Established in 1940, the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) emerged from the organizing of Black artists in Chicago beginning as early as 1932. These artists were driven by a desire to access formal arts education and to exhibit their work, and the availability of government funding for the arts under the Works Progress Administration provided an opportunity for the founders of the SSCAC, including Margaret Burroughs, Eldzier Cortor, Archibald Motley Jr., and Charles White, to formally establish the Center, which today is the only remaining community art center from the era. Located in the Bronzeville neighborhood, then the heart of Chicago’s Black community, the SSCAC provided studio and exhibition space, offered art classes, and—most importantly—served as a gathering place for a local arts community that was denied entry elsewhere. Decades before the Black Arts movement, the SSCAC also provided support for artists making work about the Black American experience, and for Black audiences.


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