Hyde Park Art Center Raises $17 Million
Hyde Park Art Center, the nonprofit hub for contemporary art, completed its “Art Makes: Community + Change” capital campaign, the largest in its eighty-three-year-history, raising $17 million and surpassing the original goal of $16 million. The announcement was made by the Art Center Board of Directors, acknowledging appreciation for recent million-dollar-plus 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. More here.
Gallery 400 Presents “The *Crip Colloquium”
“The Crip* Colloquium,” co-presented by Gallery 400 and UIC’s Disability Cultural Center March 4-5, is “a gathering of artists, scholars and students to explore questions raised by the works on view in the ‘Crip*’ exhibition. Over two days, these talks, workshops, conversations and experiments will critically engage the generative complexities of disability experience, media, accessibility practices, and relationships to the normative.” Register for the virtual events here.
Mies van der Rohe’s Forgotten Frat House Resurrected
More than seventy years after its commission, a Mies van der Rohe architectural design has been completed, reports Hyperallergic. “Indiana University opened its Mies van der Rohe building to students, faculty, and the public. The new campus landmark will provide lecture, workshop, and student collaboration spaces, as well as administrative offices for the university’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. Under construction since June 2020, the building was funded through a $20 million gift from Sidney and Lois Eskenazi. Mies’s elegant design at IU was originally supposed to be a frat house. In the early 1950s, two Indianapolis businessmen commissioned the architect to design a residence for the Alpha Theta chapter of Pi Lambda Phi… The fraternity wasn’t able to raise enough money for the project, and it was abandoned. In 1985, a former fraternity president died, and his widow discovered Mies’s blueprints for the building among her late husband’s effects. She passed these along to a former fraternity treasurer, who then donated the plans to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Retrofits 1930s Warner Grand Theater For Sound
“Once a lavish cinema owned by Warner Brothers studio, the Warner Grand Theater in Milwaukee has been transformed into an acoustic paradise for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,” reports Fast Company. “The four-year-long renovation involved moving a 625-ton, eighty-five-foot-tall wall into the street to make room for a larger stage, and introducing a [range] of hidden acoustical features to make the space sound as good as it looks. The revived building, complete with a 1,750-seat hall, reopened with an inaugural performance in the fall of 2021, proving once again that old buildings can be fine-tuned for the twenty-first century… The Warner Grand Theater building was originally designed for film screenings, not live performances, so the depth of the stage had to be expanded from eighteen feet to fifty-three feet. But instead of carving out space from the seating—which would have interfered with sightlines and reduced seating—the architects extended the stage by moving the theater’s rear terracotta wall thirty-five feet into the street. The move, which occurred over the course of six hours, helped preserve the historic fabric of the east facade, and earned the building $18 million in state and federal historic tax credits.”
Former Sears Landlord Seritage Considers Sale
“Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that emerged from the Sears bankruptcy, is exploring strategic alternatives including a sale of the company,” reports Bloomberg. “New York-based Seritage, which owns property from Alaska to Florida, is working with the investment bank Barclays Plc on the plans. Seritage is open to a full sale of the company or piecemeal disposal of assets…The company has terminated its leases connected to Sears and said in a press release last year that, as of March 2021, it has no remaining exposure to Sears or Kmart. Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Its portfolio has interests in 170 properties comprised of approximately ten million square feet of gross leasable area, a filing showed.”
DINING & DRINKING
Goddess And Grocer’s Fifth Location Is In West Loop
The Goddess and Grocer opens its fifth location today, in Fulton Market at 911 West Randolph. “I am excited to open in Fulton Market as that is where I live now, and a two-block walk to work is a dream,” Debbie Sharpe, the owner of the Goddess and Grocer says in a release. “When I lived in Bucktown, I opened the first Goddess there because I wanted a neighborhood place, and now that the Fulton Market is my neighborhood, I had no choice!” The airy space features floor-to-ceiling windows, a twenty-four-foot salad bar, counter seating overlooking the sidewalk and mural artwork from Lucy Howarth. A patio space will include sidewalk and street seating for sixty. The menu includes made-to-order breakfasts, sandwiches and daily specials. The prepared food case will contain a seasonal menu. Goddess Fulton Market’s retail store is double the size of the previous locations and will also include hard-to-find artisanal products, local and women-owned brands, and a sizable global wine selection that includes unique organic and sustainable wines. More here.
How Black-Owned Muse Coffee Studio Weathered The Pandemic So Far
“On Western Avenue near Polk Street sits Muse Coffee Studio, where George Davis Jr. is pouring up lavender lattes and much more,” reports WGN-TV. “You come in for the coffee and you stay for the experience,” Davis Jr. tells the station. “Muse opened in the middle of the pandemic’s uncertainty, a time that has proven to be especially detrimental to Black-owned businesses, which saw a forty-one-percent decline at the start of the pandemic.” Davis Jr. says, “The biggest thing that I wish for Muse is that we can continue to grow in a way that allows for more partnerships, more collaboration, more opportunity to engage with the community both locally and beyond in a way that continues to inspire people to do great things.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Joe Swanberg Launches Streaming
Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg has launched a streaming platform for the portion of his back catalog that he owns, increasing the offerings when he reclaims rights from distributors (he will get “Hannah Takes The Stairs” back from IFC later this year). “This will begin a slow drip of most of my rights reverting back to me over the next decade,” he relays. The site will spotlight other filmmakers as well, starting with six features for rental and streaming from underappreciated local filmmaker Frank V. Ross. “I intend to have fun with it in other ways, and produce original content exclusively for the site, which will be available globally (many of these films have never received a release outside of the U.S. and English-speaking territories). This will not be a huge, catch-all thing, but more akin to a restaurant with a small menu, focused on quality, not quantity.” Swanberg will also release small runs on VHS, including fifty copies of Gillian Wallace Horvat’s “I Blame Society” on March 25, and in May, a run of fourteen VHS copies of Dan Sallitt’s “Fourteen” as well as Swanberg’s new feature, “Build The Wall.” The site is here.
