Promoting Black Artists: The South Side Community Art Center of Chicago

Photo: The South Side Community Art Center

The South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) has provided entry to the arts for thousands by supporting Chicago’s African American artists since 1941.


The South Side Community Art Center was purchased by a private committee spearheaded by the African American businessman Golden B. Darby. Garnering the financial support of the U.S. federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), the art center was formally dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in May, 1941. It officially opened its doors in December, 1941.

The SSCAC was founded to meet the community need to encourage the development of fine arts. It became an institution where African American artists could develop and display their works and train Black youth in the arts. Filmmaker and photographer Gordon Parks; artists Margaret Burroughs, Archibald J. Motley, Charles White, and Eldzier Cortor; poet Gwendolyn Brooks, and writer Richard Wright, all honed their crafts at this institution.

Photo: The late fine artist Charles H. White (1918-1979)

Photo: The late poet and writer Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

The South Side Community Art Center is located at 3831 S. Michigan Avenue, the former mansion of White Sox owner Charles Comisky. It hosts writer's workshops and classes in painting, drawing, photography, and pottery.

Encourage Community Arts

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