenter of African and African-American ars," said Abdul Brimah, WVON radio host.

More that 400 friends, family members and supporters helped Monica Haslip, founder of the arts and business organization, and her staff to celebrate the opening of the building with a gala entitled, "Jazzmatazz: A Renaissance of Urban Innovation."

"There is a real chance that this organization will have life beyond me now," said Haslip, when commenting on the organization's move from her house at 4200 S. Drexel Blvd. "it is an organization of this community."

The Kenwood and Oakland communities have experienced drastic changes since Haslip started the organization 10 years ago to teach local kids the business of arts. She says the evolution of the community will not come without challenges and that she hopes that the workshop can build a bridge between the families of all economic positions.

"We hope that the workshop will be a place where one's [economic position] is not an issue and where all children can come and get the same thing and work toward the same goal," she said.

Before the event, state senate President Emil Jones and Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) joined Halsip in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Jones was instrumental in securing the workshop with the state and federal funding needed to undertake the $9 million project. Jones said he was proud to see taxpayers' money going to the right things.

The building's architecture amazed the guests, some of whom were already thinking about the possibility of having events at he site. "What has blown me away is that we finally have a gathering place for special events, where people will be very pleased to host parties and events," said Hugh Brandon, a volunteer with the workshop. "There was a dearth of places for us on the South Side."

Gala attendees danced to the live music of Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Farell and Casandra Wilson in the structure's two-story birchwood paneled atrium, the building's architectural highlight.

In the future, the workshop will offer classes to children, families and seniors in painting, ceramics, photography, woodworking, mosaics, glassblowing and welding.

The corner of 47th street and Greenwood Avenue will also soon be home to the Muntu dance Theatre, making a corner once blighted by two liquor stores into a "cultural corner." Top

Little Black Pearl open, Muntu dance theatre may be open by end of 2005 (but see on parking fears in Parking Woes page)

Hyde Park Herald, December 22, 2004. By Kiratiana E. Freelon

Joan Gray, president of the Muntu Dance Theatre, hopes to be sitting in an office at the corner of 47th Street and Greenwood venue this time next year. Developers laid the foundation for Muntu's new 55,000 square-foot facility at the corner last week. Work is scheduled to finish late in 2005.

The facility plans include a 400-seat theater, meeting space for community organizations, dance studios, classrooms, and retail space. "I don't expect it to change the direction of the company, Gray said. "But it will add a new dimension." Muntu currently produces dance shows and runs three dance classes at Kennedy-King College. The new building will help expand its classes and host local and international artists and groups, Gray said.

The company is close to completing its $12 million fundraising campaign, which will help fund the construction. At a Dec. 10 gala during its 2004 concert series "Sopaly," at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., Muntu raised more than $50,000.

Muntu, Chicago's oldest African-themed dance company, will hold its grand opening for the facility in spring 2006.


Muntu plan irks board, city--gets big Boeing gift- and changes architect

Flash: Muntu, with new design by the Alter Group and new loans , should start construction in late 2009. 65,000 sq. ft. $11 million. The u-shaped theater at the north will seat 399. Three studios for Muntu and other troupes. Classrooms. Street level retail. The 47th front will have mostly mosaic glass.

Hyde Park Herald, February 9, 2005. By Tedd Carrison, Contributing Writer

The long awaited Muntu Dance Theater slanted to be built at 1100-1116 E. 47th St. may take a little longer to completer after controversial changes to the initial plan caused a local planning group to withhold its approval for the projects last week. At the Feb. 3 meeting of the North Kenwood-Oakland conservation Community Council, members complained they were confronted with a building 20,000-square-feet smaller than previously approved plans had outlined. The new plans also include a retooled glass-faced facade that reduced the amount of exterior glass by 90 percent.

But the biggest controversy stemmed from Muntu's failure to obtain city paperwork OK'ing the changes prior to presenting the plans to the NK/OCCC. To make matters worse in the eyes of many council members, the cement foundation of the new, partly city-funded project has already been laid.

"At this point it would be foolish for us to take any action [to further the building process]," said Council Chairman Shirley Newsome as she admonished Muntu Chairman Joan Gray for neglecting to get proper approval." Gray maintained that the Chicago Department of Planning was notified of the changes and that Muntu has adhered to building regulations throughout the development although she was unclear of specifics when asked.

At the meeting, City Planning Department Representative James Wilson heatedly disagreed with her over whether the new plans had been seen by the city. "We were not aware of plan changes and that is problematic," said Connie Buscemi, spokesman for the planning department. She said that it is critical that the department be informed of all changes to the the proposal and that all financial and regulatory concerns are addressed. "We are going to sit down and meet with [Muntu] because we want this to go forward," she said. Calls to Gray for comment went unanswered by Herald presstime.

The new proposal calls for a pre-cast facade punctuated by small rectangular glass insets that will be recessed three inches. The reason for minimizing exterior glass was to bring down construction costs and reduce heating and cooling bills, Gray said.

While one council member lauded the contemporary design of the alternating insets, others took issue with the stark contrast it would provide to the traditional architecture of the neighborhood. Another concern was the "unfriendly" look that the new plans convey. One likened the new theater to a correctional facility and said that more needs to be done at street level to ensure that the building provides an aesthetic asset to the neighborhood.

Coupled with the Little Black Pearl Workshop, the 400-seat Muntu Theater is part of a planned cultural corner that is underway at 47ht Street and Greenwood Avenue. Founded in 1972, the theater presents interpretations of African and African-American music and dance through performances and community arts programs. The proposed facility will house administrative offices, rehearsal studios, an archival library, classrooms and retail space. A rendering of the new Muntu Theater proposal may be seen on the organization's website


Revised plans went before NKOCCC at the start of September, but approval was not given. Shirley Newsome, NKOCCC head, reported in May 2006 that Muntu has chosen yet another architect.

In September 2005 Muntu and Boeing Company announce a gift of $3 million toward the futuristically-designed home for Muntu at 47th and Greenwood. Muntu is now over the $10 million mark in its $15 drive. Muntu received a sizable grant from the State of Illinois.

July 30 2008 Herald repot Muntu on track despite delays. By Kate Hawley

Despite fumding setbacks and almost six years of delays, a plan to build a performing arts center for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago at the northeast corner of 47th Street and Greenwood Avenue is still active, a city spokesman said. "We're still committed to getting this project complete," said Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city's Department of Planning and Development. "it has been a long time in coming, but sometimes that happens, especially in an economy like this one."

The city sold the land to Muntu in June 2002 for $1, under an agreement for the redevelopment of the vacant property into a 52,000-square-foot performing arts center. Construction was supposed to start within a year of closing on the sale and completed within two years. Though these deadlines have passed, the city is still backing Muntu's plan. "I think they ran into some funding issues, but the city is fully supporting this project," Scales said.

Public officials and representatives of the critically acclaimed, 36-year-old dance company are giving few details about the progress of the new center, to house a 400-seat theater, classrooms and administrative offices. Joan Gray, Muntu's president, did not respond to several calls for comment. Mae Wilson, a representative of the 4th Ward, where the project is located, said only, "We don't have any new information."

The proposed center was projected to cost $10 million when it was first announced, but costs appear to be escalating. The Outlook reported in September 2005 that Muntu organizers had passed the $10 million mark toward a $15-milion goal. Sources tell the Outlook that, at a gala fundraiser for the company on July 12, Sidney Dillard, board treasurer, announced a $21-millin capital campaign for the new building. State Sen. Emil Jones (D-Chicago) is th campaign's honorary chair, according to Muntu's website.

Among the notable grants the company has received for the new center in recent years: $4.5-million in state money sponsored by Jones in 2003, $3 million from The Boeing Company in 2005 and $5,000 from Barack and Michelle Obama in 2006. Michelle Obama sits on the company's board... According tot he 2006 return..Muntu's net assets were $8,867,584 at the end of the year.

Construction on the center, which reportedly started and then stopped some time ago, may begin in earnest soon, according to James Wilson, who oversees the 4th Ward as a project manager for the Department of Planning and Development. At a June 5 meeting of the North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council, or NK-OCCC, a community group, he announced that Muntu has secured a lender. He declined to respond for a request for further detail, but Cook County records show that Muntu signed a construction loan agreement on Dec. 20, 2007, with New Century Bank of Chicago for $9 million. That's the second mortgage that Muntu has taken out. The South Side-based Shorebank lent the company $250,000, according to a mortgage agreement signed in April, 2003....

The architect retained for the project, New York-based Davis, Brody, Bonds, LLP< has received $1,470,274.33 for its work on the project, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court in October 2007. The firm is suing Muntu for an additional $324,603.09 it claims it is owed. Muntu has filed a motion to dismiss the case. The nest court date on the motion is Aug. 19.

In the meantime, the vacant land at 1100 E. 47tgh St. is a sea of shoulder-high grass - a marked contrast with the thriving Little Black Pearl art and design center across the street a 1060 E. 47th St. "I would just love to see them get going and finish that building," said Shirley Newsome, a longtime community activist and chair of he NKOCCC. "It sends the wrong message when the site is under construction for such a long time."


