One of the wonderful buildings of the old Tambov is located in a quiet place in August Bebel Street. It is the building of the former shelter for blind children. The construction of the two-storey building was sponsored by the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Brotherhood and donations of many citizens in 1911-1912. Many noble families contributed to the act of charity too – the Chicherins, the Naryshkins, the Lanskies, the Boratynskies, the Aseyevs and simple people of Tambov province.
The school for blind children founded in 1907 used to occupy a small house not far from the church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The construction of the new shelter was undertaken in the area donated by princess Kugusheva. The building was designed in eclectic style with numerous interesting architectural details. The private chapel was arranged on the second floor of the shelter as it was a common tradition for those times. The chapel was consecrated in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God "Joy Unhoped of". By its beauty, elegance and richness of the ornaments the church did not have any rivals. The oak carved iconostasis with enamel and gilding was made by Moscow artist P.A. Sizov sponsored by E.M. Boldyreva.
Children of the peasantry from all over the province were educated in the shelter. They learnt to read, write, sing in choir, play various musical instruments and some obtainable crafts. The students wove baskets and summer garden chairs that were very popular among the citizens. They sang in church choir and worked in the school garden.
When the Soviet power was established, the shelter building gradually dilapidated. By the beginning of the 1970s it looked pitiful. The roof collapsed in many places, huge trees grew through the foundation, the walls got cracked. After the reconstruction the former shelter housed a music school while the area of the former chapel turned into a concert hall. Remarkably, the cast bronze chandeliers used in the decor of the concert hall and some other rooms of the building previously decorated the administration buildings of Moscow Kremlin.
Today the shelter building is occupied by Tambov College of Arts.