Gilchrist Learning Center Is Now Open

The wait is over. One of the Gilchrist Foundation’s biggest campaign projects is now officially a reality. The Gilchrist Learning Center, the Sioux City Art Center’s new 11,000-square-foot addition, opened for classes on September 24. The bright, white, window-lined facility, located at 220 Pierce Street, was built to host the center’s art education classes and workshops. It features classrooms, four studios, a ceramics area and a gallery.


This facility, which alleviates the Art Center’s previous tight teaching quarters and opens up space for more exhibits, perfectly aligns with the foundation’s interests to promote the arts in Siouxland. Jocelyn Gilchrist, who established the Gilchrist Foundation in December 1998 to honor her family and further their interests, loved orchestra music, art museums and theater. Her foundation has provided support for numerous non-profit organizations in the community and has been a significant underwriter of special Art Center projects for more than 10 years.


Fall 2018 classes are currently being held at the new Gilchrist Learning Center, including youth, middle school and high school/adult classes. These classes include alcohol ink painting workshops, ceramic classes, open studio, painting classes (watercolor, oil and acrylic, drawing and painting) and stained glass classes. Plus, the Art Center’s weekend classes are also being held in the new space. These classes don’t require pre-registration and are open to ages 6 through adult. More classes will be added to the schedule in future, including free workshops.


The $2.6 million, standalone facility was designed by PLaN Architecture, located in downtown Sioux City. The Gilchrist Foundation provided a $1 million naming gift for the project, the goal of which being to increase the Art Center’s education programs. Construction began in the fall of 2017.


The Learning Center facility is just the first phase of the Art Center’s plan to increase access to art and education in Siouxland. The second phase is the renovation of the existing Art Center facility, which will increase access and enhance security to its growing Permanent Collection. In addition, the transformation will include a space dedicated to the Art Center’s research library, as well as an updating of the family-focused Junior League Hands-on! Gallery.


In addition to the naming gift from the Gilchrist Foundation, support for the project has come from more than 300 individual donations, including major support from Enhance Iowa, the Gardner Foundation, and the Gleeson, Chesterman and Persinger families. A ceremonial opening is slated for late October.