DuSable Museum of African American History has acquired the historic Roundhouse one-time stables in Washington Park and will now proceed to raising the money needed to bring its dreams to fruition--showing a higher proportion of collections, research and curatorial space (including computer and other resources for visitors), an eating spot, and more. The DuSable, now in a $25 million capital and endowment campaign, received $10 million from the state at the behest of Senate president Emil Jones. It also received a Mac Arthur grant.

New hours during construction. For the rest of 2005, the Museum is closed on Mondays. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5. 773 947-0600.

Museum to grow in 1907. Hyde Park Herald, November 17, 2004. by Mike Stevens

The DuSable Museum of African American History doubled in size Monday--at least theoretically.

The Chicago Park District handed museum officials a set of ceremonial keys to Washington Park's neighboring Roundhouse building Nov. 15, clearing the way for the museum's @25 million renovation of the historic stone building.

A $10 million state grant championed by state Senate President Emil Jones (D-14) made the expansion possible, DuSable CEO and President Antoinette Wright said. "To our elected officials local, state and federal, we thank you for bringing the bacon home," Wright said to Jones and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (d-1), who were among nearly 150 people on hand for the formal handoff.

In a bill being considered by Congress, Rush has earmarked $1 million for a proposed pedestrian skyway over 57th Street that would connect the Roundhouse expansion to the museum's main campus. "I thought about [Jones'] $10 million and my $1 million and the only thing I can think to say is, every little bit helps," Rush said. "This is just a down payment. We intend to get more."

After accepting a teddy bear from DuSable Museum founder Margaret Burroughs, Jones moved quickly to the problem of where to find the $12 million needed to finish the proposed restoration. "We in the state have done our job. All the major corporations that our community supports have got to step up to the plate," Jones said.

After years as a maintenance facility, the 61,000-square-foot park building will allow the museum to host larger traveling shows in addition to exhibiting more of its own collection. As it stands, space constraints relegate up to 70 percent of the museum's collection to storage.

On top of exhibition space, the Roundhouse will house research facilities and a reading room to expand onsite learning resources, DuSable's Director of Finance and Administration Michael Carter said. "[Today] if you came here and asked about Frederick Douglass we can tell you, but we can't show you," Carter said.

The former stable will also house a lunch room which officials hope will boost attendance because schools will no longer be forced to hustle students back to campus for their lunch hour. Wright anticipated the expansion will boost annual attendance by 60,000 visitors, which would push the attendance figures to well over 200,000 visitors a year.

Renovations are slated to begin spring 2005 with an eye to an 2008 opening. Fundraising will also go toward a $5 million endowment.


University of Chicago and the arts (see more in opening sections above and also below)

President Zimmer gives his priority for and to the arts.

InsideOut (U of C) Fall 2007

Focusing strategically on arts and culture--how they are thought about and how they are experienced--is a priority for the University. There are a number of reasons why this is important. First, there is increased interest from a student perspective, particularly undergraduate students who want to be involved in the arts in an active way, even if they are not art majors. We also have a growing interest among our faculty to integrate the critical analysis of the arts with performance and production, and to bring multiple arts disciplines together. Lastly, we see opportunities to contribute greatly to the quality of life in our neighborhood and in the city as a whole. We have the capacity to engage other artistic communities in a powerful way and to better connect our faculty and students as well as our professional organizations--like Court Theatre and the Smart Museum of Art--to activities and development taking place in our community and throughout the city.

So what's next? The future development of the Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts ( is a key piece of this puzzle. This will be a physical manifestation of the vibrancy of the arts at Chicago--a place where theory and practice converge, where different artistic media converge, where the community and the University converge. Additionally, we have created two new positions in the arts: Larry Norman was recently named deputy provost for the arts and Mary Harvey is now associate provost for project development. They will be working on questions of integration from both curriculum and community perspectives. We also need to think about larger space questions: How do visitors experience the Hyde Park Community? Where do people get a map? Where do they eat? How do they get from one place to another? Michelle Olson, the director of external and government affairs in the University's community affairs office, is leading a group think about these questions. Top

Where we stand and the next phase in March 2007. $35 million gift to Creative and Performing arts center. Jazz Archive moving to Special Collections.

From the Chicago Weekly News, by Juan Velez.

You might've heard of some of the changes, and if you're enough of a doctorate student you might have seen them. All the glossier and certainly the most utility-oriented spaces on the University of Chicago campus are from the last six years: Max Palevsky Commons, Ratner Gymnasium, the Graduate School of Business (GSB), the Gordon Center for the Integrated Science, the guts of the Reynolds Club. So now we have a crayon box in which to stick all the normal-ish kids (Max Palevsky Commons), a gym that isn't a Soviet silo, and a frigid birdcage of steel and glass where business students can evolve in their natural habitat. What more amenities does this modern institution need? Readers of this humble publication ought to know: a spot where artists can congregate, create, disseminate, and replicate.

The administration often refers to a nebulous "vibrant legacy" of arts at Chicago. What ground hath this platitude? If claims on human capital stand for anything, Susan Sontag, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Glass, and David Auburn al went here, and must've been to some degree shaped inside these walls. Doc Films has been around since the birth of silent film, and has hosted everyone form Hitchcock to Stan Brahkage to Fritz Lang; we birthed improv/sketch comedy and The Second City troupe; University Theatre has staged hundreds of productions; Fire Escape Films has matured to the point of producing feature-length films; the Renaissance Society exhibited Picasso and Kandinsky back in the time of the avant-gardes and is still a vital force in contemporary art; and WHPK has been singularly crucial to the development of Chicago hip-hop. So the trace is conspicuously there, and the administration has finally gotten around to giving the arts the formal glorification and aggressive support they deserve.

The University's informal arts initiative has its roots in the "Future of the Arts Report," a status assessment developed by an appointed committee in 2001 that called for the increased support of the various arts institutions on campus. This foundational idea has congealed into a number of distinct, agglomerated efforts in the last three years, starting with the formation of the Art Planning Council, which gives circa $50,000 in grants every year to student and professional arts groups, as well as to individuals. It has a particular emphasis on collaborative projects, which reflects a wider push towards collaboration in the initiative. The initiative draws from the university's long-standing interdisciplinary culture and aims to do something rather novel: the creation and proliferation of spaces where theory and (artistic ) practice can substantially merge, where different media can mix, and where faculty, students, professional artists, and the public can interact.

The main mechanism of this integrative approach is the furthering of collaborations between all the arts entities on campus--between professional arts organizations (such as Court Theatre), graduate and undergraduate academic programs and departments, the research enterprise of the Humanities division, and the student arts groups. The Arts Clarity group was created last year for this explicit purpose, to aggressively sustain and expand these collaborations, and to make the case for a projected expansion of both Court Theatre and the Smart Museum. Another related effort, coordinated by Mary Harvey, the chair of t he Arts Planning Council, brings together the heads of arts organizations in Hyde Park and on the South Side, with the objective of creating a compelling identity for the South Side arts scene, to increase its visibility, and to make it a necessary destination for North Siders and outsiders alike. While these associated efforts of the arts initiative are not entirely centrally organized, they can be understood as a single movement towards the enhancement of the arts at the U of C and on the south Side. Minds and means are being mobilized, and the future is pregnant with promise.

You've likely heard about the most exciting, integral, and emblematic project of the initiative: the (insert biggest donor name here) Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. This ambitious, landmark building will anchor the new South Campus and will be built around Midway Studios, the charmingly dilapidated home of the visual arts you've never been to, which is situated at 60th and Drexel. The CCPA will increase the University's capacity to deliver "high quality arts instruction and support high level para-curricular arts activity," and will allow for increased recruitment of talented, arts-oriented students, and of the highest possible caliber arts faculty. This move could very well change the composition of the study body at the U of C, and possibly expand it, though it is doubtful that the University would create a full-fledged art school. Instead, the building might help widen the applicant pool and lower the admissions rate, which would certainly be a cause for polemic as well as interesting growth, and would be in tune with the administration's overall project.

The design requirements call for shared functional spaces that flow together, reflecting the fluid relationships between the arts programs, and actively encouraging collaboration between the visual arts, film, music, and theater. Midway Studios, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is to be renovated, and will likely be incorporated in some of the potential designs. The building design has to be sustainable, expandable, and present an appealing facade for the South.

Confirmed facilities:

Three new black box theaters (like the first Floor Theatre in Reynolds Club), performance classrooms, rehearsal rooms, shops and theater offices.

Increase the number of music practice rooms form nine to twenty and provide a new recording studio and additional ensemble rehearsal space.

A new 150-seat film screening facility and a film vault (something like the film studies center in Cobb).

A 350-seat multipurpose theater that will provide a much needed new performance space and allow for better use to be made of Mandel Hall.

State of the art visual arts teaching spaces, forty student studios and gallery areas for students to display their work.

Digital media lab and smart classrooms.

Cafe (which guarantees decades of employment for future generations of hipsters) and lounge areas where the arts will intersect.

Office space for faculty-in-residence working on arts-related projects.