“60 Minutes” Dissects Tribune Owner Alden Global Media
“60 Minutes” devotes twenty minutes to the crisis in American journalism and zeroes in on Alden Global Capital. “This secretive hedge fund — their website shows a single photo — started building its print empire over the last decade and now owns more than 200 newspapers, making it the country’s second largest newspaper owner behind Gannett,” they report. “Alden’s rapid takeover and cuts have alarmed U.S. lawmakers. In 2019, twenty-one senators wrote to Heath Freeman asking him to abandon his ‘newspaper-killing business model.’ Freeman, though, has doubled down. Last year Alden made a play for Tribune Publishing, home to historic papers like the Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune.” Journalist David Jackson reflects on their m.o.: “Well, Alden has sort of a playbook of going into a distressed newsroom and selling off the real estate and property, equipment, things like that. And second of all, diminishing the resources that the reporters have… These are executives from a hedge fund who live in a very wealthy lifestyle. They’re not taking the profits and using them to build the Tribune.” “60 Minutes”: “Leaked company financials show in 2017 Alden built in profit margins as high as 30% at certain papers– more than double industry standard. In recent filings the New York Times company reported 10% profit margins.” To David Jackson: “What’s your response to someone who’d say, ‘Look, this is capitalism’?” Jackson: “We’ve always been aware that we’re doing journalism in a capitalist democracy. And we’ve always embraced that. But we felt that Alden didn’t recognize the civic trust that’s embedded in this profit-making machine.” The segment and transcript is here.
Journalist Danny Fenster Tells Lesley Stahl About Life Inside Myanmar’s Notorious Insein Prison
“60 Minutes”‘ second Sunday segment was on the imprisonment of Columbia College-trained journalist Danny Fenster by the Myanmar military dictatorship. “The prison has a distinct wagon wheel shape that… was designed to allow one guard to watch inmates who never knew when they were being monitored. Aung San Suu Kyi was among those prisoners in 2003 and 2009. Fenster would go on to spend nearly six months there… He was kept in a seven-by-nine-foot concrete cell, which was brightly lit around the clock. He slept on a wooden pallet… He waited on the secret notes his wife would write in the food packages she sent every two weeks. Fenster also figured out a way to sneak notes back to his wife. He told Stahl he wrote small notes and wrapped them around the drawstring of his pants. He tied the notes with a piece of dental floss, then shimmied the drawstring back into the waistband. He would wear the pants to his court appearances, where he would slowly retrieve the note from his waistband, then slip it into someone’s hand to give to his wife.” The segment is here.
Nick Blumberg Promoted To On-Air And Digital Reporter For Chicago Tonight, WTTW News
WTTW has promoted Nick Blumberg to on-air and digital reporter for WTTW’s news and public affairs program, “Chicago Tonight” and WTTW News. Blumberg will cover enterprise, investigative, and general-assignment news and features, and will report on the region’s diverse communities and neighborhoods across television and digital. Blumberg will support the organization’s purpose to enrich lives, engage communities, and inspire exploration. “Nick is a skilled, dogged journalist focused on reporting essential, independent news and information about our city and region,” Jay Smith, news director for Chicago Tonight and WTTW News says in a release. “We are looking forward to his expanded presence on our air as he puts his experience and steadfast commitment to fact-based journalism to work.”
Lyric Announces Matthew Ozawa As Chief Artistic Administration Officer
Matthew Ozawa will join the Lyric Opera in a newly created senior position: chief artistic administration officer. Ozawa returns to Lyric, having served as Interim Head of Lyric Unlimited, the company’s learning and creative engagement division, and through his artistic roles with the company as director and associate director. Ozawa will have oversight of departments including casting and artistic planning, music administration, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and Lyric’s company management department. He will join Lyric’s executive leadership team and participate in formulating and implementing strategies for the company. Lyric link here.
ARTS & CULTURE
What Businesses Will Maintain Masks?
The Sun-Times surveys establishments that will maintain masking standards. “’We are going to go with the city guidelines because we’ve trusted the experts, and if they say it is OK, we just have to trust that,’ said a restaurant owner who’s planning to drop all restrictions. ‘It’s hard to say what is normal anymore these days, but I hope this is a step in that direction… Last summer these restrictions were easing, and then we had the Delta variant, which was then followed by Omicron. So we plan on taking it day by day and being ready to change quickly if we have to.” Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium are dropping masks, while the Field Museum still “strongly encourage[s]” protection. Among chain stores, Walgreens has not yet made a choice. (Rapid tests for home use are still available for free from the federal government here.)
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