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Hyde Park Art Center’s ‘Art Makes’ Capital Campaign Raises $17 Million

Hyde Park Art Center, the renowned non-profit hub for contemporary art located on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, has completed its ART MAKES: COMMUNITY + CHANGE capital campaign – the largest in its 83-year-history – raising $17 million and surpassing an ambitious original goal of $16 million. The announcement was made by the Art Center Board of Directors, acknowledging great appreciation for generous recent $1 million+ gifts made by The Clinton Family Fund and Cari and Michael J. Sacks, in addition to original lead gifts from the Builders Initiative, Guida Family Foundation, and David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation.

As previously announced, the Art Center Board initiated the ART MAKES capital campaign in 2018 to secure an open tuition education model, establish an endowment, and increase funding for arts education access and artist investment. Having successfully completed this campaign, effective with the upcoming Spring 2022 class session, the Art Center will officially shift to a new Open Arts contribute-what-you-can model in its Oakman Clinton School and Studios, making it the nation’s first open-tuition visual art school for all ages.

Via Open Arts, all of the Art Center’s core curriculum classes will now be offered without a set tuition price, and all participants will be asked to contribute how they can, at whatever level they are able, so as to provide students from all economic backgrounds the means to participate, create, and benefit from the dynamic learning environment and community at the Art Center.

Registration for Spring 2022 classes is now open via for the term beginning March 28. An official public program celebrating the campaign completion and launch of Open Arts is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, as part of the Art Center’s popular Center Days quarterly free programming. More information on the April 23 event will be announced shortly.

The ART MAKES campaign was co-chaired by Cynthia Heusing, Shirley & Walter Massey, and Richard Wright. In addition, to lead gifts, 25 percent of the total funds were committed by the Art Center’s Board of Directors, with further financial support received from local and national foundation and corporate grants, and gifts from dozens of donors from around Chicago and the Art Center’s own South Side neighborhood.

“It’s been wonderful seeing the ART MAKES campaign gain terrific momentum with several large commitments being made in the second half of 2021 and early 2022. Hyde Park Art Center is playing a unique role supporting artists and access in its neighborhood, across the South Side, and across the city. Shirley and I have been proud to be a part of this groundbreaking work and gratified to see others join us in supporting this phenomenal institution,” said Walter Massey.

Added Kate Lorenz, Hyde Park Art Center’s Executive Director, “With all the challenges that COVID forced on Chicago communities, we have created a financial model that welcomes all people, regardless of ability to pay, while upgrading top-quality arts programming for years to come.”

As previously announced, the infusion of capital will allow Hyde Park Art Center to increase access to art for all and increase investment in artists. In addition, monies raised through ART MAKES will be dedicated to investing in the Art Center’s ongoing Pathways K-8 Programs delivering broader access to visual arts for some 700 K–8 students in its neighboring communities—Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Washington Park, and Woodlawn – along with supporting more than 150 teen and young adult artists through its arts and professional training, both for high school and post-high school (18-25- year-old) youth.


Elaine Hegwood Bowen

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago ( or email: [email protected].

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