JEFFERSON PARK – A famous arts center in the Far Northwest, which was closed during the pandemic, will reopen next summer.
The Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave., reopens on June 22, 2023, said co-founder Lionel Rabb. The center, which launched in 2014 and is dedicated to renowned Chicago artist Ed Pashke, is relaunching on Pashke’s 84th birthday.
“He’s coming back,” Rab said. “We’re moving this to the front of the burner to try to open it up to the community.
Art Center Ed Paschke embodies Paschke’s role as an artist, teacher and mentor through a gallery exhibiting local talent and an artist residency program. The center’s educational resources for youth, adults, artists and academics have removed barriers to the art world and given artists platforms to present their work, its leaders say.
Rabb and his partner and co-founder Vesna Stelzer plan to renovate the 2,800-square-foot exhibition space, which will include a new gallery, more artist showcases and more educational space. Although the pandemic delayed the center’s plans, Rabb said they were working with the city to obtain the necessary permits.
Its reopening is part of the planned Northside Cultural Quarter, located in downtown Jefferson Park. The area will bring together The Chicago Art Center, The Ed Paschke Art Center and the National Veterans Art Museum, housed in a modern 35,000-square-foot cultural center under a “one-campus concept,” according to project designers John Ronan Architects.
The concept will build a rear addition to the Higgins Avenue facility and a three-story building is planned for 5374 W. Lawrence Ave., where a house was demolished in 2019 for a proposal for a nine-apartment apartment that never materialized.
The two museum buildings can be connected by a path above an alley that separates the two lots, according to the visualization of the project.
The new building is still in operation, but the founders of The Ed Paschke Art Center, who are also leaders in the Northside cultural district, want to open the original center first after a long hiatus.
“Let’s reopen the old one so we can see Ed’s things,” Rabb said.
The goal of the Northside Cultural Quarter is to create a unifying vision for the advancement of the arts, culture and access as “an important contribution to our community and economy,” its founders wrote in announcing the project last year.
“I am excited to partner with these organizations to help make art more
accessible to the people of our community, ”Old Jim Gardiner, 45, said in a press release. “By working together, we can continue to build
the artistic foundation that the Art Center Ed Paschke brought to Jefferson Park, while welcoming new expressions of art.
A change in zoning is needed to build the campus. In February last year, a zoning change was made to the city to add the back of the Higgins Avenue building.
A café, which is also included in the area’s arts plans, may open later this summer at Esdohr’s house, 4820 N. Long Ave., on the east side of Jefferson Memorial Park. Henry’s Cafe will serve snacks, including parties, baked goods, egg sandwiches. The operator, resident Ashley Romero, hopes to expand to lunch and cold drinks.
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