The building will enable faculty to create new art, as well as new courses that mix media. It'll allow for the expansion of the University's artist-in-residence program, by giving a wider range of artist more opportunities to spend a longer period of time on campus, thereby allowing them to work meaningfully with students, faculty, and professional arts organizations and to perform or exhibit for the benefit of the campus, the South Side, and the city.

There are still plenty of bureaucratic mazes and fiscal hurdles to overcome. Last year, five architectural firms were invited to compete for the design of the CCPA. They presented to a jury on November 20, whose charge was to recommend an architect to the Campus Planning and Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees, at their March 1, 2007 meeting. The jury's recommendation will remain confidential until the Board authorizes an announcement, which won't happen until the committee has had a chance to talk to the recommended firm about next steps, and circles back to the board - hopefully sometime in the Spring. The scale models of the winning design are bound to be displayed publicly at that time. Money, as always, is the other buzzkill. The CCPA will carry a heavy price tag of $100 million, and the University will tactically withhold a public fundraising campaign until the competition winner is announced. They are currently engaged in a "quiet" outreach to secure leading donations, the kind that get projects off the ground. Heartbreakingly, undergraduates probably won't be around for the opening ceremony..but their children undoubtedly will, and their future alumni donations will be spent on its upkeep.


More on the Arts Clarity Group

February 20, 2007 Maroon, by Justin Sink

The arts programs at the U of C are in the midst of a widespread and extensive restructuring process that is intended to transform disciplines traditionally underemphasized at the University. In recent talks, President Robert Zimmer has stressed the need for greater collaboration with city and neighborhood organizations and museums, the creation of a Center for Performing Arts, and the integration of artistic resource such as Court theatre and the Smart Museum into undergraduate studies.

"It's a really important part of our broader strategy to improve the University," Assistant Vice President for Student Life Bill Michael said. "We're working toward some programs that are really going to increase and improve the opportunities on campus for the study and appreciation of the arts."

The Arts Clarity Group (ACG), a board consisting of the directors of campus professional arts organizations, chairs of arts-related academic units, and the deans and deputy deans of the College and Humanities division, has taken the lead in strengthening the arts at the University. The board was created in response to a 2001 report that found "the absence of a clear sense of how [the arts] fit into the University's larger mission."

Other reforms being considered by the ACG include adding more arts residencies and fellowships, a renovation of Mandel Hall, expansions of the Smart Museum and Court Theatre, the purchase of permanent student gallery space, and the creation of new full-time faculty positions within the Humanities division.

Dawn Helsing, executive director of Court Theatre and cochair of the ACG, recognized the need for a University-led drive to support the arts. "The Hyde Park area is a hub of diverse and rich arts activity in this city. There's so much that we need to do to raise our profile and engage more visitors and residents," she said. "The University plays a central role, in no small measure because of the distinctive interdisciplinary arts scholarship and creativity being generated throughout campus."

Larry Norman, deputy dean of the Humanities Division and cochair of the ACG, wrote in an e-mail that ACG reforms are actionable proposals that are intended to increase the influence of arts on campus. "The University's commitment to the arts is best witnessed by the fact that the Arts Clarity Group's catalog of ongoing initiatives represents not a fanciful wish list for the future, but instead the reality of recent advances by our arts programs and of their collaborative work together," he said. "Much remains to be done, but progress in recent years has been great."

Although those involved in the process heralded the progress already made, pointing to recent guest artist prog drams, new hires, and curriculum development, many arts students expressed the opinion that their discipline is underappreciated at the U of C.

"I came to the U of C because I wanted a good liberal arts reduction, and being well rounded is important to me and will surely make me a better artist, but I don't think arts are taken seriously enough at the U of C," second-year Theater and Performance studies major Victoria Bartley said. "The thought of new spaces in which various artists of all types could collaborate and facilitate their work is fantastic. The arts programs here are growing, and the need for space is growing, and in a number of years, the University will no longer be able to ignore the problem."

Humanities faculty and students emphasized that new facilities are necessary if the U of C intends to avoid serious problems with overcrowding and insufficient resources in its art programs. Michael said the development office created a new position substantially devoted to arts fundraising, and the administration has stressed the importance of arts donations.

"There remains much to be done, and our physical facilities clearly are not adequate for the vitality of the current programming, little less its future growth," Norman said. "That is one of the great challenges that faces us now."


Creative and Performing Arts Center (CCPA) concept development continues with establishment of design competition

Herald, June 17, 2009. By Kate Hawley

The University of Chicago is planning to break ground next April on a $114-million arts center -- a key element in its wide-ranging construction plan for the south campus. Schematic drawings for the Reva and David Logan Center for Creative & Performing arts, presented at a public meeting Monday, June 8, showed a geometric tower that sits alongside a sprawling rectangular building with a distinctive sawtooth roofline.

University architect Steve Wiesenthal, who is overseeing the south campus improvements, described the new arts center as a "mixing bowl for the arts." It wil house a gallery, two theaters, a 450-seat auditorium, art studios, digital labs, classrooms, a cafe and a glass-walled performance venue at the top of the tower. An outdoor courtyard will give students space to congregate or even hold outdoor performances.

the design by architects Tod Williams and Bilie Tsien -- which is still in progress -- aims to connect the university with teh surrounding community, Wiesenthal told a crowd of about 60 people that attended the meeting at the university's School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th St. The box office and an information center face south, intended as a gesture of inclusivity towards Woodlawn and the neighborhoods south of teh campus. And its eight-story tower is meant to link the south campus with the north campus by mirroring other tall university buildings such as Rockefeller Chapel.

Theaster Gates, coordinator of arts programming for the university's Office of the Provost, said community groups would be able to rent space in the new arts center and possibly partner with students and faculty creating art within its walls.

Besides the new construction, the arts center project also includes a full restoration of a historic house and the adjoining Midway studios, a city landmark where the renowned sculptor Laredo Taft worked in the early 20th century.

A 1972 addition to the Midway Studios by the prolific mid-century architect Edward Dart -- a building preservationist advocates have recently made a pitch to save -- will be demolished, Wiesenthal said. The Dart building, like a large portion of the proposed arts center, has a sawtooth roof with skylights - a design chosen in both cases for its suitability in art studios, Wiesenthal said.

Several who attended the meeting praised the arts center's innovative design and said they looked forward to a renewed emphasis on creative and performing arts at the university.

[Groundbreaking is expected spring 2010.]

Unveiling plans, fundraising for new arts center south of Midway

President Zimmer tells why the new center matters, in Herald interview Oct. 23 2006.

Herald: The university appears to be focusing more energy and money on the arts with the planned arts facility and expanded arts curriculum. What factors spurred the shift?
Zimmer: The arts expansion as been on the university's agenda for a long time. In fact it was being discussed before I left the university four years ago. This represents in large measure a very natural evolution of curricular work in the arts. The real key question is the relationship between production and critical analysis. The view within the faculty has been evolving over time to think more about how these are related. How do we incorporate curriculum with some of the other facilities like Court Theatre and the Smart Museum

Fundraising and plans prep. continue to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Midway Studios at 60th and Drexel. Hoped-for opening is in 2010 at a cost of $62m (2003 est.). It will be two stories with 182,000 square feet. Added would be 3 black box theaters, new space for Department of Visual Arts, music practice and rehearsal space, a medium sized film an lecture hall, a 350-seat performance hall and computer labs. The focus, developed in a comprehensive study begun in 2000 under then-provost Geoff Stone, is to bring together what is now dispersed in cramped space across the whole campus, in a way the arts can collaborate, experiment, and grow. An innovative approach is the integrative "arts alley."

The new complex will shift the center of gravity southward, especially in connection with the new dorm and many other facilities planned between 60th and 61st, as well as create an arts dynamo as several of the other major studies dedicated campus buildings do. The center cannot go forward until 85 percent of funding has been found.

Herald, October 11, 2006. By Daniel J. Yovich

The University of Chicago is planning to build a $100 million arts complex and has impaneled a handful of the world's most renowned architects to compete for the contract to design the facility. The 180,000-square-foot complex is slated to be built near the intersection of 61st Street and Ingleside Avenue, and will include three black-box theaters, music practice rooms, a recording studio and a 350-seat performance hall. [ed- more below.] Danielle Allen, dean of the university's division of the humanities, said the complex will incorporate but leave untouched the university's Midway Studios. The studios are housed in the former mansion landmarked by the city in 1993. The studios are the former home and workspace of Lorado Taft, one of the early 20th Century's most famous artists.

"This project will create a new synergy for the arts at the university," Allen said, noting that the university's many art courses, studios, and performance and rehearsal spaces are currently sited in several different buildings throughout the campus.

The university has raised about $1 million for the project, said Tom Wick, the senior director of development. And the university's target of $14 million must be met before an architect will be hired. Those vying to design the complex are Daniel Libeskind, the planner for reconstruction of New York City's World Trade Center, New York architects Ted Williams and Bilie Tsien, and three former Pritzker Architecture Prize winners: Hans Hollein of Austria, Fumihiko Maki of Japan and Thom Mayne of Santa Monica, Calif.

