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Chicago Celebrates the 100-year anniversary of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan 9/12 With 'Festival On Prairie Avenue'


As Chicago celebrates the 100-year anniversary of Daniel Burnham's 1909 monumental Plan of Chicago, on Sat, Sept. 12, the Prairie Avenue Historic District of the city's South Loop will be the site of the "Festival on Prairie Avenue." The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) and Glessner House Museum will be honoring this very special milestone with an event focusing on the importance of building and planning for the community. Activities and exhibits will include a unique variety of Art, History, Architecture, Music and Play - including the return of Daniel Burnham himself to Prairie Avenue.

The Festival will be held on Saturday, September 12th from 12 noon - 6:00pm and is expected to draw 1500+ premiere South Loop residents. Visitors will experience an atmosphere of Prairie Avenue in the 1890's, complete with the opportunity to meet Daniel Burnham himself who will be on hand to speak about his masterpiece, the White City and his monumental Plan of Chicago.

Festival attractions include: A main stage with all day entertainment, Emcee 'Humorist' Stuart Jacobson with DJ Billy, special music performances by Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago, a barbershop quartet, a vintage fashion show, a War of 1812 encampment, Ukrainian dancers, historic carriages, carnival games, a menagerie of exotic animals, climbing wall, 'Art Beat Live' and interactive painting, a character artist, face painter, tours of the Glessner and Clarke Houses, Architecture exhibits, The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) Architecture exhibit, Burnham exhibit and much, much more!

The graduate students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Architecture Program participated in a semester-long design studio focused on planning for Prairie Avenue in the 21st century. Their projects called for the design of an event and ephemeral architecture that would enhance the district and the Glessner House. Tina Feldstein, President of the Prairie District Neighborhood All iance explains,"Planning for the future of our community is critically important and our residents are committed to staying actively involved in the process". The PDNA is thrilled to have SAIC's unique architectural models and renderings on display at the Prairie Avenue Gallery (Landmark Keith House) in this year's festival." said Feldstein.

Presenting projects by 2nd year Master of Architecture students: Audry Tsang, Luan Grill, Annie Claire Kasper, Becky Ann Midden, Kim Kristi Richter, Jamie Marissa Sandy, Lauren Ashley Thomas, and Kim Anne Tran.
Also in the exhibition are works by Elizabeth Buchanan -- Architectural Glassworks. The artist writes: "In 2001, I began combining sand-blasted glass with photography. It was a way to translate my visual experience, where clarity is not always found."

A special exhibit at Glessner House will examine the residential designs of Daniel Burnham and John Root in the neighborhood, including architectural fragments from the collection of Jack Simmerling. In addition, the exhibit will discuss the involvement of a number of local residents in the development of and support for Burnham's monumental Plan of Chicago. Bill Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of the Glessner House Museum says, "This exhibit is a rare opportunity to highlight how Daniel Burnham's residency on Prairie Avenue led to a significant number of major commissions."

Daniel Burnham looms as one of the great figures in Chicago history. In 1890, he was appointed supervising architect for the World's Columbian Exposition, and assembled a group of architect to create the legendary White City. In 1909, Burnham completed his monumental Plan of Chicago, one of several master plans created for major cities across the U.S. He resided at 2100 S. Prairie Avenue from 1876 to 1881 in a house he and partner John W. Root designed for John B. Sherman, president of the Chicago Union Stock yards. In 1902, Burnham was hired to significantly enlarge and remodel the Marshall Field Jr. house at 1919 S. Prairie Avenue.

2009 Festival Sponsors: Phoenix Rising Management Group, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Elite Physical Therapy, South Michigan Avenue Merchants Association (SMAMA), Doran's Landscape, and Illinois National Guard.

Festival entrance donation: $7 (children under 12 months Free)

Food tickets: $5 - Café Society cooks up a classic picnic barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, veggie burgers, chips and a drink. The cafe will also be open for optional choices.

PDNA website:

About the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance

Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) is a non-profit resident organization in the South Loop community of Chicago, Illinois. The PDNA was founded in 2006 to provide support and representation to thousands of residents living in and around the Prairie Avenue Historic District and south Michigan Avenue corridor. An area regarded as the fastest growing neighborhood in Chicago and one of the hottest neighborhoods in the country. The PDNA brings neighbors together in order to build a sense of community, preserve the integrity of the neighborhood's historic character, address issues of the neighborhood, provide the neighborhood with an effective and transparent communication link with the Alderman, developers, government officials, businesses and other influential groups, and to empower residents to work together in improving the neighborhood. The objective being: To foster a collective, respectful and unified voIce That translates into a powerful and influential force in the community.


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