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Fine Arts Building, Chicago

#68 of 158 in Nightlife in Chicago
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Theater
The ten-story Fine Arts Building, also known as the Studebaker Building, is located at 410 S Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park in Chicago in the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. It was built for the Studebaker company in 1884–5 by Solon Spencer Beman, and extensively remodeled in 1898, when Beman removed the building's eighth (then the top) story and added three new stories, extending the building to its current height. Studebaker constructed the building as a carriage sales and service operation with manufacturing on upper floors. The two granite columns at the main entrance, 3 feet 8 inches (1.12 m) in diameter and 12 feet 10 inches (3.91 m) high, were said to be the largest polished monolithic shafts in the country. The interior features Art Nouveau motifs and murals by artists such as Martha Susan Baker, Frederic Clay Bartlett, Oliver Dennett Grover, Frank Xavier Leyendecker, and Bertha Sophia Menzler-Peyton dating from the 1898 renovation. In the early 20th century, the Kalo Shop and Wilro Shop, firms owned by women and specializing in Arts and Crafts items, were established in the Fine Arts Building.
Currently, true to its name, it houses artists' lofts, art galleries, theatre, dance and recording studios, interior and web design firms, musical instrument makers, and other businesses associated with the arts. It also holds offices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Grant Park Conservancy, the World Federalist Association, and the Chicago Youth Symphony, and the venerable Artists Cafe. The Fine Arts Building was designated a Chicago Landmark on June 7, 1978.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
35 reviews
  • We saw the show, Undertale Live, at the Studebaker Theatre inside the Fine Arts building in January, 2020. We were seeing a Saturday evening show, so we booked a room overnight at the Congress Plaza....  more »
  • The Fine Arts Building (also called the Studebaker Building) is located on South Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park. It was built for the Studebaker Company in 1885. Today the building houses...  more »
  • One of my favorite places in the city. If you are a virtuoso who enjoys art and culture and looking for an authentic immersive experience, this is a good place to start. The architecture houses various floors dedicated to the study, practice and performance of art and music.
  • I liked this place. It's clear that electricity is aftermarket, tho. Might be the last manually operated elevator in the city. Does make me nervous when it moves when adding or subtracting any weight, though. A bit unnerving and pretty ugly the way electricity updates (?) were executed over the elevators). The grandfather clause is alive and well. It's about 9 floors tall with wide-open stairways (looks unique but a bad idea, fire-wise, they act like a chimney, see Our Lady of Angels fire), glass elevator shafts (same problem if there's a fire), and sprinkler system? No, i don't see anything like that. Ignore Maps if it says anything other than Adams street off the brown line. Or, i think the art museum subway on red line would be there, too. FA building is a few blocks away from there. There is a nice bookstore that used to have a cat. It smells really bad in there, tho. Even though they painted. Yucky. Couldn't figure out if the stupid thing sprayed all over the place, or what. If you have allergies, you'll probably remember right away, too.

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