The architects will submit their proposals for the project by the end of November, Wick said. A panel of faculty and students will jury them in early 2007 before a winner is selected.

Fund-raising for the project will continue through 2006. Though Wick declined to say how much of the estimated $100,000 must be raised before ground is broken, the university has previously sought 80 percent of the required funding for major construction projects before it begins building.

ed. Additional facilities according to the October 10 2006 U of C Maroon, include a climate-controlled film storage vault, as well as renovation/reuse of non-protected parts of Midway Studios. Previously announced are art fabrication studios and manufactories.

And the layout is planned to create new collaborations and cross-influences. Bill Michael, vp for student life, is cited in the Maroon as drawing parallels to the Gordon Center for Integrative Science: "Having the music practice rooms and things intertwined in these spaces provides a real opportunity for people to interact with each other. This building is going to be... a space where our students can come together, whether they're making films or doing a cappella or if they just want to experience the art." Allen added, "If you look at what's happening in the world of contemporary art right now, you'll see a remarkable fusion of media land genre, and that's happening on our campus too. We have people who blend different kinds of art-visual with digital, art with science." Michael also thought the CCPA will "energize the south side of campus" and engage communities while not replacing existing art and music facilities.

Re: architects, they were chosen from a pool of 60, similarly to the GSB competition. Allen was quoted in the Maroon, "We want this building to symbolize the creativity at the highest level, so we thought the activities of the building would themselves be well represented by top-flight architects. We thought the best way of engaging them in the most energetic forms of creativity would be a competition." This is also expected to jump-start the fundraising general and specific campaign--donors care who the architect is. Currently, many potential donors are being contacted or given attention.

CCCP grew out of a provost report on arts facilities in 2001.

Architects compete to design new center for arts. Chronicle, Nov. 16 2006, by Julia Morse

The Center for Creative and Performing Arts will move one step closer to fruition next week as five architectural firms compete for the opportunity to design the 180,000-squasre-foot building.

The architects will present drawings and models of their designs on Monday, Nov. 20 and Tuesday, Nov. 21, in private, juried sessions with members of the selection committee, which includes University administrators and faculty members. The winner will be announced in Winter Quarter.

The proposed $100-million center will turn six years of behind-the-scenes planning and the longtime dreams of students, faculty and administrators into a reality. It will serve as home to all areas of artistic expression at the University—visual arts, theater and performance, music and film—and will include a 350-seat performance hall.

“The University’s long-standing commitment to the arts will be m ore fully realized in the Center for Creative and Performing Arts,” President Zimmer said. “It will provide our faculty and students with an exceptional facility in which to conduct their work while enriching the broader community through an expansion of innovative arts programming.”

Five internationally renowned architectural firms have been invited to compete for the design contract. They are Hans Hollein of Vienna, Austria; Studio Daniel Libeskind of New York City; Morphosis of Los Angeles; Fumihiko Maki and Associates of Tokyo; and Ted Williams and Billie Tsien Architects of New York. The competing firms include three recipients of the esteemed Pritzker Architectural Prize: architects Hollein, Maki and Thom Mayne of Morphosis.

Hollein’s work includes the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, Germany, the Guggenheim Museum in Salzburg and the Austrian Embassy in Berlin.

Maki’s firm is well known for the designs of several academic facilities in Japan, in addition to the Iwasaki Art Museum, the Embassy of Japan in Brazil, a public-housing project in Lima, Peru, and the National Museum of Modern art in Kyoto.

Libeskind’s firm was selected last year to design the new World Trade Center in New York City and recently competed the design of an extension of the Denver Art Museum. His resume also includes the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Creative Media Center in Hong Kong and the London Metropolitan University Graduate Center.

Mayne’s work with Morphosis includes the University of Cincinnati Student Recreation Center, the San Francisco Federal Building, the Olympic Village for the 2012 Olympics in New York City and the Cornell School of Architecture.

Williams and Tsien’s accomplishments include New York City’s American Folk Art Museum, the Cranbrook Natatorium in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, Calif.

But the Center for Creative and Performing Arts will bring much more to campus than an architectural landmark; it will fulfill many hopes of administrators, faculty members and students.

“My dream is for us to have facilities that are worthy of our students—undergraduate and graduate—and worthy of our great faculty,” said John Boyer, Dean of the College who is also the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College, noted that there has been a great increase of interest in the arts over time among College students. He said that this year, 500 students are involved in visual arts; 400 with theater; 700 in musical groups; and 100 are in dance and performing arts. Also, 80 students are working on films with Fire Escape Films and others participate in 11 different a cappella groups on campus.

All in all, over 1,600 undergraduates enroll annually in creative and performing arts classes and studio-based courses that combine theory and practice, Boyer said. “The center represents an enormous opportunity to bring together the diverse range of curricular and extra curricular happening we already have on campus, providing a true home,” said Laura Letinsky, Chair of Visual Arts and Professor in Visual Arts and Cinema & Media Studies. “Right now, our film, theater, music and visual artists are scattered around campus, with no one place for student art to be exhibited, seen and heard. The center will allow for creative fomentation, providing a backbone for all the areas of the arts to live and grow.”

Although the University has traditionally been more famous for its Nobel Prize-wining faculty, liberal arts education and graduate research, the list of alumni who have successful careers in the arts is far from short. Those alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter David Auburn (A.B., ’91); the late choreographer Katherine Dunham (Ph.D., ’36); musician—composer Philip Glass (A.B., ’56); author Philip Roth (A.M., ’55); novelist Susan Sontag (A.B., ’51); filmmaker Kimberly Peirce (A.B., ’90) an author Kurt Vonnegut (A.M., ’72).

“Over time, the vibrancy of our city and the creativity of our students combined to encourage all kinds of other artistic activities among our students,” Boyer said. The creative and Performing Arts Center will provide the space for those activities to continue to thrive. Danielle Allen, Dean of the Humanities, said, “The new center will spur and facilitate cross-disciplinary, cross-media creativity at faculty, graduate and undergraduate levels by providing contexts for collaboration across creative and critical domains.”

William Michael, Assistant Vice President for Student Life in the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Students in the University and Associate Dean of the College, agreed. Michel pointed out that the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts would be the venue for students to continue their artistic passions and to create their works in much the same way that the faculty develops research.

“Some of the most exciting art our students have created on campus is art that is a product of collaboration,” Michel said. “It is when the students studying film, theater, visual arts and music come together that they are the most innovative and creative.”

Designs - five distinctly different visions-being evaluated

The University is determined this center be a beacon. Models will be in the Gordon Center on 57th for private viewing. Decision will be made by a committee that includes the present and former heads of the Board of Trustees and another board member, deans and department heads. " create a signature facility, a built expression of the vitality and creativity of the practicing arts on campus as well as a concrete witness to the University's belief in the place of artistic practice in education."

Thom Mayne's design is small and compact--only half the block and stretching over Midway Studio. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have a sprawling collection of medium-sized buildings over the entire block with a plaza and and 11 -story tower with observation deck. Fumihiko Maki has a low building with the top separated into open courtyards and usable space, skylights, planted grass. Daniel Libeskind, has a cubic la building in four twisted bars for separate departments one intersecting with Midway Studios. Hans Hollein has a leaning rectangular tower surrounded by buildings and a long structure suspended horizontally with lecture hall at one end and performance space at the other.


Southside Arts and Humanities Network (Enhancing Assets) and the Civic Knowledge Project

Enhancing Assets" University of Chicago-led arts and humanities outreach and resource network.
Civic Knowledge listhost information

The online guidebook for arts organizations, Smart Start, is now out, produced by Smart Museum and Arts and Business Council of America.
Visit also at 70 E. Lake, suite 500, 60601.

U of C Civic Knowledge's Enhancing Assets in January 2006 announced a Community Trust (?) grant of $25,000. With this, help and startup of all kinds can be offered to area nonprofit small arts related organization, including technical and grant writing. Also, more free classes connecting neighborhoods, arts, history, and the University will be offered in conjunction with the Graham School of General Studies.

And now Anne Stephenson will present to groups and neighbors who contact her a module on how to research your home, its eligibility for landmarking/registry or inclusion as a contributing structure in an historic district.

Enhancing Assets teaches artists how to shine spotlight on their creative work

From the March 30, 2006 UC Chronicle. By Jennifer Carnig

Just five months ago, Charles Beg and two of his friends started a theaters company, EP Theater, in Chicago's South Side neighborhood of Pilsen. The group's mission is grand--"To create the future of theater," Berg said, but their resources are small. ... What's more, the three are writers, actors and directors, not accountants, marketing managers or public relations specialists. They are short on time...and lack the business training to make their artistic dream a reality.

That's why Berg was so excited to hear about Enhancing Assets, a program of the Civic Knowledge Project, the two-year-old community connections office of the Division of Humanities. What began as a project to map humanities programs on the South Side has quickly become an established resource for small arts and cultural organizations on Chicago's South Side.

Through Enhancing Assets and the Graham School of General Studies, Berg and six other students took a free four-week public relations class especially designed for arts organizations. In addition to developing a media plan an learning how to write an effective press release, Berg got what he and his company were really looking for, reviews in TimeOut Chicago and the Chicago Reader. "It's a good start," the 28-year-old said, ....admitting..that his ambition is to "create a brand name" so that when people hear "EP Theatre" they immediately "think innovation."...

[Dean Danielle Allen after a 2004 conference] realized the University could provide these arts organization leaders with a place to meet, talk and pool resources, as well as an opportunity to consult with legal, financial and public re latinos professionals to learn how to lead their organizations to their maximum potential. ...Enhancing Assets has so far offered two quarters of public relations workshops. But a new grant from the Chicago Community Trust is making it possible for the University to expand the program. This spring and summer, the civic Knowledge Project will once again offer classes through the Graham School. ...possible subjects include board development, audience development, grant writing, technology in the arts, and human resources and staffing issues ....

The gem of the new class lineup is a documentary film course led by Judy Hoffman, a Visiting Lecturer in Visual Arts, and Margaret Caples, executive director of the Community Film Workshop. ...students...will develop their own six-minute videos they can use to reach out to possible donors and new audiences. [Director Elizabeth Babcock says"] "There is currently no resource specifically for South Side arts and cultural organizations. We're the first one." [Many of these groups] cannot take that next step of being able to demonstrate their reach and value without help. [Students critique each others releases and press pitches, set up schedules. Teacher Deva Wooley says these groups are working or enrichment and recognition of a community that hasn't had it, but] "they're here and that's a feat."



Summaries of initial meeting January 29, 2005. "Assets" conference tries to enhance University-community relations

On the January Conference, from November 29, 2005 Chicago Maroon, by Isaac Wolf

The University hosted a conference in January 2005 to promote artistic and nonprofit development across the South Side. At the conference, "Enhancing Assets," the University's award-winning art historian Martha Ward gave a lecture on curatorship. Following her talk, a Chicago cultural policy expert lectured on the private galleries and collections across the South Side.

What happened next was a striking moment for Dean of Humanities Danielle Allen. "The museums discussed were five minutes from Cochrane-Woods," said Allen, referring to the art center on campus. "This professor, Marty Ward, an expert art historian sitting beside me, had no idea they existed. It as in her backyard," Allen, who is also executive director of the group that hosted the conference said. "She was intrigued by and and interested in what she was seeing," Allen said. "She was grateful to learn about the private galleries." This was one example given by Allen of the University's disconnect with the South Side. "There are pockets of knowledge," she said. "There's not a lot of flow."

Allen's organization, the Civic Knowledge Project (CKP) , is working to interconnect the University with the surrounding communities. The idea behind her project is that successful democracies gather strength from their ability to generate "remarkable rapid knowledge transmission across geographic and social barriers," she writes on the CKP website.

"A central goal of the Civic Knowledge Project," she continued, "is to lead the University in generating modes of knowledge transmission between itself and it surrounding knowledge communities that might help jump start, in places where it has broken down or has never existed, the process of cultural circulation and mutual influence that is crucial to socioeconomic mobility and fluidity, and successful democratic practice.


From the HPKCC Conference Reporter, Winter 2005. By Clairan Ferrono, Board member

HPKCC Represented at "The Civic Knowledge Project"

On Saturday, January 29, 2005, The Civic Knowledge Project of the University of Chicago, run by the Dean of the Humanities, Danielle Allen, hosted a seminar entitled "Enhancing Assets: a Resource Network for the Arts, Cultural and Humanities Organizations." Invitations were extended to a large circle of arts organizations in Hyde Park, Kenwood, Bronzeville, and Woodlawn. It was very well attended.

Danielle Allen opened the meeting by introducing the Civic Knowledge Program, which hopes to increase communication and understanding, "a mutual exchange of knowledge and pooling of resources," in the larger university community--the mid-Southside. The seminar consisted of three sessions of workshops and a keynote address.

Workshop A, "What is Humanities Content?", was a lively, highly academic, and intellectual discussion led by James Chandler, professor at the University of Chicago, and Angel Ysaguirre, a director at the Illinois Humanities Council. Of potential interest to HPKCC was a remark by Ysaguirre that the Humanities Council has never received a grant proposal for anything related to a discussion of public policy. He indicated that they would favor such a proposal.

The second workshop was "ABC's of Fundraising" run by three fundraisers at the University: Brenda Nelms, Sarah Tuohey, and Shaleane Gee. It covered the basics of finding potential donors, researching, designing proposals, developing relationships, and stewarding grants.

The third workshop was "Building a Public Relations Campaign," led by Jenny Lawton, a producer at Chicago Public Radio, and Leslie Bardo, Director of Com munitions at the University. Again, this workshop covered the basics of communications strategies to draw media attention to events.

Of greatest interest was the keynote address by Diane Grams, Associate Director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, and professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Her talk addressed the issue of "understanding the socio-economic context of arts and humanities organizations." She and Michael Wart (who attended the seminar) are the authors of "Leveraging Assets: How Small Budget Arts Activities Benefit Neighborhoods," a project funded by the Driehaus Foundation and the Mac Arthur Foundation. Very briefly, their investigation discovered that small arts and humanities organizations (with budgets under $100,00) and tiny "networks" (smaller and less hierarchical than organizations) improve community life by providing access to resources (people, money, facilities, space, and technology), building social relationships, and enabling community problem-solving by bridging different sectors of the community.

The University hopes that more events will grow out of this one.



Chicago Maroon, February 1, 2005. By Kimberly Drelich

Representatives from South Side cultural organizations and the University met in Harper Memorial Library Saturday to discuss their changing relationship. The day-long conference, "Enhancing Assets: A Resource Network for Arts, Cultural and Humanities Organizations," offered panels ranging from "What is humanities' content?" to the "ABCs of fundraising."

As part of the Civic Knowledge Project, pioneered by Danielle Allen, dean of the Division of the Humanities, the conference began a new dialogue between the University and the community. The Conference highlighted the University's ability to share its knowledge with the community. "Lots of studies support the claim that arts an humanities organizations anchor the community," Allen said. "The goal is to take knowledge of how to maintain arts and humanities divisions over time and share that knowledge with other arts and humanities institutions that are similarly trying to maintain themselves over time."

Allen stressed the need to share knowledge between the University and South Side community and to "talk across boundaries that exist."

Representatives from cultural organizations such as the Organization of Black Designer and Creativity, a jazz magazine, introduced themselves to other representatives at the beginning of the conference. They then attended panels, which discussed applying for grants, fundraising, technology, law, finance, and public relations.

Diane Grams, associate director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University, gave a keynote speech, "Understanding the socio-economic context of your work," which pointed out that arts activities foster connections among people in the community and emphasized that importance of the humanities in the Bronzeville neighborhood. After the conference there was a tour of the Smart Museum, followed by a reception.

Many of the panelists were professors at the University. Larry Norman, associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and Interdisciplinary Studies, Martha ward, associate professor in the Department of Art History, and Jaqueline Terrassa, the Interim director of the Smart Museum of Art, led a panel entitled "Curatorship," in which they discusser the changing role of the curator both inside and outside of museums, experiences planning exhibits, and their involvement in research. The also discussed how museums decide what is valuable to tem and the experience of having interns.

At lunchtime, the more formal panels gave way to networking opportunities. Attendees met in rooms to talk about topics such as "Finding Space" and "Professional Development." The attendees discussed their concerns about gentrification and rental constraints. Representatives suggested places like the Hyde Park Arts Center that organizations might look to a promising possibilities for space.

This conference provided many representatives with their first opportunities to meet with others in arts and humanities organizations in the community. "It's very valuable to encounter people involved in similar endeavors who have similar needs and problems," said Connie Spreen, a representative of the Experimental Station. "The fact that we're here is a valuable resource in an of itself, because we now have a list of contacts." Spreen also noted that she considers her organization an "incubator" for small businesses and cultural activities.

Other representatives appreciated the diversity of subjects that the conference covered. "Hearing and seeing people from organizations I never knew existed is very energizing and exciting," said Clairan Ferrono, a board member of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. "Having issues go from the extremely abstract and academic to the ground-level and practical is very interesting."

Though "Enhancing Assets" was a University initiative, Allen said she would love to hear student' ideas. She added that South Side cultural organizations could use interns and that the cultural organizations could in turn contribute to the education of students in the University. "The group is important because theatre is a lot more on the South Side than the stereotypical view of it." she said. "There are tens and tens of arts and humanities institution."


Non-profit and for profit arts, cultural and humanities
organizations (individuals who would like to start such an organization
are also welcome)

What: Enhancing Assets is a new arts, cultural and humanities resource
network. It is run by the Civic Knowledge Project out of the Humanities
Division at the University of Chicago. Our first bi-annual conference
took place on January 29th at the University of Chicago campus, Harper Library hq..
Below is a tentative schedule:

The workshops topics were Curatorship, What is Humanities Content?,
ABC's of Fundraising, How to Enhance Your PR Campaign, Law, Financial
Management and the Creative Arts, and Technology in the Arts and

phone: 773-834-3929

fax: 773-834-2586



From the Chicago Chronicle, January 20, 2005. By Jennifer Carnig

The Division of the Humanities is kicking off the New Year by teaming up with South Side arts and humanities organizations. Danielle Allen, Dean of the Division of the Humanities, and the Civic Knowledge Project she established last year, are undertaking a new project: Enhancing Assets, a resource-sharing and capacity-building network for small-scale arts and humanities institutions on Chicago's South Side.

