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 (who is NOT an officer in the Council). Current Officers

Volunteer opportunities for "The South Shore Cultural Center League of 100" are now open. Please click on the following web link (or copy it into your web browser if clicking doesn't work) to go to the signup sheet:

To sign up, just follow the instructions on the page. It only takes a few seconds to do.

Thank you for volunteering! Help is needed for the next Geranium and Plant Sale. May 2020 and for events including the Monarch Butterfly Festival Aug. 17 '19


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:
TAKE OUR SURVEY See/print survey
Can be scanned and sent to cc Bobbie Greer.

Chicago Park District Cultural Centers Facebook Page for SSCC- please like!

Note, the Parrot Cage restaurant has closed.

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 (usually 2nd Saturdays 10:30 in the Oak Room 2nd floor)-MOVED TO MARCH 28 with Election. CANCELLED in light of the coronavirus. Hope to reschedule for April.

Arts & Business Think and Do Tank for March 14 is CANCELLED and will be rescheduled.


Parrot Cage Restaurant-

Visit lineup of concerts, events, nature sanctuary,
in this page

Last planting event of the year in Nature Sanct- October 20.

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 Maya Solis; Area Manager Farah Tunks. Andrea Adams, Center Director. Programs -Michele ___

Purpose of the Advisory Council:

The purpose of the Council is to promote community interest and participation in the activities of the South Shore Cultual Center by developing cultural, recreational, social, and educational activities.


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If you have not checked out Park Points yet, visit to register and start earning points now!


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 (if still available) at (May be moved to a dedicated website.)

Advisory Council- general

September 9 2017 the council opted to approve with conditions the golf course consolidation vs complete support or rejection. A committee is in converation with the parties concerning PAC submitted principles and alternatives.

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.

Work on the building is nearly complete. Priorities and additional work needed are under consideration including for the Black Box Theater in the basement (approved for late 2019-early 2020), and the Beach House (underway late 2019 for completion spring 2020).


Principal working committees are being refreshed.

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 elected March 10, 2018:
President: Walter Kindred
Jeanette Strotter
Secretary: Bobbie Greer,
Treas.: Marsha Davis,

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
Claudette Miller
Marjorie Mims
Margie Gross
Vernita Cole
Lillian King


The Council. Next mtg. (Normally 2nd Saturdays). Room is subject to change. (normally 2nd Saturdays at 10:30 am in the Oak Room.)
Next Advisory Council meeting (usually 2nd Saturdays 10:30 in the Oak Room 2nd floor)-MOVED TO MARCH 28 with Election. NOW CANCELLED. CHECK FOR UPDATES regarding April in light of the coronavirus.

Arts & Business Think and Do Tank for March 14 is CANCELLED and will be rescheduled.

Next Re:Centering meeting reinventing the SS Cultural Center. TBA


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 seniors, $25 organization, Treasurer, Advisory Council-SSCC, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, 60649. 2015 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 the 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 and activities. -

Monthly programs c 3rd Thursdays being planned.

See you in 2018.


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.

2015 January - The coral will be turned into a skating rink for winter 2016.
Being filled: Head attendant, dance instructor.
CSO is giving 3 chamber ensemble concerts (Jan 18 was well attended and splendid, coming March 8 and May 10.) Coming May 3 Civic Orchestra and playing host to a dance festival and EDTA August Wilson reading. The council is supporting a revived jazz festival at South Shore and the South Side.

Latest on the $2.5 m state grant capital restoration work, as of October 2014.

Rescinded winter 2017- the work will now go forward to extent that budget allows. BAD NEWS. THE WORK THAT WAS TO BE SIGNED AND BEGUN IN SPRING 2015 IS INCLUDED IN GOV. RAUNER'S FREEZE OF $28 MILLION IN PARK DISTRICT GRANTS, 27 PROJECTS. The council has directed a letter of protest to the Governor, our legislators, and the Park District-- planning for this with council input began four years ago and was funded from monies several. years ago. SSCC is a money maker and prime cultural center, so it must be kept up and kept presentable. A newly revived feature in the plans is the Outdoor Theater.

As of the January 2015 meeting, the work is out to bid. Specific venues coming include - Outdoor Theater including furniture to be bought soon. Dining Room- stop the leaks and paint.

