LINCOLN SQUARE — DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is fundraising to convert the first floor of its Lincoln Square building into a gallery.
For years, the first floor of the cultural center’s building at 4740 N. Western Ave. has been rented out for commercial use. It’s been home to a Greek restaurant and a business college, and it also experienced fire damage at one point, said DANK Executive Director Monica Jirak.
The nonprofit’s board began looking at how to renovate the space, initially wanting to attract new commercial tenants.
“Unfortunately, with a pandemic, the stars really did not align for us. It really made us pivot and reprioritize,” Jirak said.
That’s how the idea for converting the first floor into a gallery and meeting space came about, Jirak said. Once it’s open, the space will be called DANK Treffpunkt, which is German for “meeting place.”
The first floor has already been partially renovated and used as a temporary gallery. But the floors still need refinishing, and the space needs a new welcome desk, signs and additional walls for storage and art display, said DANK Museum Director Rosa Gallagher.
DANK plans to raise $54,000 by New Year’s Eve to pay for this first round of renovations. As of Tuesday, it had raised $13,785 of its goal.
Michael Waechter, a DANK Haus board member and principal at Waechter Architects, has already created renderings of what the gallery and event space could look like once renovations are complete.
Waechter also assisted in helping relocate and install Lincoln Square’s historical Chicago Brauhaus bar inside the DANK building.
The gallery is the next step in the nonprofit’s beautification process of DANK’s six-story, 93-year-old building. Earlier this year, DANK opened its newly renovated skyline lounge and outdoor patio to the public.
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