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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Rally To Save Old Town School Of Folk’s Armitage Avenue Building Planned For Saturday

The rally comes two days after students delivered a petition with 6,200 signatures in favor of keeping the historic Lincoln Park building.

The Old Town School of Folk has been at the historic building at 909 W. Armitage Ave. for the past 50 years.
ALEX V. HERNANDEZ/ BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
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LINCOLN PARK — Students unhappy with the Old Town School of Folk Music’s decision to sell its Lincoln Park building are planning a rally Saturday afternoon in front of the school.

Students plan to gather at 3 p.m. at the school’s 909 W. Armitage Ave. building. It’s happening two days after students delivered to the school’s leadership a petition with 6,200 signatures collected over two weeks by people who want to stop the s sale of the Lincoln Park building.

In October, the Old Town announced it would sell the location, with the proceeds seeding a school endowment to be called the “Armitage Fund.” The school described the sale as “the beginning of a new chapter” that would help secure financial independence for the school’s future.

Old Town used the historic Aldine Hall for nearly 50 years but is now based in Lincoln Square. When the school announced its plans, Bau Graves, the school’s executive director, said the current real estate market in Lincoln Park makes it the perfect time to put the Armitage address on the market.

Spokesman Dave Zibell previously told Block Club the board’s decision was made out of “fiscal responsibility” to ensure the long-term sustainability of the school in “an era of increased competition.”

RELATED:Old Town School Of Folk Teachers See ‘No Wisdom’ In Plan To Sell Armitage Avenue Building

Regarding the delivery of the petition, Zibell said the school is continuing to communicate with people who have contacted the school directly. The signatures were presented to the board chairman, he said.

“We are in the process of finding a meeting time for the group to meet with our Executive Director and members of the board for discussion per their request,” he said. “We also held a series of meetings with our faculty and staff to discuss the challenges facing our organization. Meetings were spirited and plenty of issues were raised. We are committed to listening and working with teachers and staff to progress through the next several months of transition.”

Two weeks ago, Rich Gordon, a student at Old Town, launched the petition to stop the sale. When the signatures were dropped off on Thursday, the binder included a cover letter signed by Gordon and 11 other students.

The letter said the number of signatures collected in just two weeks “illustrates the depth of passion and community around the School — and its legacy at 909 W. Armitage.”

 “Save Old Town School’s goal is not to attack or tear down, but rather to help the Board and administration turn around these trends and build a stronger School with a secure financial Future,” the letter said.

The full letter can be read below.

Credit: Courtesy Rich Gordon
This cover letter was delivered to the Old Town School of Folk’s board on Thursday.

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