Archives of the South Side Community Art Center

Inclusive Dates: 
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

75 linear feet of material documenting activities at the South Side Community Art Center from the first meetings of the Sponsoring Committee in 1938 to the present day, including meeting minutes, correspondence, and event ephemera, files maintained by the former and current members of the Center’s Board of Directors, reminiscences, photographs, exhibition programs, artist information files and consignment agreements, and miscellaneous clippings, serials, and subject files relating to specific artists, techniques, and the history of African American art more generally. The SSCAC archives are open by appointment only. Some items are too fragile to handle and have been replaced with a suitable researcher copy.

Biographical Historical Note

The South Side Community Art Center opened in 1940 and is one of the only surviving community art centers founded through New Deal’s Federal Art Project between 1937 and 1942. Throughout its history it has served Chicago’s African American artists through exhibitions, classes, and social events, nurturing not only visual artists but also poets and musicians. In its early years in particular, the SSCAC was an important setting for the creative flowering of Chicago’s so-called Black Renaissance.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Work[s] Progress Administration Federal Art Project Photograph Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago; Susan Cayton Woodson Papers, Frances Minor Papers, and Fern Gayden Papers, Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library.