South Shore Cultural Center and Advisory Council

This page is brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Parks Committee and HPKCC's website,, and is NOT a website of the Advisory Council at South Shore Cultural Center, or of the Cultural Center. Contact the HPKCC Parks Committee Chair.
Written by Gary Ossewaarde. Officers

We want to be open and to the degree possible "interactive"-- contact Gary with your views and ideas.

South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago Park District photograph
Chicago Park District photo
Park Indexes: This page. South Shore pages.


To the Advisory Council's official site, in FACEBOOK:
Please "like" them.

7059 South Shore Drive on Chicago's South Lakefront. Phone number: 773 256-0149. General public hours: 9 am-6 pm, Sat. to 5, (closes at 11).
Reservations: 773 256-0159. Security/service desk 773 256-0151. (Do NOT call re reservations or the Advisory Council or Center Director. For more info Call Park Services at 312 742-5369. Be aware the center is heavily booked at times (esp. weekends and May-June and sometimes into future years, and be patient with phone requests.
Next Advisory Council meeting Saturday, September 13, 10:30 am in the Oak Room.

TO NEXT CONCERTS August 14-15 Ch Shakespeare Th "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Aug. 24 CMA "Fantasie Negre" w Met baritone Mark Rucker and award-winning composer-pianist Charles Smith
In the Fine Arts Gallery: Contemporary Nigeria Chicago. (In November Creative Artists Association.) Do not miss the separate Margaret T. Burroughs art, memorabilia, and history gallery- if it's not open when you visit, ask staff.

Parrot Cage restaurant info. A high class restaurant of the Washburne Culinary Institute of City Colleges of Chicago with a training kitchen on site. Ask about discounts and groups.
773 602-5333, 773-363-1903. Now serving dinner Thurs-Sat, brunch select Sundays. (their website sched. and reservation is out of date. Closed until July 17- find them at Taste of Chicago.

Visit lineup of concerts, events. More here

Advisory Council & Meeting and Council contacts.

Phone numbers: General 773 256-0149, Center Director Andrea Adams. Head Attendant 773 256-0941. Programs- 773 256-9048, fax 773 256-1163.
Reservations and bookings- Special Events at Chicago Park District- 773 256-0959.

Staff: SSCC is in the South Region, Manager Daphne Johnson; Area Manager Cordell Hopkins. Andrea Adams, Center Director.


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In this page

South Shore Cultural Center sub pages:

Concerts and events
About SSCC
Timeline (with early Country Club photographs and sketches)
History of SS Country Club and Cultural Center (and links to other historical websites)
Landmark designation- Recommendation and criteria study for. (approved May 2004)
Photo Gallery

Other relevant material: South Lakefront Access Study updates

South Shore Cultural Center Gatehouse and exterior of stables. Gary Ossewaarde 05
South Shore Cultural Center from across teh front formal garden. Gary Ossewaarde 05

Left, center, and below by Gary Ossewaarde. Right from Chicago Park District-Framework Plan for Jackson, SSC Center Parks.
Below: by Mary Rose Shaughnessy: clubhouse entry as set up for 'Real Men Cook' festival June 19, 2005- lines stretched all the way to the gatehouse.

South Shore Cultural Center and Garden 2. Gary Ossewaarde 2005

Details in SSCC Timeline,
About South Shore Cultural Center, and South Shore CC Landmark Criteria.

South Shore Cultural Center was originally South Shore Country Club. The clubhouse and its 58 acre site was rescued in the 1970's from the wrecking ball, bought by the Chicago Park District in 1975 for $10 million, and eventually restored as a historic landmark and reprogrammed after a massive community and citywide outpouring leading to a determined Coalition (1977) and a unique 3-way agreement between government agencies and the local organization. The successor to the Coalition to Save South Shore Country Club has since c1985 been the Advisory Council-SSCC. The Council largely started the arts programs in response to clear and continuing community determination (demonstrated in earlier wildly successful festivals and concerts) that the Center is to be a people's palace for arts and arts partnerships. The building was placed on the National Register in 1975 and became a Chicago Landmark in 2004. Top
More in History and Timeline.

Kenwood student Amy Lewis in 2013 created a web site on the saving of the Country Club as a community spark for her Chicago Metro History Fair project - and was a winner at city and state levels and presented at the National History Day at the University of Maryland. Access this website at (May be moved to a dedicated website.)

Advisory Council- general

To do now:

Work toward upgrades to theater lighting and audio and other improvements in Robeson Theater and outdoor theater

Other work in the building enhancing ability to host public and other events within historic prescriptions
Optimize programming and partnerships including innovative programs while maintaining a fully-staffed set of PD programs
Strengthen promotion and publicity of the Center and its activities making sure public programs have their place
Strengthen and grow the council, its committees and activities, and community connections including through fundraising,

Pursue ways that proposals for mega-enhancements on the South Side (especially an Obama Library and development of Lakeside (former South Works) can be used to enhance the Center and surroundings and not strand or exacerbate problems such as physical access/traffic or leave Center needs continually unaddressed.