When Allen became Dean last year, one of her goals was to enhance the University's relationship with its surrounding neighborhoods. With that objective in mid, she created the Civic Knowledge Project, a branch of the Division of the Humanities designed to disseminate knowledge from the University to the community, and from the community back to the University.

The Civic Knowledge Project also runs several successful programs, including the Odyssey Project, a one-year course in the humanities for adults living at or below the poverty line; tutoring programs in the William Carter School; and an oral history project on the South Side.

As a part of the Civic Knowledge Project, the new Enhancing Assets program will kick off Saturday, Jan. 29 with a one-day conference designed to bring small-scale arts and humanities organizations on the South Side together so they can network with one another and receive the tools they need to run healthy arts and humanities organizations.

The all-day event will offer classes and panel discussions on such topics as grant writing, curatorship, technology and the arts, law and the arts, and public relations. The goal is to make the conference a biannual event and, ultimately help South Side arts and humanities institutions serve as anchors to their communities.

"Arts, humanities and cultural organizations are key to securing neighborhoods and preserving and advancing a community's culture over time, Allen said. "they expand participants' intellectual opportunities, increase their capacities for self-expression and self-confidence, and help them envision new possibilities for the future."

The idea fro Enhancing Assets grew out of a conference Allen hosted last spring, titled "Cityspace: The Past of Urban Renewal and the Present and Future of Community Development." The purpose of that event, which drew nearly 450 scholars, activists, city planners and community members, was to assess urban renewal projects of the 1950s and 1960s and to discuss the goals of today's community development projects. . At Cityspace, Allen met members of several cultural and arts institutions and they all expressed the same concerns: No one knew where to turn for help when problems with insurance, legal issues or management questions arose. Many expressed a desire to contact with other not-for-profit arts organizations with which to share advice and stories.

s when Allen realized the University could provide what these arts organizations were seeking--a place for a large group of leaders to meet, talk and pool resources, as well as an opportunity to consult with legal, financial and public relations professionals to learn how to lead their organizations to their maximum potential.

In creating Enhancing Assets, Allen's hope is that the University will be a resource "to strengthen and support the social and intellectual capital" that small arts and humanities organizations are building all over Chicago's South Side. "I am proud of the cultural, artistic and humanistic traditions of the South Side and wish to help sustain them for the future," Allen said.

So far, around 25 organizations have signed up for the conference, including museums, artist cooperatives, libraries, dance groups, video companies, theater troupes and youth art groups. is will be the first in a long line of events for local humanities organizations, and as time goes by, each conference will include representatives from even more organizations.

"The goal is to create a highly functioning arts network that just happens to have its nexus at the University," said Elizabeth Babcock, Associate Director of the Civic Knowledge Project and the conference's lead coordinator. "This is just the kickoff of a resource network that will continue and grow."



One suite of educational outreach is the Humanities Division's Civic Knowledge Project including the Odyessy Project, co-funded by Illinois Humanities Council. Believing knowledge itself gives power and using a "client-provider" model, it provides courses for adults below the poverty level and tutors their children. This is run by Danielle Allen and Elizabeth Babcock--and it's going Spanish, too. Graduate students also conduct "Reading your Rights Project" at William Carter School. Washington Park Knowledge Project conducts learning in the park. Enhancing Assets: Small Humanities and Arts Institution Resource Network will map all South-Side humanities and arts institutions in a database and bring the institutions and their educational outreach together. (Example: Smart Museum's Art Afternoons.) Listhost: listhost:

Enhancing Assets. This is the new resource network of arts and humanities organizations being organized by the Division of Humanizes Civic Knowledge Project of the University of Chicago. It grew out of the Cityspace community conference held in spring, 2004. One finding was that too many nonprofits have no where to go for help and advice and collaborative enterprise. Danielle Allen, Dean, proposes biannual conferences covering funding, public relations, legal issues, technology, human resources, and business practice. Contact Elizabeth Babcock of Civic Knowledge Project, Division of Humanities, 1010 E. 59th St. Chicago, IL 60637, 773 834-3929.


Arts panel March 7 2005 analyzes university's role in community

Hyde Park Herald, March 16, 2005. By Tedd Carrison

If culture and academia are the strongest indicators of civilization, then the south lakefront has more civic potential than any other area in Chicago. Though often at odds in the past, the University of Chicago and the artful communities that surround it are making strides to mend a spotted history.

On March 7, panelists emphasized this relationship during a discussion sponsored by the university's Cultural Policy Center at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Among others, the event include U. of C. Humanities Dean Danielle Allen and Hyde Park Art Center Executive Director Chuck Thurow, both of whom highlighted programs intent on integrating residents living on and off the U. of C. campus.

Allen asked the crowded room, "How many of you have ever been to a University of Chicago event at DuSable?" Silence pervades. "Exactly," she said. "That's why we are here today. That's the first piece of good news." Since becoming dean last year, Allen has supported a number of programs and panel discussions under the Civic Knowledge Project that transcend the social divisions once upheld by the university's long-abandoned but not forgotten Restrictive Covenants policies.

In 1999, the university and the Illinois Humanities Council launched the Odyssey Project which invites low-income residents from nearby communities to take college-level courses and cultivate academic interests. During the discussion, Allen cited this and additional university programs and services including a voting and civil rights tutoring programs at the William Carter School, the opening of the Regenstein Library to public school teachers and the Enhancing Assets resource sharing network for small South Side art institutions.

Thurow told the audience, "I am here as a success story of the collaboration between academic institutions and community art institutions." He said that that the new art center to be built on university property at 51st street and Cornell Avenue will provide patrons with "unparalleled access to the arts" including studio classes and outreach programs. "We were thinking of moving the Hyde Park Art Center to the North Side," said Thurow. As the groans ebbed, he explained that the current site was chosen in part because or "escalated relations" with university President Don Michael Randel.

Not all of the comments at DuSable were flattering however and criticism emerged following the presentation. Harold Lucas, president of t he Black Metropolis Tourism Council in Bronzeville, drew on his experiences growing up in Woodlawn during the 1960s to illustrate dubious university practices from the past. Specifically, he noted the racial and economic segregation that occurred in areas south of the Midway Plaisance and west of Cottage Grove Avenue.

"We need to think about these issues," said Lucas. "The [present] trend is that you have a low-income community that is regentrifying because it has not had access to university resources." In response, Allen acknowledged that "the university has had a complicated, mixed history with the surrounding communities" but insists that she and others are trying to rectify this relationship.

In an e-mail interview, U. of C. Vice President of Community and Governmental Affairs Hank Webber said, "Progress is being made. we have learned much over the past decades. We are committed to open and forthright working relationships with the community." He said that this is being done through university programs like the Civic Knowledge Project, a new pre-K to 8th grade public school in Oakland and expansion of the university police patrols.

"What I really hope for is that South Side communities come to see t he University of Chicago as their university, where they want their children to go to college, where they come to cultural programs, where they learn," said Webber. "Moreover, I hope the university community increasingly sees the South Side of Chicago as a fascination place which provides extraordinary opportunities for learning."

Following the discussion, Lucas said that he admires the outreach work of Allen and Associate Director of the Civic Knowledge Project Elizabeth Babcock and he hopes that it has a lasting remedial impact. "It's a painful process," he said. "But the dialogue has been opened."


The University of Chicago's Feminism and Hip Hop Conference, April 7-9,

seems to have piqued an interest, maybe a nerve, becoming a sold-out (after over a thousand registered) world-wide draw as well as spilling over into some local controversies about treatment and perceptions of and behavior by youth. Kenwood students participated by using the subject as the topic of this winter's joint UC/Kenwood Exploration Project class--the students presented their conclusions in a conference session in the form of essays, collages and a "sonic exploration" and later in the spring will present at the University and Rainbow Push. One of the teachers was Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who is also working to develop a youth-businesses covenant following arrest of a Kenwood Academy girl (a student in the class?) over a youth-segregated seating policy at the local McDonalds.

The Conference's goal was to understand hip hop and today's youths at a deeper level, especially how it deals with gender issues. Many, and not just "feminists" (a very diverse category in itself), have criticized hip hop lyrics as trashing, demeaning, or stereotyping women and missing the complexity of being human rather than pointing out complexities as much music does.... But the positive sides of the form were also covered. Several pop artists presented at the event organized mainly by the University's Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

Cathy Cohen, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, said "I think that people have to recognized that there is a real concern among women and men about the image and lyrics that seem to dictate what most young people see on BET and MTV." "If the conference has any true purpose, it is to create this dialogue that is an outlet for people to be exploring ways in which feminism and hip-hop can result into activism and concrete political action," said conference organizer Tanji Gilliam. "It affects me as a mother. I am very interested in protecting the culture that my black son will more than likely grow up in," she said--an it's not only negative images of women but black men being turned into commodities.



