Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Main Front Room at the St. Sava Serbian-American Museum and Cultural Center
at 448 W. Barry Ave. in Chicago, IL.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 12, 2016.

[From: Dr. Martina Marković Bertsch
Council of Serbian American Organizations, Chicago]

We sincerely thank everyone who joined us on Sunday, 1/22/2017 and Friday, 1/27/2017 to celebrate St. Sava Slava and help preserve the only Serbian American museum and the only Serbian building in the heart of an American metropolis. This architectural gem boasting Prairie and Beaux Arts details was designed by the famous architect Frederic W. Perkins and erected in 1903. It has been a part of our cultural, historical and political milieu since 1952.
The building has been in court for several years because of unfinished upgrades and repairs necessary to bring it up to code for public use. On Wednesday, 1/25/2017, on the eve of the hearing, we learned that the museum Board applied for demolition for the second time. We immediately called Alderman Tunney's chief of staff, Mr. Bennett Lawson, representatives of the Commission on Landmarks, and the executive director of Preservation Chicago, Mr. Ward Miller to join us at the hearing. All accepted the invitation, and the next day testified in court about the architectural, cultural, and historical significance of the building and the City's plan to promptly declare it a Landmark. Dr. Martina Marković Bertsch also testified on behalf of the Council of Serbian American Organizations; she presented a plan to complete the repairs required by the City inspectors and revive the museum programs. The court granted a continuance until 06/08/2017.
Enclosed please find the plan proposal, which was submitted to the museum Board at the 12/22/2016 meeting. The plan proposes to form a crisis committee, complete the building repairs as required by the City's inspectors, and drive public support by bringing new members and fundraising activities. About 85% of estimated $120,000 for the repair of violations has already been secured through pro bono labor and donations of Serbian American contractors. Two donor events are already planned, and it is estimated that they will raise about $10,000. Additional fundraising activities will be announced in the coming months.
During the first donor evening under the auspices of the Council, St. Sava Slava at the Holy Resurrection Church on Redwood Dr., we collected $5,815. Inspired by St. Sava tradition and the City's desire to designate our beloved DOM a Landmark, the Kaljević sisters organized another donor event on the day of the St. Sava Slava, 1/27/2017, where another $580 was collected.
We are proud of our success, but also aware that we have much work to do. We know that only a united and strong Serbian community will be able to preserve our museum in the heart of Chicago. We invite you to come to an emergency meeting of the Council of Serbian American Organizations at SNO [Serbian National Defense] (5782 N. Elston, Chicago) on Tuesday, 1/31/2017 at 7 pm, where we will form a Crisis Committee and plan our next steps.
Dr. Martina Marković Bertsch
Council of Serbian American Organizations
200 E. Randolph St.
Floor 38
Chicago, IL 60601
(773) 357-5345
Please contact Dr. Bertsch for the plan proposal referred to above if you are interested to see it.



If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


No comments: