Check this Out: Art in Hyde Park at the Hyde Park Art Center

Located in a recently updated location on 51st and Cornell, the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) provides a cultural center for the Hyde Park community. It has been in existence since 1939 and remains the oldest alternative art space in the city exhibiting art work as well as holding classes, several exhibitions, panel discussions, and monthly social and family events.

The Public Relations & Events Manager at the Center, Colleen Coyne writes to tell MAPHers about the Center, what goes on there, and how you can get involved with events:

About the HPAC:

Our mission since our founding in 1939 has been to stimulate and sustain the visual arts in Chicago. We do this by presenting innovative, experimental work by Chicago-based artists, both emerging and established. We challenge artists to think differently about their practice. Not only are we a nationally-recognized institution (recently profiled in Art in America) with a renowned exhibitions program, we also serve the community in which we are located. We want to be accessible to all regardless of economic status, and we strive to make contemporary art relevant to people’s lives. The Center itself is a welcoming, inclusive environment where people from all walks of life can interact and hopefully learn from each other. We encourage creative collaboration among artists, students, organizations, kids, families, teachers, and anyone who is open to new ideas. As a resource for the community, we offer space free of charge to local nonprofit organizations, and we host a number of events that seek to educate the public on issues in contemporary art and community-building.

All of the Hyde Park Art Center’s exhibitions are free – visitors can stop by any time we’re open to explore the shows. We have 6+ gallery spaces, all of which have new shows every 4-10 weeks. We also have studio art classes (among the most reasonably priced in the city) in many artistic mediums, including ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, silkscreening, photography, jewelry-making, metalsmithing, collage, multi-media, and more. Classes run 10 weeks, but we also have a number of half-sessions available for some classes, as well as some short courses (1, 2, or 3 weeks).

Events at the HPAC:

We have a number of regular monthly events, including Cocktails & Clay, Art Thing, TalkingPoint, Second Sundays, and others. Cocktails & Clay is probably the most appealing to grad students – on the 2nd Friday of every month, we keep the Art Center open late (8pm-midnight) with DJs, dancing, a cash bar, and hour-long sessions in the ceramics studio for people to be creative with clay. Our teaching artists lead the clay sessions, and everyone from beginners to experienced potters are welcome. We also sometimes have additional programming, like a dance performance or live music, during Cocktails & Clay. This event has a suggested donation of $15, but we want everyone to be able to participate, so we just ask people to give what they can (we all remember our days as students and the lack of cash during that time). Art Thing is a new event, billed as a way to learn about contemporary art in a relaxed setting – it features a talk by an artist or artists in one of our current shows as well as wine and cheese. TalkingPoint is geared toward practicing artists and encourages conversation and discussion, and Second Sundays is our family day.



One major event coming up this month is Just Good Art, our annual exhibition-turned-live benefit auction. Featuring new work by over 125 Chicago artists, Just Good Art is for seasoned collectors as well as people just interested in contemporary art, with some work starting as low as $25.00. Tickets are $35 for the general public ($30 for members), but this is also a really fun volunteer opportunity, and volunteers get in free and can bid if they choose! Find out more at

How to Get Involved:


Check our website for all our upcoming events: If you want to join our mailing list, send an email to with your name and address and/or email address. We send out a weekly email with the highlighted events and exhibitions of each week. If you’d like to volunteer, go to and fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire; send the completed questionnaire with your resume to Colleen Coyne at We need volunteers for a variety of things, including staffing special events, representing HPAC at community fairs and festivals, helping with exhibition installation/deinstallation, and administrative tasks. Volunteers can work off their studio class tuition at $5/hour.

Information About Internships and Jobs at the HPAC:


If you’re interested in an internship at the Hyde Park Art Center, the best thing to do is visit to read about the different jobs, then contact the staff person associate with each internship directly. You can ask that person questions or just send a cover letter and resume. We have no specific deadlines and often have some flexibility with how many interns we can accommodate in each department, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to ask! For full- and part-time job (which are rare, but as the Art Center grows, so will our staffing needs), visit


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