Tuesday, June 27, 2006

3Arts Calls it Quits

In a press release, which follows in its entirety below, the 3Arts Club announces a major change in its mission.

    In 1912, thirty-five women from Chicago’s cultural and educational scene, as well as social reformer and educational activist Jane Addams—formed the first 3Arts Board of Directors and established its charter to support young women engaged in the study of music, theater, and visual arts. 3Arts first opened its doors in September of 1912 at 1614 North LaSalle and in 1915 moved into its current facility.
It is an important part of Chicago history and an important part of American history. It is very sad to see it shut its doors and abandon its plans to evolve into a new housing space for people in the arts. The building is to be sold and its future is uncertain. Will it be a landmark and preserved in someway? Will it be demolished? Or will it suffer the fate of so many others and become a dreaded condominium? It is discouraging to learn this about one of the city’s great architectural treasures. Funding just isn’t what it used to be apparently. The Jane Adams Hull House also recently canceled its art & culture program, for example (INFO). It is not all bleak, though. Hull House continues to help the arts in other ways. And 3Arts is to become a grantmaking foundation with the proceeds from the sale.

Recently 3Arts hosted a series of dual exhibitions featuring an established artist and a younger, emerging talent. The program was curated by Annie Morse, and an Art or Idiocy? review of one of the shows can be found HERE (You have to scroll down a ways to February 16th. Oh come on, like that is a major inconvenience and a huge imposition.)

    3Arts to Establish a Grantmaking Foundation
    Contact: Lisa Soard

    The Board of Directors of The Three Arts Club of Chicago (3Arts) announced today that on June 8 the board voted unanimously to sell the 3Arts building at 1300 N. Dearborn and establish a grantmaking foundation with the proceeds from the sale.

    “We believe this will ensure a strong, mission-driven future for 3Arts,” said Cynthia West, president of the 3Arts Board of Directors. “This new direction will allow us to achieve our primary goal, which has always been to preserve the organization while updating our mission in such a way that we can have the most impact on and benefit to the arts in Chicago.”

    3Arts has worked closely with the city and state to explore every possible funding option to restore its deteriorating building to house an affordable artist community and public art center. This difficult decision was made after the organization learned that approximately $5.5 million of the anticipated public funds, which it had counted on to initiate the planned renovation and restoration, would not be forthcoming.

    “The gap in public financing was simply too great for 3Arts to bear,” said West. “As a mission-driven organization, 3Arts always has been committed to remaining open to all options. And, as board members, we had to be open to making whatever decisions, however difficult, to ensure the long-term viability of our organization.”

    The Legacy Project was launched in October 2005 to raise $24 million for the transformation, restoration and renovation of 3Arts’s historic building. In addition to the nearly $17 million projected to be secured through public financing, 3Arts also needed to raise $7 million through private philanthropy.

    “As a long-time funder of 3Arts and a member of the capital campaign committee, I understand what a tough decision this was and I think that nearly doubling an already challenging capital goal for an organization the size of 3Arts would not be feasible or responsible,” said Irene Phelps, president of The Siragusa Foundation.

    Esther Grimm, executive director of 3Arts said, “While this was a challenging journey, we are grateful to have garnered so much enthusiasm and support in the process -- most especially from our anchor partners, Sherwood Conservatory of Music and Timeline Theatre Company. We are committed to working with these partners in the coming years, and are very fortunate to be able to make the transition to a new and important future.”

    As a grantmaking foundation, 3Arts’s goal will be to support young women studying the arts, as well as programs in music, theater and visual arts. The foundation will have a broader reach within the arts community extending far past its current Gold Coast location and have an impact on diverse communities.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a tragic loss!

Also Annie Morse is my hero.