$13.8 million already secured, including generous donations of over $1 million from Builders Initiative and the Guida Family Foundation, as well as other foundation grants and individual donors with a focus from its South Side community. Public campaign phase now active.

The board of directors of Hyde Park Art Center proudly announces that beginning in the spring of 2022, the renowned non-profit contemporary arts center located in the vibrant South Side of Chicago will transition to a tuition-free model in its core education programs, which will will make it the first country to contribute what you can visual arts school for all ages. The sweeping move culminates Hyde Park Art Center’s ambitious five-year strategic plan to ensure more equitable access to artistic creation, education and community engagement for years to come.

In 2018, the art center’s board launched the $16 million program THE ART MADE fundraising campaign, the largest in its 82-year history, to secure a tuition-free model of education, create an endowment, and increase funding for general operations and artist investments in years to come. the THE ART MADE campaign co-chaired by Cynthia Heusing, Walter and Shirley Masseyand Richard Wrighthas raised $13.8 million to date, largely through three generous core donations: over $2 million provided by Builders Initiative, $1 million from the Chicago-based company Guida Family Foundationand $500,000 from the Chicago-based company David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. The Art Center Board of Directors played a vital role in the success of the campaign, committing over 25% of the total funds raised to date. Additional support was received from local and national foundations and corporate grants, in addition to donations from dozens of donors in Chicago and the Art Center’s South Side neighborhood. The remaining funds are now being sought to complete the campaign; for more information on supporting Chicago artists and arts education with a donation of any size, please visit www.hydeparkart.org/art-makes.

“As we found ourselves planning, we heard that people appreciate the legacy of the Hyde Park Art Center, our support for Chicago artists, and the way the institution contributes to the identity of the local community. Importantly, we heard that our programs are making a impact— teens develop their voices, artists tackle bold and ambitious projects, and families find a creative home. Our neighbors, artists, students and volunteers have reinforced the unique role the Art Center plays in connecting social networks, sparking civic dialogue and showcasing the best of our city. We also heard that we could do more and the campaign allows us to do that,” said Justine Jenteschairman of the board of trustees of the Hyde Park Art Center.

Added kate lorenzExecutive Director of the Hyde Park Art Center, “We know that artists are essential to a thriving society, and we aim to invest in Chicago’s arts community at all levels by removing tuition fees as a barrier, by making our public programs richer and more engaging for everyone, and increasing support for artists. This is truly a pivotal moment in our history.”

Increasing access to art for all

The Oakman Clinton School and Studios at the Hyde Park Art Center welcome nearly 2,000 students of all ages and skill levels each year with nearly 200 classes in the visual arts. Core Curriculum courses represent approximately two-thirds of all offerings and include Core Art Center curricula at all levels of learning and in all artistic mediums, from ceramics, painting and drawing engraving and digital photography. In order to provide students from all backgrounds with the means to participate in, create and benefit from the vibrant learning environment and community of the Art Center, with enrollment in Spring 2022, all core program courses will be offered at no fixed tuition price and all participants will be asked to contribute how they can, whatever level they are capable of. This restructuring of the school and studios will allow Hyde Park Art Center to proudly become Chicago’s and the nation’s first tuition-free visual arts school for all ages.

In addition, funds raised through THE ART MADE will be dedicated to investing in the Art Center’s ongoing Pathways programs broader access to visual arts for some 700 K-8 students in neighboring communities-Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Washington Park and Woodlawn – in addition to supporting over 150 teen and young adult artists through its artistic and professional training for young people in secondary and post-secondary education (18-25 years old). Further engaging the community, the art center currently hosts a robust series of artist talks, exhibition openings, free art-making workshops and other creative events; increased funding for public programs will provide an even greater platform and space for artists, community members and peer organizations to collaborate and contribute to civic dialogue and social awareness.

Increase investment in artists

Greater investment in professional artists is equally essential. Current Hyde Park Art Center initiatives that will receive increased funding include teacher/artist development for its 50 current teachers through additional resources and training for the development of studio work and teaching practice, as well as provide professional opportunities for artists advance their careers, both inside and outside the building, through valuable mentorship and exposure programs such as Center and Bridge offerings.

Additionally, the Art Center’s Jackman Goldwasser Residency currently offers local artists long-term access to free studio space and international artists the opportunity to live and work in Chicago. Based on this, the residency program will expand its international presence building on exchanges where Chicago artists travel abroad and connect to the global stage while international artists and curators visit Chicago to connect with our local artists. And finally, the Art Center will invest in new works, support artists and the creation of ambitious new works to ensure that artists, especially artists of color and women, can mount exhibitions that change their careers.

About Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center, at 5020 South Cornell Avenue on Chicago’s bustling South Side, is a hub for contemporary arts in Chicago, serving as a gathering and production space for artists and the wider community to cultivate ideas, impact social change and connect with new networks. Since its inception in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center has grown from a small collective of quirky artists to establishing a strong legacy of risk-taking and experimentation and emerging as a unique art institution in Chicago with social impact. The Art Center functions as an amplifier for the creative voices of today and tomorrow, providing the space to cultivate and create new works and new connections. For more information, visit www.hydeparkart.org.

Kayleen C. Rice