National Veterans Art Museum to relocate to Jefferson Park; Ed Paschke Art Center to reopen with more gallery space in 2024
by BRIAN NADIG
The National Veterans Art Museum at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. would move into a former podiatrist office in Jefferson Park, and the Ed Paschke Art Center at 5415 W. Higgins Ave. would reopen with more gallery space under new zoning proposals.
A 2021 cultural district proposal had called for both museums to be part of a Chicago Art Center that would be built in Jefferson Park but that project is on hold and being revised.
New plans for the veterans museum include a rear addition to the two-story building at 5411 W. Higgins Ave., “with an enhanced” glass facade, said veterans museum chairman Lionel Rabb. The back portion of the museum would be three stories and include a roof deck and decorative glass panels, he said.
The goal is to have the museum relocated by Veterans Day in 2024, Rabb said. He added that the current museum at Six Corners is expected to remain open until shortly before the move.
Under the proposal the 4,113-square-foot parcel on a Higgins would be rezoned from B3-1 to the less restrictive B3-3, and the height of the renovated building, which would total 10,058 square feet, would be 43 feet 5 inches. No parking is required due to the site’s proximity to the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The museum also would include offices,
a retail shop and the “Above and Beyond” exhibit, featuring about 58,000 dog tags with the names and causality dates of the American military personnel killed during the Vietnam War.
Until a few years ago the building housed the Kozie family podiatry practice, with an apartment on the second floor.
The veterans museum has a collection of more than 2,500 works.
On the same block plans call for the Ed Paschke Art Center to reopen in June of 2024 with expanded gallery space following renovations, said Rabb, who along with with Vesna Stelcer founded the center and opened it 2014. The center has been closed since the pandemic in 2020.
“It’ll be a whole new experience” for the center’s visitors, Rabb said.
The Chicago-born Paschke became a nationally known artist who belonged to a group known as the imagists and who painted in a style influenced by the abstract and expressionist art and pop movement of the 1960s.
The project requires rezoning the site from B3-1 to B3-3, and an addition in the rear of the two-story building would include a stairway and an elevator, Rabb said. The building was once home to Knobe the Stationer.
Also planned is the installation of a sculpture garden on a vacant lot behind the center, where a house once stood. The lot is located at the northeast corner of Lawrence and Long avenues, across from the Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.
Plans are in the works for the Chicago Art Center to eventually be constructed on the lot as part of a planned cultural district, Rabb said. The veterans museum would remain at 5411 W. Higgins, but the Ed Paschke center would relocate to the new art center along Lawrence, with a new museum concept at 5415 W. Higgins.