Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fare thee well, maidens... Three Arts Club building for sale

Three Arts Club architectual features above

Crain's and the Tribune both reported today on the Three Arts Club board of directors decision to sell their city landmarked building. The Three Arts Club located at 1300 N Dearborn Pkwy. in the Gold Coast Historic District, was the home to over 12,000 female artists throughout the years... an affordable boarding house that brought painters, writers, actors, poets and photographers together for classes, training and artistic freedom.

Real estate speculators (sound like someone you know?) figure the building will catch 4M to 10M depending on the Iron Fist treatment the buyer gets from the City's Landmarks Commission. If they treat it anything like the Wrigley Field fiasco, the lucky bidders may get to change the light bulbs if their lucky. Ha! But seriously, it's a prime location and the Three Arts could not come up with the scratch to rennovate the building and remain an affordable boarding house.

Why do I care? Well, it's a beautiful building... and living on the North Side you get a little teary eyed when a building may make way for a new red brick ugly. But that won't be the case in this instance due to protections.
Another reason is you hate to see any institution that brings creative women to Chicago stop bringing creative women to Chicago. The Board has announced it will issue grants from now on, so no more boarding house (and fantasies about women's boarding houses).

I once worked at a silent auction benefit at the Three Arts Club as a bartender/server with sponsors, The Four Moon Tavern. Besides hanging out with the owners of my favorite tavern, I figured I'd meet a few girls while there (I was single then and crashed the cafeteria). The facilities in the buiding were excellent for events and weddings for under 100 or so. The main banquet/party area featured an outdoor atrium that "centered" the main room and side rooms/ hallways. I remember that the Second City improv was the entertainment on stage.

Great night, a fond memory and I wish all the artists well. Tis a comic tradegy that the arts will fall to condos once again... I'm all for new condos, but we'll lose a unique institution and multi-use arts facility.

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