4544 N. Lincoln, 909 W. Armitage
and the new location at 4545 N. Lincoln, Chicago
Call it hitting the high note.
The Old Town School of Folk Music is nearing the end of its
journey to open a new $18 million facility with a grand-opening
celebration kicking off Jan. 9.
Executive Director Bau Graves certainly sees the Old Town School
East Building as the completion of a masterpiece, even as it marks
the beginning of a new chapter of expanded services to Chicago's
"This is a really, really exciting time," Graves says. "I think
the new building is a physical embodiment of our attitude at Old
Town School-honor the past, look to the future."
Old Town started in 1957 on West Armitage and has offered a wide
variety of classes for those with interest in music, art, dance,
theater and the visual arts ever since. In 1998, the school opened
its Lincoln Square location inside a former library building. The
two locations boast concert halls, nearly four dozen classrooms,
music stores and more to performers and working artists of all
ages. Graves says the school-through classes, concerts and other
activities-has about 500,000 visits a year.
Inevitably, expansion became a must for Old Town officials who
cited, among other things in the capital campaign, poorly
configured dance rooms, the need for class space with better sound
engineering design and an overall capacity issue during peak
"It will improve everybody's experience everywhere," Graves
The new building-located across Lincoln Avenue from the current
Lincoln Square location-features a 150-seat flex-use space
convertible to classroom, community area, performance or dance
hall, as well as three large dance studios and 17 acoustically
engineered classrooms for music instruction.
Additionally, the building has been recognized and certified for
its green construction and technology.
Old Town's new era begins with a 55-day anniversary celebration
at all three locations, featuring a wide variety of music, workshop
and class offerings, some of which are free to attend.
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