April 25, 2006

Ribbon cutting ceremony annoints new Hyde Park Art Center location

The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) celebrated its new location at 5020 South Cornell Avenue with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 22.

With the move from its current location at East 53rd Street and South Hyde Park Boulevard, HPAC hopes to provide more exhibits and art instruction to the community.

According to an HPAC press release, “This space epitomizes the Board and staff’s vision of the Center as a place that welcomes parents, artists, educators, community members, collectors, and residents from all communities.”

HPAC intends to bring diverse populations across Chicago into a creative environment. Many institutions collaborated on the project, including University of Illinois–Chicago, Columbia College, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The new 32,000 square-foot center, designed by Garofalo Architects of Chicago, is a renovated warehouse, owned by the University of Chicago and leased to the Hyde Park Art Center for one dollar per year for a planned 35 years.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, State Senators Kwame Raoul and Emil Jones, and Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle and Leslie Hairston attended Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

“The University of Chicago is at the forefront of public education reform and innovation and I deeply appreciate what they are doing for the city’s children,” Daley said.

Alderman Preckwinkle echoed Daley’s point.

“It is imperative that the children in our community be taken care of,” she said. “I am grateful to the U of C for that. The Hyde Park Art Center serves the entire South Side.”

Hank Webber, vice president of community relations in the University, discussed the art center’s importance on a broader scale.

“The arts build our individual lives,” Webber said. “This is a model of collaboration between the city, elected officials, and a university.”