The Copernicus Center
The Copernicus Center is a premiere event center in Chicago hosting small to large scale events and concerts, theatre, educational workshops, culturally diverse activities, as well as community engagement.
In 1970, the City of Chicago turned to the Polish community with an offer to locate a statue of Nicolaus Copernicus, world-renowned Polish scientist and the Father of Modern Astronomy, at the entrance to the Adler Planetarium. The statue would be erected to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth. Copernicus is credited with “stopping the sun and starting the planets in motion in the minds of man.” This project raised over $300,000 from individuals, corporations, and other organizations, and the statue was dedicated in 1973, at no cost to the city. It sits proudly in front of the Adler Planetarium. The Copernicus Foundation was chartered as a non-profit organization in July 1971 to serve the metropolitan Chicago area as a major civic, cultural, educational, recreational and entertainment resource. With seed money from the excess funds raised for the statue, a search began in 1977 for a permanent site to house a Polish cultural center in Chicago. In 1979, the foundation purchased the old Gateway cinema building located near Milwaukee and Lawrence avenues. The historic portion of the building housed the first movie theater in Chicago built exclusively for the “talkies.” The Copernicus Foundation chose to preserve the theater itself while remodeling around it, dividing the original 40-foot entry lobby and constructing three floors of office, meeting rooms and classroom space. The Copernicus Center was born. This first stage of remodeling was completed in 1981.
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