What should a community arts center be, you ask? A place to celebrate the communion of the visual arts, a place for teenagers to gather after school, or a quiet corner to have a coffee and contemplate the art you’ve just seen?
The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) is just such a polymath and it covers even broader territory by offering a range of creative rotating exhibits, special events, gallery talks and more.
Founded in 1939, the Art Center is located in a lovely modern building (check out their murals on the south end of the building) and they are currently building the Guida Family Creative Wing to add even more space for artist studios and a digital lab.
Before you visit, make sure and check out their exhibitions area online to see what’s on view. Currently they have a wonderful exhibition, "Scenic Overlook" by Susan Giles (photos below), which explores our perception of skyscrapers through a series of large wooden sculptures. In coming months, visitors can also view site-specific collaborative street art works by notable women artists and Daniel Bruttig’s reinventions of cuckoo clocks.
Also, you’d do well to look over their excellent events calendar which features interactive curator tours, artist talks, and information about upcoming artist residencies. For more insights about what’s going on at the HPAC, I’d recommend taking a look at their blog as well.
Finally, a stop to the Bridgeport Coffee Company (located inside the HPAC) is a fine place to unwind with a cup of coffee, a sandwich, or perhaps a cookie or two. It’s easy to get to the HPAC from the Loop on public transit as it’s just a block or so away from the Metra’s 51/53rd Station.
Photos Courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center