Chicago oldest and most historic artists' building

Chicago oldest and most historic artists' building

My tap company has undergone a very large and very cool upgrade: the Chicago Human Rhythm Project finally has its own space in the famous and historic Fine Arts Building. The space is going to be called the American Rhythm Center, and it’s so pretty! I won’t bore you with all of the details of why it’s awesome – I can’t wait to tap on the amazing floors – but I will tell you that being in the Fine Arts Building is a huge deal.

If you haven’t ever been in there, I encourage you to stop in. It’s like stepping back in time. Aside from the fact that the inside is gorgeous and made of marble, the elevators of caged doors and elevator operators! It makes you feel very fancy. Being the giant nerd that I am, I had to look up the history of the building for my ‘Did You Know, Chicago?’ feature. Feast your eyes on the information below.

The Fine Arts Building was built in 1884. Originally known as the Studebaker Building, it was a carriage assembly and showroom. But after a major renovation in 1898 it became the hub of the Chicago arts community.

The building is a registered historic landmark and a part of the historic Michigan Boulevard District. What’s the Michigan Boulevard District? It’s a stretch of south Michigan Avenue that runs from Roosevelt to Randolph that contains numerous historic buildings facing Grant Park. It’s called Michigan Boulevard rather than Michigan Avenue because before the Chicago Fire the street was a boulevard. It’s also the end of U.S. Route 66.

The Artist’s Cafe has been the cornerstone of the building since it opened in 1961. Such famous artists as Baryshnikov, Blythe Danner and Studs Terkel have dined there.

It’s one of the few buildings left that was specifically designed for working artists. It’s filled with musicians, dancers, performance instructors, singers, galleries, instrument sale and repair shops and various visual artists.


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