On June 17, 2019, the National Trust announced a new HOPE Crew (Hands-On Preservation Experience) project at the South Side Community Art Center, a National Treasure. This groundbreaking institution was instrumental in launching the careers of renowned African American artists when many galleries would not exhibit their work, including poet Gwendolyn Brooks (the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize) and Life magazine photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks.
Thanks to a partnership between the Fund II Foundation and the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF), a team of African American young people will gain valuable vocational experience while performing needed repairs at this iconic Chicago landmark.
Over a period of several days, crew members will conduct masonry cleaning work on the Art Center’s front facade under the direction of Tom Vacala with Restore Masonry and with overall guidance from Ed Torrez, an architect, National Trust advisor, and principal at BauerLatoza Studio.
Other past and upcoming HOPE Crew activities made possible with Fund II support include preservation projects at the Nina Simone Childhood Home in Tryon, North Carolina, the Pittsburgh home of author August Wilson, the home of John and Alice Coltrane in Long Island, Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and six-week intensive internships for architecture students enrolled at two HBCUs—part of Fund II Foundation’s commitment to diversifying STEM fields of education.