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University of Chicago, Washington Park Plan Collaborative ‘Arts Block’

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The project will include the Green Line Arts Center design by Johnston Marklee & Associates

The University of Chicago in partnership with the Washington Park community has announced plans to transform a stretch of historic East Garfield Boulevard into a future hub of creativity and community collaboration dubbed the "Arts Block." While the location is already home to the Currency Exchange Café and BING Art Books, the proposed construction of the new Green Line Arts Center will see the block solidify its position as a neighborhood arts incubator.

Winner of a competition hosted by the university in partnership with last year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial, LA-based Johnston Marklee & Associates will spearhead the design of the project. Current plans call for the replacement of run-down structure along 55th Street with a new modern building cleverly hidden behind the block’s original 1920s brick and terra-cotta facades facing Garfield Boulevard. The multi-disciplinary studio space will not only focus on the visual arts, but also performance and narrative arts thanks to its venues for film, theatre, and dance.

Still in the planning phase, the Green Line Arts Center is very much dependent on securing additional donor financing, reports UChicago News. As funds are secured, the school will work closely with the community to shape the center’s ultimate programming. The Arts Block is an important development and an encouraging sign for the Washington Park neighborhood. The south side community is also currently in competition with Hyde Park to host the long-announced Barrack Obama Presidential Center.