For many Chicagoans, Ukrainian Village isn’t the first place that comes to mind when they hear the term “modern art.” In fact, most people outside of the neighborhood or the Ukrainian community probably don’t know that there is a museum of modern art sitting amongst the west side neighborhood’s architecture. That’s exactly what the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) hopes to change with its plans for a new look and future expansion.
The UIMA building, which was completed in 1978, sits at 2320 West Chicago Avenue just east of Western Avenue, nestled in amongst brownstones and storefronts. True to its name and the art it inhabits, the building’s facade is a minimalist, modern design that was created by esteemed local architect Stanley Tigerman, who was named the recipient of the 2013 American Institute of Architect’s Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award.
The museum stands out because of the stark contrast in architectural styles of the neighborhood. But with the Ukrainian population tapering off and waves of young professionals moving to the neighborhood in their place, the museum needs to gain recognition outside of those cultural and physical parameters.
The expansion, which includes the addition of two floors and a glass-enclosed sculpture garden, should help give the museum more of a citywide presence. The extra space would accommodate workshops and classrooms, expand the cramped archives, and enable the museum to exhibit larger works. There are also plans to increase the museum’s hours — now noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday — as well as its fleet of volunteers, according to an article in The Grid.
Andriy Hudzan, the museum business manager, was quoted in the article as stating that the first phase of construction would cost an estimated $250,000, followed by the two-floor addition, which could cost an estimated $750,000. Construction will begin as soon as the nonprofit museum is able to raise the funds. Museum board member and architect George Sambor will be the lead for the expansion, but Tigerman will also contribute his expertise along the way.
The project will be a massive undertaking for the museum, but one that should help boost awareness of the presence of modern art in the west side’s culturally rich Ukrainian Village.