Smart Museum

Smart is hosting three highly insightful exhibits: Beyond Green, Whose Land, and Collecting for the Cause: Activist Art of the 1960s and '70s. Details in Cultural Calendar- Best Bets Circle.

Smart partners with nearly 25 area schools, including teacher workshops. Their Art in Focus is an interactive website for 3rd and 4th graders. (

The Smart is located at 5550 S. Greenwood on the University of Chicago campus. Smart looks forward to expansion westward.

Smart Museum's 2004 principal acquisitions were South Side artists: painter Kerry James Marshall's "Slow Dance" and photographer Dawoud Bey's "Theresa, South Shore High School," part of his extensive photo-sociological study featured in exhibit at the Smart (in 2003?)

Smart Museum won the prestigious "Best Show" award for its co-presented exhibit, "Between Past and Future" exhibit, 2004 into 2005.

Smart Families/Families at the Smart gain increased funding, helps Smart become a major mover in city arts, culture, communities

The 2005 "Museums for America" grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, leverages Smart money 1 to 1 for family programs that reach to many more South Side communities, for which Smart can become more of a resource and "community based asset"- not just bringing programs to schools etc. and families to the Museum, but working with communities. The program will bring many into contact with the arts and critical and social thinking that have been isolated from such since the schools went south on the arts and other family-friendly cultural venues are scarce.

The Smart believes it is uniquely situated to be a place where students, teachers, and families can learn and also engage with each other and members of the University, "Sharing traditional and new art experiences in a safe, stimulating and education-oriented environment," according to Smart PR and Marketing Director Christine Carrino, as quoted in the Nov. 3 (2005?) Chronicle. Audience research is one of the first tasks, as is improvement of online and print material aimed at children and parents.

In addition to its outreach to thousands of school children, "Smart Explorers" for 4th and 5ht graders is a 15-week program in both schools and the museum. Its 5 units include visual language, materials and processes, narrative in art, art in context, and project in which students research and lecture on a piece and create art. Critical thinking and all types of communication are central.

"Art in Focus" is targeted to 3rd and 4th graders and "Art in the Making" is for 6th graders. On 3 Sundays in the year, there are family days in which the whole museum becomes a treasure hunt, and in the summer there are weekly "Art Afternoons."

Now the Museum wants to find out what are the barriers to visiting and what programming might appeal. Under consideration is school-specific family nights with transportation provided.

The interactive SmartKids website, will be expanded.


Anthony G. Hirschel appointed Director of the Smart Museum, March 2005

Richard P. Saller, Provost, The University of Chicago and Richard Gray, Chairman, Smart Museum Board of Directors announced on March 30, 2005:

We are pleased that, after an extensive national search, Anthony G. Hirschel has been appointed the Dana Feitler Director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and he brings over 20 years of museum and teaching experience to the Smart and the University. He will begin his tenure as director in June.

We are delighted to welcome Tony to Chicago to lead the Smart's continuing commitment to excellence in promoting understanding of the visual arts among a range of audiences that includes the entire campus community, the city of Chicago, and the arts-interested world at large. As director, he will guide an ambitious new phase of growth as articulated in the museum's recently completed strategic plan that builds on the Smart's impressive successes during the last several years. In addition to further raising the museum's profile and strengthening its collections, programs, and governing infrastructure, Tony will oversee planning and development efforts for an expansion of the museum's facilities. All these activities will significantly enhance the Smart's growing reputation as a leading university art museum and a vital resource for the arts in Chicago.

Tony brings broad experience and vision, as well as a strong commitment to the Smart's educational mission and the unique role that it plays on campus and in the community. At Indianapolis, he oversaw a $220 million capital campaign and the expansion of the museum, organized a full range of internationally touring exhibitions*, and made several major acquisitions that further enhanced it world-renowned collections, including those of Chinese and Neo-Impressionist painting. Prior to Indianapolis, he served as Director of the Carlos Museum at Emory University, where he led a successful effort to acquire the most important collection of ancient Egyptian funerary art to come on the marketed in the last half century and reinstalled the museum's Egyptian galleries in consultation with Michael Graves. He has also served as Director of the Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia. At both Emory and Virginia, he worked closely with faculty, administrators, students, and museum friends to integrate the museum's activities into university and community life. He has also been a leading advocate for promoting diversity among museum audiences.

We extend our deep thanks to Jacqueline Terrassa, Education Director at the Smart, who has led the museum so effectively as Interim Director during the transition period.

We also thank you for your interest in and support of the Smart Museum and hope to see you at one of the many events planned to welcome Tony Hirschel to Chicago.

*Exhibits included "Asia in America," "Giovanni Bellini and the Art of Devotion," and "The Fabric of Moroccan Life.

Hirschel earned his B. A. in European history and art history from the University of Michigan and N.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where he also served as assistant director of Yale's Art Gallery. Hirschel is also an alumnus of the Museum Management Institute (now Getty) of the American Federation of Arts, of which he has served as trustee as well as of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Hirschel is quoted in the UC Chronicle: "I am very pleased to be joining the smart Museum of Art at this critical point in its history. It is an honor to have been invited to lead so vibrant an institution. The Smart's legacy of stimulating collaborations in its own community and around the world offers rich possibilities for future projects. I could not be more enthusiastic about the museum's prospects, and I am eager to begin."

Hirschel appoints new sub directors to speed the new Smart.
Shaleane Gee is now deputy director for development and external relations--over public relations, marketing, development, membership, visitor services, special events and communications. Gee, with a PhD in English from the University, said that while the museum's first audience is the University's community, it must be more visible and serve as a bridge between the University and not only its immediate community but the many kinds of community with which it comes in touch. Gee will work with a team of alums to increase visibility and ensure visitors have the richest possible interaction with the collections and exhibits.

Jacqueline Terrassa is now deputy director for collections, programs, and interpretation. Terrassa believes the consolidation will enable the departments to collaborate more effectively and better plan exhibitions, programs, publications and reach audiences- which in turn builds support. Terrassa will be responsible for an increasing number of programs (some nationally sponsored) engaging families and building Smart as a South Side resource and asset as it prepares [for the future?]


Oriental Institute opens new permanent exhibit, Ancient Empires in the Fertile Crescent

From the Chicago Chronicle, January 20, 2005. By William Harms.

Visitors will get a rare look at one of the most important geographical regions in the ancient Near East beginning Saturday, Jan. 29, with the opening of "Empires in the Fertile Crescent: Assyria, Anatolia an Israel," the newest galleries at the University's Oriental Institute Museum.

The galleries showcase artifacts that illustrate the power of these ancient civilizations, including sculptural representations of tributes demanded by kings of ancients Assyria, and some sources of continual fascination, such as a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls--one of the few examples in the United States.

The galleries also contain artifacts connected with the beginning of two important eras, the Bronze Age and the later Iron Age, as well as artifacts from Megiddo, a site that is figuratively connected with the end of all eras--the site referred to in the Bible as Armageddon.

James Henry Breasted, the founder of the Oriental Institute, coined the term "Fertile Crescent" for the region that extends from the fertile plains of Mesopotamia, across the Taurus Mountains of Anatolia, and down the Mediterranean coast to Israel and Palestine. The galleries include objects from 6000 to 600 B.C. from ancient Assyria, Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), Syria and Israel/Palestine, which were part of the Fertile Crescent.

The cultures vied for domination and in many ways influenced on another's literary, religious and artistic development. Among the major empires were the Assyrians; the Hittites, who gathered their strength in Anatolia and extended their control to the Fertile Crescent; and the Egyptians, who controlled part of the region through military force and their cultural influence.

"Their interactions were part of what we would call today a global society," said Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute. "The new galleries show how the various powers interacted, adopted each other's styles, respected the accomplishment and cultures of other people, and ultimately developed common perspectives, many of which can be followed as visitors look at the galleries' artifacts.

The new exhibition is part of a multi-year renovation of the Oriental Institute Museum. "Visitors can revisit the geographical regions of the Fertile crescent as they walk through our galleries, said Geoff Emberling, Director of the Museum. "Visitors begin in Assyria, move across Anatolia and down the coast of the Mediterranean coast to the land of ancient Israel. The galleries also trace the conquests of the Assyrian Empire across the Near East an follow their trail to Israel."

The new exhibition opens in the Dr. Norman Solhkhah Family Assyrian Empire Gallery with finely carved reliefs from the private section of an 8th-century B.C. Assyrian place, including several that show dignitaries from the court of King Midas in modern-day Turkey bringing tribute to the court of King Sargon II of Assyria. "They are not bringing gold, but leading horses, which were very valuable to an empire that grew through warfare," Emberling said. The Assyrians were the first to use iron extensively in weapons, and ingots from the birth of the Iron Age (about 900 B.C.) are on display in a nearby case.

