Architect works on expansion of project he designed in 1970s

The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago is set to get a facelift with help from the architect who designed it more than 40 years ago.

The museum was founded in 1971, after a large wave of post-World War II immigrants from what was then part of the USSR had settled in the city.

Members of the artistic community felt they had more creative freedom than in Soviet-occupied Ukraine, and a group of artists and collectors wanted a place to display their work.

The group enlisted the help of architect Stanley Tigerman who designed a minimalist museum in an old hobby shop on Chicago Avenue, mimicking the size and shape of the local storefronts. It opened in 1977.

Now Tigerman will help plans for an expansion which is being led by architect and museum board member George Sambor.

“The Ukrainians have stood up and said: We exist, and this is our cultural heritage, and we are involved in modern art, and here is a museum in your neighborhood. I love it,” Tigerman said.

The extra space would accommodate workshops and classrooms, expand the archives, and enable the museum to exhibit larger works

“This will be a daunting project,” museum executive director Orysia Cardoso says. “But one that will definitely set up the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art as a major art venue in the city.”