Historic preservation four takes us to the South Side of Chicago, where a historic building serves as a community arts center, and showcases the talents of African American Artists.
The structure is a three and a half story brick Classical Revival. with double curved bay windows, a Greek Revival entrance, and numerous columns. The center was officially dedicated on may 7, 1941.
Front entrance Photo Credit: Jacob Hand for The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation is not only about places, it includes people and events that surround their lives. The National Trust for Historic Preservation writes, "Dedicated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, the South Side Community Art Center was one of nearly 100 art centers established by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. Since that time, it has served as a cultural and artistic hub in Chicago, fostering emerging African American artists and showcasing established talent while connecting South Side residents to art through exhibits, classes, lectures, and other educational programming. The center is the only Works Progress Administration art center still operating as established in its original building."
"The center has been instrumental in showcasing works by prominent African American artists of the 20th century, including poet Gwendolyn Brooks—the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize—and Life magazine photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks. Other noted artists whose works were featured at the center include William Carter, Charles White, Archibald Motley, Jr., Dr. Margaret Taylor Burroughs, and Eldzier Cortor."
First floor Photo Credit: Jacob Hand for The National Trust for Historic Preservation
The mission of the center is to fulfill the need for art. During the Great Depression, employment in the arts was difficult. A Federally-funded arts program intervened as community leaders acknowledged the need for education in the arts.
Beginning in 1938, with pledges from founding members, and other campaigns, civic associations, and businesses all supported the effort. Read the full article on the Chicago South Side Community Center
Learn more about the Full American Story on Saving Places.
Learn more about the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.