Morris Architects Planners

Old Town School of Folk Music

The Old Town School of Folk Music is dedicated to the instruction and presentation of music from around the globe. The school's growing student population and performance-space needs prompted its move in 1998 to a converted 1929 public library, which is now the country's largest facility dedicated to folk music. The new performance hallis a semi-circular space which formerly housed the library stacks. It now features a thrust stage encircled by a combination of cabaret and bench seating on two levels. The setting is quite intimate, with no audience member farther than forty feet from performers. Two large sliding doors make the backstage wall disappear so that during the day the hall welcomes visitors and doubles as the school's cafe. Two restored WPA murals help celebrate the work and music of the common man. The Chicago Sun-Times describes the space as "maybe the best concert venue in town. The acoustics are perfect, the sightlines a dream."

AOR: Wheeler Kearns Architects