Thursday, March 02, 2017

Flights of Fancy: A Photographic Foray Through Chicago's Rather Illustrious Fine Arts Building

In my previous post, I reviewed a Chicago Opera Theater world premiere production of The Invention of Morel, which I saw in the beautifully refurbished Studebaker Theater within the Fine Arts Building.

Given my love of Chicago architecture, arts, history, theater and cinema, this was somewhat surprisingly my first venture inside the building at 410 S. Michigan, also known as the Studebaker Building, as it was built in 1885 to display and sell carriages made by the Studebaker Company.

After extensive remodeling in 1898, the building came to house many artist studios, instrument makers/sellers and other businesses pertaining to the fine arts. I mentioned "cinema" above as the building had housed the Fine Arts Theaters from 1982-2000, with all screens now removed in the spaces turned into the Studebaker Theater and the World Playhouse.

With at least one sheet music store and a bookstore open to the public, even on a Sunday afternoon, I was able to take the manned elevator to the building's top floor--where beautiful murals remain from the 19th century--and work my way down to the ground level, where one enters the Studebaker Theater.

I did not venture into any studios or offices, most of which were closed along with the intriguing L.H. Selman gallery of fine art paperweights.

Open studios are available for the public to peruse on the second Friday of each month, from 5:00pm-9:00pm, and I'm sure a deft photographer with the right permissions could create a rather compelling gallery of artists and students at work within the Fine Arts Building.

But simply from an art and architecture standpoint--including glorious carvings throughout--I was pretty dazzled with what I saw. And hence the collection of photos below.


All photos by Seth Arkin, copyright 2017. Please do not republish without permission and attribution. No infringement intended per any entities shown and their intellectual property.

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