Hyde Park Art Center Raises $537K in 75th Anniversary Benefit

Hyde Park Art Center welcomed nearly 500 guests to its gala on Friday, November 21 to celebrate the nonprofit organization’s 75th anniversary and recognize Chicago arts leaders Ellen Alberding, Cheryl Lynn Bruce & Kerry James Marshall, Bette Cerf Hill & Bruce Sagan, Amy Rule and Chuck Thurow.

Luminaries from Chicago’s business, civic and cultural sectors filled Bridgeport Art Center’s Skyline Lofts for cocktails, dinner and dancing, raising $537,000 to support the Art Center’s programs, including groundbreaking exhibitions, international and local artist residencies, studio art classes for all ages and skill levels, professional development opportunities for artists and more. The annual gala helps the Art Center remain free and open to the public seven days a week for the 45,000 artists, collectors, families, students and youth who visit each year.

“The tremendous support we received from Chicago’s civic and arts leaders is humbling,” said executive director Kate Lorenz. “The fact that such an amazing group of individuals came together to support the Hyde Park Art Center is indicative of the role it has played over the course of 75 years.”

The gala began with a ride up an elevator lined in posters from some of Hyde Park Art Center’s historic exhibitions in the 1960s and 1970s. Upon arriving to Bridgeport Art Center’s 5th floor industrial event space, Skyline Lofts, guests enjoyed live music from Bumpus, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres around sculptures by current Jackman Goldwasser Resident Artist Susan Giles.  

During dinner, the Co-chairs welcomed guests and introduced the program for the evening. Lorenz and Chair of the Art Center’s Board of Directors Janis Kanter continued the remarks, praising each of the honorees for their contributions to the Chicago’s arts community. A video included testimonials from artists Juan Angel Chavez and Susan Giles as well as local Hyde Park-area students and their parents, marked the evening with an emotional portrait of the organization as an incubator and platform for artists of all ages at all levels of their career. Ruth Horwich (1920-2014), Honorary Chair and backbone of the Art Center for more than 40 years, was also remembered during the gala for her importance in Hyde Park and throughout Chicago.

Guests in attendance included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Michelle T. Boone, Sotheby’s Helyn Goldenberg, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois Ra Joy,  EXPO CHICAGO President and Director Tony Karman and his wife Sondra, along with a host of cultural and civic leaders in Chicago.

Artists Daniel Baird and Alex Chitty dance at Hyde Park Art Center's 75th Anniversary Gala  November 21st at Bridgeport Art Center's Skyline Lofts (photo courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center).