Additional funding has been announced for a new dance and community center at 5339 S State Street in Washington Park. Located just north of the intersection with E 54th Street and sandwiched between the namesake park and highway, the new facility will replace a long standing set of vacant lots owned by the city. The team behind the proposal is the Deeply Rooted Dance Company who currently operates downtown; no architect has been announced.
Founded in 1996 by a group of dancers, the Black-led contemporary dance troupe has been running out of a shared studio in the South Loop and is looking forward to their own stand-alone building in order to expand its community outreach and services. Now the city is preparing to sell the organization the two lots required for $1 each, giving the proposal a half-acre site for its upcoming 33,270-square-foot Deeply Rooted Dance Center.
Rising two stories and roughly 30 feet in height and serving as an international home for Black dance, the new facility will contain multiple dance studios, a black-box theater, lockers, rehearsal space, costume and set design shops, library, as well as classrooms and office space on the second floor. A small atrium will puncture the center of the building and bring added green space along with a rooftop garden and second floor outdoor deck, all clad in a curtain wall system with a bright yellow-green painted exterior.
No parking has been discussed but visitors will have bus access to CTA Routes 29 and 55, as well as both CTA Red and Green Line at Garfield station, all within a seven-minute walk. The $15.6 million center recently received a $5 million grant from the city’s Recovery Plan Fund and $2 million from the Mellon Foundation just last week, who also awarded the Muddy Waters Museum $1 million last month. The funds join an existing pool of over $4 million to help bring the center to reality, with an opening date expected by the end of 2024.