The Hyde Park Art Center’s mission is to stimulate and sustain the visual arts in Chicago. It is the oldest alternative exhibition space in the City and boasts a long record of education outreach in the community.
Celebrating more than 60 years of success, the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) has been serving the Hyde Park-Kenwood community and surrounding neighborhoods as well as the metropolitan Chicago area with outstanding visual art exhibitions and education programs. Since its inception in 1939, the Center’s mission has been to stimulate and sustain the vitality of the visual arts in Chicago. To fulfill this mission, the Center actively pursues arts mentorship within the community it serves, fostering a collective spirit among artists, teachers and students, children and families, collectors, and the general public.
Since its inception in 1939, the Center’s mission has been to stimulate and sustain the vitality of the visual arts in Chicago
As one of the oldest alternative spaces in the city, the HPAC has an exemplary record of exhibiting a wide range of work by emerging artists through its Exhibitions Program. Panel discussions, gallery talks, poetry readings, music performances, open house events, and a series of short pieces by guest writers expand upon the approaches and ideas presented in each exhibition and engage a broad audience. In addition, the Art Center utilizes its diverse exhibitions program, featuring contemporary art and artists, to engage school groups and teach them about art processes.
HPAC’s education programs demonstrate the long-standing organizational commitment to serving the immediate neighborhood and South Side communities. Since 1940, when the HPAC’s School and Studio Program was launched, thousands of children and adults have participated in ceramics, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, stained glass, and other visual art classes led by professional artists. The School and Studio programs now serve a diverse constituency from the Hyde Park-Kenwood-South Shore community, the rest of Chicago, and its nearby suburbs; in 2003, enrollment was nearly 900.
Initiated in 1984, the Art Center’s Community Outreach Programs serve nearly 4,000 individuals annually through visual art workshops and classes at Chicago Public Schools, parks, youth and community centers, public housing developments, and retirement homes throughout the city. These thriving programs are improving test scores, training teachers, reinforcing school curricula, and teaching positive life skills, job skills, creative problem-solving, and high quality visual art techniques. The Art Center offers three innovative community outreach programs throughout the year, namely Visual Learners: Curriculum-Based Art in the Schools, serving teachers and students at Douglas Community Academy, Doolittle Elementary, Armour Elementary, and Kenwood Academy High School; Partners in Art: Artists Mentoring Teens, Teens Mentoring Youth, an after-school leadership program in the arts serving teens and children at Chicago Park District sites on Chicago’s South and West sides including Englewood, Lawndale, New City, and Armour Square; and General Community Outreach, where the Art Center develops custom art programs with over 25 agencies, schools, and organizations, providing hands-on visual art experiences led by professional artists. The sessions vary from single workshops to on-going programs in which students and artists work together.
The Hyde Park Art Center is a not-for-profit organization that presents innovative exhibitions, primarily work by Chicago-area artists, and educational programs in the visual arts for children and adults of diverse backgrounds. The Center is funded in part by the Alphawood Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; a City Arts III grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council; The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Leo S. Guthman Fund; The Irving Harris Foundation; The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Joyce Foundation; The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation; The MacArthur Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Orbit Fund; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Clinton Family Fund; South East Chicago Commission; The Wallace Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the generosity of its members and friends.