What is Copernicus Center and Where is It?

What is Copernicus Center and Where is It? - The Copernicus Foundation was chartered as a not-for-profit organization in July 1971 to serve the metropolitan Chicago area as a major civic, cultural, educational, recreational and entertainment resource.

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 for the Copernicus Center. This first stage of remodeling was completed in 1981.

Nowadays, the Copernicus Center hosts Public Concerts, Cultural and Community Events. Private Events and Meetings take place in our various venue spaces. It is located on 5216 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630.


It showcases the rich multi-ethnic heritage of metropolitan Chicago, particularly that of Polish-Americans; who's donations established the Center. As the Northwest side neighborhoods became host to MANY cultures, so did the Center.

They frequently host international musicians from around the world. "World Music" is often heard at the Center.

The Copernicus Center is supported by the Copernicus Foundation which ensures that these rich cultural traditions will flourish for generations through its sponsorship of the performing arts and other activities.

The preservation of one of Chicago's most historic theaters (former Gateway) is also important to the Copernicus Foundation. This gorgeous old theater was revitalized and modernized and is now ONE of the many venue spaces available at the Copernicus Center.

The Copernicus Center (foundation) underwrites venue space for many performing arts groups and non-profit community organizations on the Northwest side of Chicago. The Copernicus Center supports itself through donations and venue space rentals.

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