The biggest ongoing challenges over the past few years, boldly embraced have been:

  1. Position SSCC as a prime special use destination facility--above all for cultural events such as concerts--in the Park District and South Side, ready to serve a major support role for growing Chicago, the South Side, and South Shore.
  2. Provide good and safe access for this increasingly busy center; manage parking, entrance/traffic and other challenges to use of the Center.
  3. Seriously enhance and build out first the performance areas and equipage and the subsidiary rental and event spaces, and in the future the remainder of the unused upper floors for cultural programs and partner space as part of a whole-building rehabilitation master plan.
  4. Refurbish the envelope and infrastructure - Make sure funds for rehab including exterior are spent wisely and more is found or allocated if necessary.
  5. Momentum: maintain and increase the level of concerts, programming, partnerships and marketing: HAVE IT IN USE despite financial limits. Programs include public, classes, and kids'. Nature Center programming is a potential addition.
  6. Publicity, outreach, and growth- that of both the Center and the Advisory Council
  7. Continue to build synergies with the Washburne Culinary Institute and its Parrot Cage Restaurant.
  8. Grow and keep a strong, stable staff, including resources from Residency and other partnerships.

    Won't you join the Advisory Council and its committees, activities and programs?
    Dues are $20 regular, $10 senior, $30 groups/businesses. Send your check
    made out South Shore Cultural Center Advisory Council, with your contacts (and interests if desidrd) Attn Treasurer, Advisory Council South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, 60649.

We are pleased to announce that the Center was included in Progress Illinois capital program- $2,498.300 for exterior and interior rehabilitations at South Shore Cultural Center. Final plans and "cuts" are being made by the Park District as of summer 2014. Work includes outdoor theater, colonnade, masonry, windows and doors, and the north elevator.

We are also pleased to announce a bequest to the Center in the range of $100,000 from the Nat and Polly Silberman estate. This bequest funded a wonderful garden (named for Polly Silberman and Polly Scheiner) southwest of the main entry, by the Robeson Theater, and a spectacular set of choral risers. (Thank you to the Silbermans, and the Hennings and other members of the Landscape and Gardening Committee.)

Our principal working committees are Building & Grounds-Landscape including Planning and Capital, Arts and Programs including Performing Arts; Development/Fundraising, Membership, and Website & Social Media

To help maintenance in the building and pergola/grounds, over 500 hours are volunteered yearly by council committees particularly Landscape-Building and Grounds in creating and tending spectacular plantings in and around the building and making glorious Christmas wreaths (extra of which are for sale). A major fundraiser is the Geranium Sale, 3rd Saturday in May.

We contribute regularly to physical needs and facilities. A special task of the Council and its Performing Arts is concert programming and upkeep of the Steinway concert grand piano. The Council has contributed park kids scholarships and purchased the screening of summer movies.

Don't miss the gorgeous Nature Area and preserve southeast of the Center bldg. - or catch it coming spring. (Questions? contact staff of the Department of Natural Resources at the Chicago Park District at 312 742-PLAY.

More about the Advisory Council.
Next mtg.

Officers/Executive Committee (2-year terms for April 2013-April 2015):
President: Edie Moore,
VP: Leslie Jackson
Secretary: Bobbie Greer,
Treas.: Marsha Davis,
At-large Chuk Okwuje

(Nature Sanctuary Steward: Karen Dorff- not a member of the council).

In Memoriam The Council reports that the following members, several active since the fight to save the Country Club and turn it into a cultural center, have passed in the pat few years:
Anna Anthony
Miriam G. Apter

Selma Stewart White
Polly Silberman
Sharon Murphy


The Council. Next mtg. (Normally 2nd Saturdays). Room is subject to change. (normally 2nd Saturdays at 10:30 am in the Oak Room.)
Next General Meeting Saturday September 13, 10:30 am in the Oak Room.

Paid members receive a monthly phone ("calling post") notification. There is an attendance requirement of being at a 2nd meeting after joining in order to vote, but there is no dues requirement for voting. To run for office, members must have attended a certain proportion of meetings over the previous year.
Dues are $20. $10 srs, $30 organization, Treasurer, Advisory Council-SSCC, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, 60649. 2014 dues are now due.

The South Shore Cultural Center Advisory Council continually revisits with the Park District the priorities that evolved out of the Master Plan for this Center. These priorities (aside from envelope etc. capital) include such projects as renovation of the Robeson Theater priority being lighting et al, the renovation of the Outdoor Theater, upgrade of other public area such as in th Dining Room, 2nd floor buildout as appropriate. The Advisory Council invites you to become active as we prioritize the recommendations and strategically begin the search for capital dollars.

The Council has an active landscape and garden committee, originally operating under the South Shore Open House Committee! Gardens were laid out with staff. Part of the support comes from the committee's May Geranium and Plant Sale second Saturday in May.

Programmatically the Council supports and encourages Center and Park District partnerships and programs and helps sponsor Movies in the Park and scholarships as needed.


Other meetings


Center News

2012-13- New choral risers!! New Garden south of the main entrance!! Made possible by bequest from Polly Silberman Foundation.

2013-14- Piano restoration was accomplished with funds from the Park District and the Council. A new ballet floor was installed in the lower level. The Robeson floor was refurbished in spring 2014.
Work under a state grant should begin late summer 2014 on exterior and weatherization work including windows and doors, the outdoor theater, the colonnade, concrete, and the north elevator. The Center has upgraded WI-FI and a digital inside informational kiosk.


The Gallery- see below


Center Events and specials


Call the Center regularly, 773 256-0149. Visit the Park District website and look for South Shore Cultural Center.

Specials at the Center:


Classes, camps etc: Get the quarterly handout at the Center or call the Center, do not depend on the CPD website for up to date information except when going into the online registration section (opens 1-2 months before quarterly start) (You must set up an account there.)

Partners include the Iona Calhoun School of Dance and another dance group.


We encourage all to attend the movies in the park in August Others programs that come include the Civic Orchestra, usually in May; Grant Park Chorus-- sometimes twice, in July; Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, mid August; jazz at the Parrot Cage 3rd or other Sundays in various months.

In the Fine Arts Gallery: May 4, Sunday, 5 pm. Reception with artists, Chicago Park District exhibit of Employee Works. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive.

Music and more

to log of programs

Cultural Events at South Shore Cultural Center -2014

Movies in the Park. August and September various evenings- listed below

August 16, Saturday. 5th and 7th Ward annual Summer Festival. (5th ward office 773 324-5555.)

August 24, Sunday, 4 pm. Chicago Music Association "Fantasie Negre II: A Celebration of My People In observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Special Guests Mark Rucker, Metropolitan Opera baritone and Kenwood Academy alum and Charles Smith, composer and award-winning pianist. With a cameo appearance by a fantastic youth ensemble. General Admission $35 Adults/$15 Students with ID and Children 12 and under. Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 SouthShore Drive., 773 721-3210.

September 4, Thursday, 7:00 p.m. Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. COMMUNITY CONCERT details tba- FREE - Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultual Center, 7059 South Shore Drive.
Kerry Leung, pipa and ensemble of traditional Chinese musicians.

October 18, Saturday, time tba. South Shore Opera of Chicago 6th annual ticketed gala concert and reception. tba. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive.

November 16, Sunday, 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm Chicago Music Association "Harvest of Music"- COMMUNITY CONCERT - FREE Chicago College of Performing Arts Student Showcase. Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive., 773 721-3210.

December 16, 2014, Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. Chicago Music Association and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project "Do-It-Yourself Messiah" - FREE. Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive., 773 721-3210.

A full panoply of 2015 programs will be posted as soon as dates are approved. All are free unless noted "ticketed". In general:

Chicago Modern Orchestra Project- weekday eves.- late January, April (all day readings/contest of new scores), and September

Chicago Music Association- Sundays 4 pm- March (Black Heritage), April, August (ticketed), November, December (Tuesday, sing along Messiah)

Civic Orchestra of Chicago (CSO)- May 3 2015 3 pm (firm date)

South Shore Opera Company of Chicago- Fridays, Sats, or Suns early evening- mid or late February, June, October (ticketed)

South Shore Jazz festival- 1st Weekend in August $

Chicago Shakespeare- mid or late August

4th and 7th Ward South Shore Festival - Saturday mid August

Movies in the Park- Wednesdays August and perhaps in September

Monthly Jazz Brunch in the Parrot Cage Restaurant, usually 3rd Sundays c. 11-3. Probably in December Jazz with Santa.


August 13, Wednesday, dusk- "Claudine"
August 20, Wednesday, dusk- "Car Wash"
August 25, Monday, dusk- "The Great Gatsby"
August 27, Wednesday, dusk- "The Wiz"
September 21, Sunday, 4 pm- "The News"

And in the Art Gallery. -"Contemporary Nigeria Chicago "exhibit. November- Creative Artists Association.
South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive.


Kids and youth, family other programs (See also some of the programs above including concerts and movies.)
The Arts Camps are the featured draw, especially summer when kids develop and perform their own program drawing on music, drama, dance, and visual arts. Registration.

There is a suite of fitness programs, classes and camps at the center. Top of the line for children is the themed day camps, especially in summer!For about 150 kids, includes creating an performing a showcase, field trips, music, dance, dram and more. There is also a healthy cooking class. Best to get/consult the quarterly listings sheet at the Center or go on line to the registrations section, which is put up a few weeks before online registration opens c. end of 2nd month before classes begin (on Tuesday for parks east of California Ave.). In park registration is on the Saturday of the first weekend of the month preceding the quarter in question-- AFTER the online registration.

Online Program Registration Utilizes PayPal. Sign in for a permanent password.
"We are now using the PayPal online payment
system. Before you register online for one of our classes, we encourage you to preview what programs are offered." or