In the Henrietta Herbolsheimer, M.D., Syro-Anatolian Gallery, another case is devoted to objects of bronze such as tools, weapons and figurines. "Among the greatest treasures of the Oriental Institute is a group of figurines from Tell Judaidah in southeastern Turkey. These remarkable sculptures of men and women dating to 3000 B.C. are the world's earliest known artifacts made of true bronze. "They are the forerunners of the great variety and quantity of bronze figurines and tools that are characteristic of the fully developed Bronze Age, which began in the early third millennium and was one of the most important technological and economic developments in the ancient world," said Stein.

Like the bronzes and the Assyrian reliefs, most of the other 1,000 artifacts in the 3,700-square-foot exhibition space were excavated by Oriental Institute archeologists. Among the rare items they brought back are fragments of a monumental statue of a king of the Neo-Hittite cities that held power in northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia in the ninth century B.C. The fragments include a head with a curled coiffure and portions of what may have been parts of his throne. Also on display is a monumental column base of basalt, carved with intricate floral designs, which once stood in the king's palace.

Before visitors turn a corner to enter the Egyptian gallery, they can examine artifacts in the Haas and Schwartz Megiddo Gallery from another important Oriental Institute excavation, the dig at Megiddo that covered a span in time from 5000 to 600 B.C. Each layer was carefully uncovered to reveal successive cultures that dominated the city, which is in modern Israel. Many of he items from Megiddo have never been exhibited before.

Megiddo, like the rest of the Fertile Crescent, was a crossroads of cultures. Excavations unearthed altars used by non-Jewish peoples (the Canaanites) as well as a gold figure of El, their principal god. The Israelites, who emerged as the dominant people of that region in about 975 B/c., are documented by many objects of dally life, including a large stamp engraved with a biblical text and an ossuary (box for bones) inscribed in Hebrew.

Probably the most spectacular potion of the Megiddo gallery, however, is the section with the Megiddo ivories. These exquisitely carved pieces of elephant tusks were inlays in furniture, and a particularly large piece was made into a game board. "The ivories are carved in different styles--Egyptian, Mycenaean Greek and local Canaanite--and show how connected Megiddo was to a larger world during the Late Bronze Age," Emberling commented.

The new galleries are made possible by the generosity of several major donors whose names are included as part of the exhibition.


Did you know?

Powell's Bookstores depends on the 20 percent of its sales via internet (much to Amazon) to keep its business afloat. Powells has over 3 million books in 3 stores and a large warehouse. Still, owner Brad Jonas misses the days when the store was filled with people physically browsing, asking questions, and discovering the book for them.


Members of the HPKCC board want to ensure a full exploration of cultural/performance uses in the replacement for the Harper Theatre/Herald buildings at 53rd and Harper, within the mandate that the facility as a whole be profit-making. The University at the November 10, 2004 TIF meeting said it was negotiating with a chain for an art film theater and with Checkerboard Blues Lounge. Such have not worked out, but the University says it wants to develop night life on 53rd and if possible save the buildings and enhance cultural venues. The new director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce also wants to see an entertainment/cultural use there, to complement the Checkerboard and further fill a void in community life and business. Something should gel by early 2005. See Theater on the cultural options many residents would like to see in the theater and that the University says it is exploring. Top

From the January 2010 Conference Reporter

A Hyde Parker You Should Know: Chuck Thurow

By Jack Snapper

Chuck Thurow is stepping down from the directorship of the Hyde Park Art Center. Before joining the HPAC board, Mr. Thurow was in the research department of the American Society of Planning Officials (later the American Planning Association) on Chicago’s south side. He became Executive Director of HPAC in 1998. During his tenure, the HPAC built and moved into its new building on Cornell and 51st and greatly expanded its programs. Mr. Thurow plans to remain a member of the Kenwood Neighborhood, looking for new challenges. He kindly agreed to discuss his views of the Hyde-Park-Kenwood art scene with Jack Snapper for the Reporter.

Jack: Can you tell us something about the history of your work with the Art Center?

Chuck: When I joined the HPAC board in 1983, I knew little about contemporary art and nothing about Chicago art. I was collecting ethnographic art. But the board in 1983 needed to expand and friends asked me to join. Within a couple years I became exhibitions director, then chair of the Board, and finally I became executive director. It was a bit of serendipity.

When I was trying to reinvent the HPAC and raise awareness of the Center so that we could raise the six million dollars for building, the quickest and easiest way to raise awareness was through the exhibition program. So we did some really flashy exhibitions. Shows like “Free Basin,” a sculpture that was also a skateboard venue that traveled around the U.S. and Europe, are the kinds of things we did to raise the profile of the Center very quickly. At the same time, we were lucky to have incredibly strong people looking after both the studio and outreach programs. So I could concentrate on the exhibitions.

Although there can often be tension between an exhibition and an educational mission, the fact is that the really great thing about the HPAC is that it combines exhibition and
teaching programs. It is really unusual to have this unified program. And to have it so successfully.

Jack: In my mind HPAC is the place for studio classes and fine art exhibitions. The outreach program is less visible. Tell me about that program.

Chuck: We have worked with as many as 26 schools on the south side. (We also work, for instance, on the west side, but the board has always seen outreach to the South Side
its primary mission.) Through the efforts of Jackie Tarrasza, we were one of the first organizations to introduce programs that integrate the arts with the other teaching efforts in the public schools. We put artists in the regular classrooms, for instance with math or science teachers, and used visual arts as a way of learning in the classic disciplines. It is a very successful program, and it is easy to see why. When students are learning history in an interesting way, they are likely to remember better and do better on tests.

Jack: So your programs have a much broader impact on the South Side than just Hyde Park? Chuck: In many ways. We also had a program in the park district called ‘Partners in Art’ where teaching artists worked intensely over a long period of time with teenagers, with the idea of skill development. And those students turned around and taught younger kids.

Jack: It is striking that there is no highly visible artist’s community in Hyde Park, such as the artist community that has popped up around the Zhou Brother’s building on 35th Street.

Chuck: There is a huge population of artists that would love to live on the South Side, particularly around Hyde Park. Actually a couple of people have promoted Hyde Park as a living location for students at the School of the Art Institute because rents are cheaper than Wicker Park or Buck Town or places where those students generally live. And of course it is easy to get to the Art Institute with both bus and train. Hyde Park seems like a natural. But there are problems. It is a real limitation that Hyde Park does not have the kind of buildings where you can have studio spaces. The Zhou Brothers seem to be looking south from 35th to Canaryville and Back of the Yards. South of Hyde Park, you find good studio prospects in Grand Crossing, but that neighborhood is not an appealing option right now.

Jack: What can be done to encourage an artist community in Hyde Park? Chuck: I was really pleased with Laura Shaeffer’s venture on 55th Street—the Opportunity Shop in December. She has gathered a nice crowd with an exciting atmosphere. That sort of activity is very successful in building community. It started in the loop with the Loop
Alliance and the ‘Pop Up’ shows. And I have a friend who has done it in Irving Park, calling it ‘Art in my Back Yard,’ as a take-off on the urban planning cliche ‘not in my back yard.’ These sorts of activities confront problems. There are city regulatory issues – is it an assembly place and do you have to have a bathroom. There are insurance issues that confront the store-front owners. The question is whether we can figure out a way to make it easier for an individual like Laura to overcome the obstacles. Maybe some organizations, like HyPa, could provide some coverage to deal with these obstacles. We do something like that with the Jazz Festival. The other thing is that these Pop Up events are very mobile, temporary, dynamic. When you get a crowd that has a good time and realizes that this is really an interesting thing, how do you get them to then go to another site and understand that it will be the same kind of experience? These things are very mobile. An organization can help with that. And I think the art events can also be key to retail in Hyde Park. Retail likes to have the crowds, and the crowds won’t be there unless there is something interesting there. And so Pop Up art is one way to keep the streets activated.

Jack: And the HPKCC can help with this?

Chuck: Oh sure. We are actually just planning to get a group of people together. Someone from the HPKCC could be there too, to just think through the issues. One of the problems is staffing. Artists should be in their studios creating art, not sitting being store clerks.

Jack: What exciting opportunities do you see at the HPAC today? Chuck: I think there is an incredible opportunity at the HPAC studio program that has not as yet been fully realized. The studio classes have always been oriented to the avocational rather than towards alternative ways to becoming an artist. We have some really outstanding examples of people who started taking classes at the HPAC and then went on to become outstanding artists. We can think about the school as a way to support that kind
of development. That is one of the ways they are thinking about it right now, and that can be very exciting. And in a different direction, there are projects like the ‘Not Just Another Pretty Face,’ which is actually a commissioning project. The idea is to bring together people who are not that savvy about contemporary art and to actually go through the whole process of how a piece is developed, put together, and finally exhibited. And with the whole range of media.

Jack: Do you have some thoughts about what the Art Center has meant to you?

Chuck: I just took my own first drawing class and I have been having great fun. It was a course on expressing color and light with a graphite pencil. I may not have been the best student, but I am certainly a very enthusiastic student. So now I have given up my camera and I take my sketch book when I travel. So after all those years, now I can draw. I may not be an artist, but I do enjoy making a reasonable likeness.