The University of Chicago News Office
July 9, 2003 Press Contact: Sabrina Miller
(773) 702-4195

Building donated by University of Chicago will be transformed into cutting-edge home of Hyde Park Art Center

An unused University of Chicago building will be transformed into the innovative new home of the Hyde Park Art Center, with cutting-edge architecture and technology that will significantly expand the programs of the respected 63-year old organization. The Center signed a 35-year lease with the University June 30 on a two-story, 32,000 square foot building at 5020 S. Cornell Ave., valued at $1 million, which the Center will occupy rent-free and adaptively reuse at its own expense. The $3.6 million project is planned for completion in 2006 and will provide the Center with its first self-standing facility.

The dramatic new Center, designed by award-winning Chicago architect and educator Doug Garofalo, will include a 2,000 square foot Arts Education Resource Center; a 2,400 square foot grand exhibition hall; 9,000 square feet of classroom and studio space; coffee house; an outdoor sculpture court; and a student and faculty gallery. An additional 9,000 square feet will be reserved for future studios for visiting artists; long-term collaborations with other arts organizations or schools; and expansion space as the Center continues to grow.

“The Art Center is thrilled by this generous gift from the University,” said HPAC Executive Director Chuck Thurow. “It will help secure and nurture the Center’s critical roles in creativity, education and community building.”

The Center has a long history as one of the foremost exhibition spaces for the best of Chicago-area art and is a leader in promoting emerging and established Chicago artists nationally and internationally. HPAC also maintains a full and varied schedule of educational and outreach programs and currently offers more than 160 studio classes to 1,200 children and adults, as well as continuing education for teachers, teaching artists, child-development specialists and others involved with youth.

“The Hyde Park Art Center is one of Chicago’s cultural treasures, and we are delighted to play a part in the next stage of its growth,” said University President Don Michael Randel. “With its rich programming, vibrant creative energy and commitment to our community, it has had a positive impact on the lives of many thousands of Chicagoans. The Center’s bold new vision strongly supports our own renewed focus on the arts.” The University recently completed a master plan for the role of the creative arts which includes broadening the University’s connections to arts organizations beyond the campus.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities has cited the Center as one of 16 organizations nationwide that could be used as models for working with at-risk teenagers. HPAC has working partnerships with numerous community groups to provide access to the arts for residents of 22 low-income, underserved South Side neighborhoods, that include programs reaching 4,500 young people. HPAC partners with the Chicago Public Schools on curriculum-based arts integration and with the Chicago Park District on mentoring initiatives in which professional artists use arts instruction as a tool to instill important life skills.
Last modified at 12:42 PM CST on Friday, October 17, 2003.

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