Since its inception in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center has grown from a small collective of quirky artists to establishing a strong legacy of innovative development and emerging as a unique Chicago arts institution with social impact. The Art Center’s first executive director, noted painter Harold Hayden, established the tone when he declared:

"Art should be found where people work and live."


1939 – The Fifth Ward Art Guild aka Hyde Park Art Center is founded by artist volunteers

1940 – The Guild officially changes it name to Hyde Park Art Center

1957 – “Knowing that the Art Center existed as part of the whole scene just contributed to the belief that the arts were a normal and fundamental part of life.” – Bruce Thorn

1968 – The Art Center exhibits Non-Plussed Some ushering in a new wave of Chicago Imagists and builds a bridge for future Imagist creations

1969 – 30 by 30 by 30 is the Art Center’s 30 year celebration show

1970 – “the most interesting Chicago art is most often seen at Hyde Park Art Center” – Franz Schulze

1973 – More classes are added for youth and adults Monday through Friday

1984 – The Art Center begins its first Outreach program eventually extending to parks, community centers, retirement homes and schools on the South and West Side

1994 – The Art Center celebrates it’s 55th Anniversary

1995 – Not Just Another Pretty Face becomes an Art Center tradition, matching artists with patrons, revealing commissioned work in a community setting

1998 – Cited by the Clinton Administration as one of 16 nonprofit organizations that could be used as a model for working with vulnerable youth

2006 – The Art Center moves in at 5020 S Cornell Ave, the first free-standing home the art Center has had in its history.

2014 – The Art Center celebrates it’s 75th Anniversary

2015 – Opening of the Guida Family Creative Wing.

2016 – Hyde Park Art Center is recognized with the MacArthur Creative and Effective Institutions Award

2019- Hyde Park Art Center Celebrates its 80th Anniversary.