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: ask She-She Taylor, Rentals and Special Events Coordinator 773 256-0159. (Do NOT contact 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, April 12, 10:30 am in the Oak Room.


In the Gallery: In the Fine Arts Gallery: Creative Artists Assn Non 17-DEC 29.

Parrot Cage restaurant info. Ask about discounts and groups.
773 602-5333. Now serving lunch and dinner Wed-Sat, brunch select Sundays.

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- She She Taylor, 773 256-0959.

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

The Parrot Cage Restaurant.
A top class venue operated by Washburne Culinary Institute of Kennedy-King College, City Colleges of Chicago. Evenings Weds.-Sats. 5:30 and 8:30 pm seatings; Sunday brunch 11 am-3 pm. 773 602-5333. Please do call for reservations or to confirm room is available.


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In this page

Remaining South Shore Cultural Center 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 organization 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


To do now:
Piano restoration
Work toward upgrades to theater lighting and audio and other improvements in Robeson Theater and outdoor theater
as restoration work is done on latter
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 and grow the council, its committees and activiities, and community connections including through fundraising

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. 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 allocated if neccesary.
  5. Provide good and safe access for this increasingly busy center.
  6. 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.
  7. Publicity, outreach, and growth- that of both the Center and the Advisory Council
  8. Continue to build synergies with the Washburne Culinary Institute and its Parrot Cage Restaurant, even though its core programs have now moved to Kennedy-King, with partners, and especially the park district.
  9. 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? New, post-election contacts are being established. Meantime you can send your check made out South Shore Cultural Center Advisory Council, with your contacts (and interests if desidrd) to Marsha Davis, Treasurer SSCCAC, 7924 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL 60619 (telephone 773 441-0467.

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.
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.

Despite a growing array of spectacular arts programs, partnerships, and classes, it has been difficult achieving the weight and citywide presence the Center deserves- and could so admirably fulfill, although this certainly is coming along and is embraced by the Chicago Park District. The Center is a unique place whose needs should be given a full and careful listen and attention, the Council observes. Challenges range from space and its allocation to good access, fees and arrangements for partners and users, keeping up with wear and tear, funding and fund raising, growing and leveraging the rental revenue, best marketing and "attracting" strategies, and getting and keeping the best possible staff.

Our principal working committees are Building & Grounds, Development/Fundraising*, Hospitality*, Landscape & Gardens, Membership, and Website & Social Media*

To help maintenance in the building and pergola/grounds, over 500 hours are volunteered yearly by council committees 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.)

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Other information

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 Memorium 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 April 12, 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 $10. $5 srs, $20 organization, c/o Advisory Council-SSCC, c/o Marsha Davis, 7924 S. Indiana Ave, Chicago, IL 60619. 2013 dues are now due.

The Council seeks ways to help and improve such operations aspects as programming including performing arts events, marketing, and facilities. It's 2nd Saturday meetings (10:30 am) are the best venue in which to learn its work and how to be involved in its many committees, including performing arts and concerts by our partners!. They are an open, very welcoming group. A newsletter is occasionally mailed to dues-paying members ahead of the meeting. We hope to develop internet and social media also.

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 include such projects as the completion of the build out of the 2nd Floor, renovation of the Robeson Theater, the renovation of the Outdoor Theater, and Park Kids expansion in the lower level. The Advisory Council invites you to become active as we prioritize the recommendations and strategically begin the search for capital dollars. Completion of the third floor is the main "new things" internal priority.

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

Council Sponsored Programs- Concerts with Arts Partner in Residence South Shore Opera Company, parteres Chicago Music Association, Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, and others that occasionally perform at the Center such as the Civic Orchestra. See in Center Programs below.

And we sponsor Movies in the Park on cultural themes and give scholarships for park-kids programs.

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Council news bits

Center News

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

Work under a state grant resumes this spring on exterior and weatherization work and the outdoor theater.

Needed: funding for work on the theater lighting and sound, stage. Piano restoration should be complete and the piano returned late February. Robeson Theater renovations will be in progress late Feb. through mid March 2014.

The Gallery

Current plans are to have 3 to 5 exhibits each year and private events also in the Gallery.

Open now : Margaret T. Burroughs Gallery. North of the security and registration office.


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:




We encourage all to attend the movies in the park in August and the Jazz Festival 1st weekend in August

In the Fine Arts Gallery:

Music and more

to log of programs

2012 remaining -music

Events at South Shore Cultural Center 2013


April 23, Wednesday, 7 pm. Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, Renee Baker, Artistic Director. "Blue Ocean Experience" feauring CMOP Chamber Ensemble. Works by Composer-in-Residence Kerwin Young of Public Enemy and Rock and roll Hall of Fame, Elgar, Mozart, Chevalier de Saint George, and Baker ("Point of Departure"). Sp. by Advisory Council. Free and open. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive.

July 11, Friday, 7:30 pm. Grant Park Festival comes to South Shore Cultural Center- orchestra and women of the Chorus. Mei Ann Chen of the Sinfonietta conductor. Leshnoff: "Starburst." Florence Price: Dances in the Canebreaks." GUSTAV HOLST, "THE PLANETS." 7059 South Shore Drive. Free.

Watch for Shakespeare in the Park.

November 16, Sunday, 4? pm. Chicago Music Association concert with awards to young musicians. Look for a special collaboration. 7059 South Shore Drive. Free.

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

And the Art Gallery.



2013 see above


Kids and youth, family other programs (More in School of the Arts) (See also Recreation Directory) (See also some of the programs above including concerts and movies.

Washburne Culinary Institute of City Colleges of Chicago (Kennedy King)- regular and community classes continue/return at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive. This is one of the best and oldest cooking schools in the country. All community classes meet on Saturdays 10-1 and costs $45. Lower age limit uncertain. Each month a single-day class starts late each month and includes such topics as hearty soups, vegetarian, thrill of the grill, cajun/creole, pickling and canning, Parrot Cage restaurant, Contact Continuing Education Department at 773 602-5042. Registration is at 6343 S. Halsted Building @ room 220.

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 fall classes, we encourage you to preview what programs are offered.

You can view fall program offerings online now. To do this, copy and paste the
web address below into your web browser:

Day camp etc. online registration end of 2nd month preceding quarter.
In-person registration at most parks begins Saturday, 1st weekend in month preceding quarter.
View on line at the Park District website. From Nov. 17
Programs include a play camp for 4 and 5 year olds (new), expanded cooking, art, theater, sports....


School of the Arts Community Classes- to be updated

Community classes are offered by the Washburne Culinary Institute. Restaurants participating include Heaven on Seven, Wishbone, Parrot Cage, BJ. Classes are 2nd Saturdays and must be preregistered.

Mission: The South Shore Cultural Center School of the Arts is dedicated to the cultural enrichment of the entire family through skill-based arts classes and culturally stimulating programs in all art forms that will enrich, enlighten and inspire further cultural arts exploration.

Park District fall 2008 Classes being highlighted as examples.

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Nature Oasis family programs at South Shore

These are park district programs under the PD Dept. of Natural Resources and other pd depts. Information, registration call 312 742-5039. Watch in 2006.



Other announcements