This Old Hall | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


After four decades and six rental locations, starting with a one-room icehouse, Highland Park's Suburban Fine Arts Center finally has a home worthy of its aspirations. Two years ago, when the local American Legion Hall was slated to be torn down to make way for a bank, arts center supporters floated a petition asking the city to save it while they put together a capital campaign. Last month SFAC moved into the 1950 brick structure, which is set at an imposing angle on a downtown corner of Sheridan Road. A gut rehab designed by Booth Hansen Associates, the 14,000 square feet on the main and lower levels have been neatly reconfigured as galleries, meeting rooms, classrooms, and studios. At a cost of $2.3 million SFAC got a facility that--compared to its previous digs--is grand but welcoming. The six broad steps, glass and steel entry, and high-ceilinged, symmetrical layout remind me a bit of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art--the important difference being that this building works on a human level. This weekend SFAC hosts its annual Recycled Art Sale, a flea market of donations collected throughout the year. The inventory includes a vintage cigar box collection, a china shoe dwarfed by its baroque frame, a pair of Chicago imagist-inspired oil paintings by Mexico-based artist Barry Wolfryd, dozens of throwaway prints in nice frames, and a few idiosyncratic masterpieces by unsung geniuses. Everything's a bargain and proceeds benefit the arts center. There's a $35 admission charge for the preview, which starts at 6:30 on Friday, July 25, and includes music, food, wine, and an auction conducted by playwright and actor Donna Blue Lachman as Peggy Guggenheim. The sale continues through August 23 at 1957 Sheridan in Highland Park, and it's free to browse. Hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday; call 847-432-1888 for more information.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →