Fine Arts Building (Chicago)
|Location||410–418 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois|
|NRHP reference No.||75000653|
|Added to NRHP||August 11, 1975|
|Designated CL||June 7, 1978|
The ten-story Fine Arts Building, also known as the Studebaker Building, is located at 410 S Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park in Chicago in the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. It was built for the Studebaker company in 1884–5 by Solon Spencer Beman, and extensively remodeled in 1898, when Beman removed the building's eighth (then the top) story and added three new stories, extending the building to its current height. Studebaker constructed the building as a carriage sales and service operation with manufacturing on upper floors. The two granite columns at the main entrance, 3 feet 8 inches (1.12 m) in diameter and 12 feet 10 inches (3.91 m) high, were said to be the largest polished monolithic shafts in the country. The interior features Art Nouveau motifs and murals by artists such as Martha Susan Baker, Frederic Clay Bartlett, Oliver Dennett Grover, Frank Xavier Leyendecker, and Bertha Sophia Menzler-Peyton dating from the 1898 renovation. In the early 20th century, the Kalo Shop and Wilro Shop, firms owned by women and specializing in Arts and Crafts items, were established in the Fine Arts Building.
Currently, true to its name, it houses artists' lofts, art galleries, theatre, dance and recording studios, interior and web design firms, musical instrument makers, and other businesses associated with the arts. It also holds offices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Grant Park Conservancy, the World Federalist Association, and the Chicago Youth Symphony, and the venerable Artists Cafe. The Fine Arts Building was designated a Chicago Landmark on June 7, 1978.
The Studebaker Building houses the Studebaker Theatre, also known as Studebaker Hall, dedicated in 1898. It was the site of David Bispham's 1901 recital exclusively featuring the songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Paul Whiteman and his orchestra gave the first public performance of Grand Canyon Suite here on November 22, 1931. The venue also hosted some of the earliest live television shows including DuMont Television Network's Cavalcade of Stars hosted by comedian Jack Carter.
In the 1970s the theater was partitioned into a multiplex movie theater. Renovations to return to live theater were begun in 2015, and the theater was reopened in 2016, with a 740 seating capacity.
The Studebaker Theatre was the location of the world premiere of A&A BALLET’s "The Art Deco Nutcracker." Called "A glossy rendition filled with "gorgeous, glitzy costumes" and an "impressive cast" (The Chicago Tribune), the brand-new version of the holiday performance choreographed by Alexei Kremnev opened on December 1, 2017 with a great success.
Chicago Little Theatre
From 1912 to 1917, the Fine Arts Building housed the Chicago Little Theatre, an art theater credited with beginning the Little Theatre Movement in the United States. Not being able to afford rental on the building's 500-seat auditorium, co-producers Maurice Browne and Ellen Van Volkenburg rented a large storage space on the fourth floor at the back and built it out into a 91-seat house.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
- Schulze, Franz & Harrington, Kevin (2003). Chicago's Famous Buildings (5th ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-74066-8.
- See building No.3 on illustration Looking West from Michigan Boulevard
- Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor 1904 p 1603.
- "Fine Arts Building". Fine Arts Building. Retrieved 2007-05-18.
- Kogan, Rick (5 April 2018). "A solo Johnny Carson, matchmaking pie and other tales from the Artists Cafe in the Fine Arts Building". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "Fine Arts Building". City of Chicago. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-05-18.
- Chris Jones, "Historic Studebaker gets another moment in the spotlight" in Chicago Tribune, 2008 August 11 (accessed 2009 August 19).
- Library of Congress Jacobs-Bond site.
- "About". Studebaker Theater. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- Lauren Warnecke,  in Chicago Tribune, 2017 December 12 (accessed 2018 February 8).
- Browne, Maurice. Too Late to Lament: An Autobiography. London, Gollancz, 1955; p 120.
- Media related to Fine Arts Building (Chicago) at Wikimedia Commons
- Fine Arts Building
- After the Final Curtain (Pre-renovation photographs of the Studebaker Theatre
- Studebaker Theater