Work scope: repair/replace promenade; promenade roof and walks [entire pergola colonnade including lower 3 feet solid concrete] and painting there; repair exterior building envelope (gaps, cracks, holes, etc.); repair/replace deteriorated windows, door trim, flashing downspouts and gutter, etc.; repair roof and flag poles; restoration of outdoor theatre stage, east; minor repair of attachments and appurtenances to principal building, particularly exterior walls; interior work limited to select repair of infrastructure damaged by water infiltration. Excluded items include 2nd floor, theater needs. Project schedule: A/E [=architectural/engineering] 3-6 months; Permitting, 3 months; Construction, 3 – 6 months. Grant funding: 2.3MM. Actual Project cost TBD [=to be determined] based on actual bidding of construction documents when available. Scope, costs and funding available may be revised based on actual work scope.
As of early November plans were complete 95% and were to be approved-to-go at the November or December CPD Board meeting. Schematic is available to the council.
Only repairs will be made to the center floor of the Outdoor Theater due to strong position by historic preservation agencies- rest will be done so plays, concerts, and rentals can be held holding 200-400 people, a real addition (temporary flooring may be used for dancing, etc.).
Work is expected to start by March (some indoor possibly earlier). The outdoor theater may be ready for events in late summer.

A cultural space survey of relevant PD buildings has been made-- the Theater lighting was placed on the list, so we will see.

Chicago Department of Transportation may make some adjustments to the timing of the signal light at 71st/South Shore. Not much change is possible.

Class staffing is still down, recruitment underway.

November 8 2014, we heard and held discussion on an update on the Obama Library from Gia Biaggi (Chicago Park District planning), Kim duBuclet (CPD Community Relations), and Sonya Malunda (University of Chicago Sr. Asst. VP Civic Engagement). The appearance is in response to a written request to CPD Superintendent Mike Kelly dated October 27. The Center is one of three suggested locations (not specific sites) the University gave in its preliminary bid to the Obama Library Foundation. The UC Bid is one of four finalists. By December 11 the final proposal is due to the Foundation. The Obamas are expected to make their final selection in early 2015. The University's final is expected to have one site-- the presenters gave no indication that they have narrowed in on one of the locations. Libraries consist of: the archives/library run by the National Archives, the museum, and the private institute. Hundreds of millions have to raised-- which cannot start until a president is out of office-- and it can take 5 or more years thereafter to get a library up and running. All provide opportunities for many partnerships and outreach initiatives. The park district also wants a balanced plan for partnership of the library with the park system, including possibly anti-obesity in the smaller parks. Once the decision is made, there will be much public discussion. the University and CPD have held many outreach meetings but not yet done formal polling. The University bid website is

There was substantive discussion and input into the feasibility of particular sites at the Center, many feeling the site is too cramped (including any room for growth) and inaccessible-- libraries inevitably need lots of special space and hundreds of thousands, if not over a million a year visit, so a road and transportation plan is needed. There was general agreement about the importance and potential of the South Shore Cultural Center for programming and use on the South Side-- there will be a small meeting of parties including the University about ramping up good usage of the facility. Also that the Center and a library could have synergies (and some concern that the library would not dominate Center programming on the one hand or the older building not be out competed by the snazzy new for rentals on the other, concerns that resonated with the Park District). The potential and need for development in South Shore was also a shared assessment and there have to a clear set of benefits and a plan for the whole mid South. Accessibility of the library for all, such as free days, was also expressed.

The Gallery- see below Wood Arts from the wood shops of the Chicago Park District.


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

Music and more

to log of programs

The Parrot Cage restaurant is open Tu-Fri 5-8 AT $15 FOR 3 course dinner, regular prices for Saturday dinner and for Sunday brunch (11-3). Reserve at 773 363-1902, of if you don't reach a person, reserve at

Cultural and other Events at South Shore Cultural Center -


Events at South Shore Cultural Center -2019

Gallery-- tba.

3rd Saturdays April-October, 10-noon. Work and learning days in the South Shore Cultural Center Nature Sanctuary.

events/ concerts tba due to coronavirus. Events for more than 100 are cancelled or discouraged by authorities, but parks and the Center and classes remain open.
NO March 14 Arts + Business Council Think and Do Tank.

Summer Movies- Mondays at dusk, sometimes pre-event activities
Next year.


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.

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