CHICAGO — An art center established in Chicago by a Depression-era federal agency has been named a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The South Side Community Art Center was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in May 1941. It was one of 100 art centers established by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. It eventually became the nation’s first black art museum.

Housed in a Georgian Revival-style former residence and boarding house converted into galleries and classroom space, the center is in need of renovation.

Executive director Masequa Myers said Tuesday that center visitors see art from brilliant artists and experience the history of the building. She added the center cannot last another 76 years “without the support of our surrounding community and the city of Chicago at large.”

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