Surrounded by a multilingual array of cultures, the Hairpin Arts Center is located at the intersection of the communities of Avondale, Logan Square, and Chicago’s Polish Village.
Abutting Milwaukee Avenue, the vicinity is constantly filled with life, as people pass by along bus, bike, automobile, train, and even just their own two feet as they course through the city. This busy thoroughfare is not only the spine of Chicago’s Northwest Side, it’s part of US Highway 45, a roadway which spans the entire country from Mobile, Alabama to Ontonagon, Michigan.
This vicinity has been fertile ground for artists and the arts. Writers and poets such as Shel Silverstein, Sandra Ramos, Adam Lizakowski, Logan Lu, and Eve Ewing, are all connected to this area which also helped pioneer Hip-Hop culture in Chicago in the 1980’s. Even street photographer Vivian Maier traversed this nook of the city in pursuit of the decisive moment.
This confluence of contrasting perspectives, opinions, and different lived experiences that gather here make it a fitting home for an arts organization dedicated to social transformation
The Hairpin Arts Center provides a space for artists to experiment, create, and collaborate. Chicago is lucky enough to have a wealth of creatives. Our goal is to help increase awareness of the artists who through their work are tackling injustice and inequality. As a venue for creative exploration, we can facilitate difficult conversations between opposing views. We invite you to join us and experience the unusual, the disturbing, and the inspiring.
Sol Goldberg, a businessman who envisioned a strong and vital community in Logan Square, originally built the building in 1930. Goldberg made his fortune in the early 1900s by manufacturing and marketing hairpins. The shape of the company’s unique, three-pronged hairpin inspired the camel insignia on the Hump Hairpin Manufacturing Company’s logo and a recurring camel motif on the building’s facade and the lobby floor. Goldberg’s company maintained offices in the mixed-use retail and office building until 1947 when the Morris B. Sachs Department Store moved in and it became known as the Morris B. Sachs building.
In more recent times, after years of neglect, the City of Chicago bought the building for redevelopment with emphasis on historic preservation, environmental sustainability, and neighborhood revitalization. The building was skillfully and accurately restored from the exterior façade to the interior where marble and terrazzo flooring were refinished and original design elements restored. The result is the LEED certified, eco-friendly, mixed-use development now known as Hairpin Lofts. Today, it hosts affordable rental housing and ground floor retail, and Hairpin Arts Center “lives” on the second floor, serving as a cultural hub for the community.
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