Arts & Museums
"The city is our museum," claims this historic museum. The CAF highlights Chicago's diverse architecture and design through a multitude of lectures, exhibits and educational programs. For a hands-on experience, take the Loop Walking Tour-a two-hour daily tour that explores the national landmarks downtown. The CAF Architecture River Cruise offers a river's eye view of the city and highlights more than 50 historic sites along the Chicago River. Many galleries are houses which include the famed ArcelorMittal CitySpace Gallery. Even though admission is free, reservations are advised.
From popular Rembrandt masterpieces to recent works by lesser-known artists, the Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the finest art collections in the world. Spanning centuries of human creativity, exhibits include a distinguished collection of prints and drawings, an internationally acclaimed collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, sculptures, photographs, Asian, African and American arts, architectural drawings, textiles and more. Many pieces are on loan from the famed Terra Foundation for American Art. Educational programs and guided museum tours are available. Art books, reproductions, postcards and other items are available in the museum shop. Free public lectures are given during weekends.
This mid-sized gallery showcases the work of students and faculty of the Chicago American Academy of Art, with a wide array of mediums and styles, including undergraduate notables like Joe Ninna, Ara Tirado, Maggie M. Lee, Joe L. Ramos, Zulema Orozco and Letitia Lee. The work is academic; mostly paper and sculpture. You will not see the cutting edge of contemporary expression here, but you will find some enjoyable and interesting pieces.
This gallery exhibits a wide range of mediums, and generally hosts the work of student and faculty. Notable exhibits have included the narrative dioramas of Rosemarie Fiore and paintings of household objects and children's toys by Yu-Hung Huang. Photographer Matt Santori and sculptor Jacalyn Chapel are regularly featured here. The fascinating work of Keith Shannon was a high point. His displays were largely video installations documenting a fictional town called Five Points, Ohio. See website for schedule, online gallery, and more information on the school.
Pick up free city guides (available in various languages) and information on the events and attractions of the city. While you are at the Chicago Cultural Center, browse the various art galleries and find out about the weddings and cultural performances organized in the premises. Grab a coffee at the Randolph Café and some artifacts from the shop next to it. If you like this place, do some serious thinking about volunteering for some work for the cultural center. For details on parking, accessibility, and membership check the website.
Established in 1976 by Columbia College and located on its campus, this museum showcases fine print collections and other items relating to the artistic expression of image-making. Special exhibits and lectures highlight many facets of photography. The focus is on commercial and art photography, as well social impacts. Prints by regional artists and many other photographs on exhibit are available for purchase. Exhibits change about every two months.
An art gallery that is buzzing with a variety of events all year round, Expo 72 Gallery is where art aficionados ought to head when roaming about in the Loop neighborhood of the city. On display, you will find photographs, paintings, multimedia installations and more. Do call ahead for other details.
Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is Chicago's Jewish education and cultural center. It offers an innovative array of public programming, including exhibits, performances, films, and lectures some presented by the esteemed faculty who teach for its graduate programs. The institute collects, preserves, and displays materials from the Jewish experience in a stunning, contemporary building with fabulous views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. Art from the institute's collection is showcased throughout the building and temporary exhibits examine aspects of Jewish culture. The building also includes a 400-seat theater and a gift shop that carries art, books, music, videos, and contemporary and traditional Jewish ceremonial gifts. Exhibits are free. Program and performance prices vary. Check website for schedule.
This place bills itself as the Legal and Financial District's ONLY full service coin dealer. It can exchange U.S. dollars for foreign coins and paper currency. More importantly, it offers rare coins, including ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine collections. There are also classical antiquities dating from 5000BC through 1453 AD. The shop is willing to purchase autographs, documents, stamps and memorabilia. Expert appraisals and evaluations can be performed at your home, office or bank. No appraisal fee is charged if your items are purchased. Member of the Professional Numismatists Guild.
Capping the end of LaSalle Street and all of its neoclassical buildings is the imposing art deco tower of the Chicago Board of Trade. Built in 1930 by Holabird and Root, this is the second Board of Trade building to be constructed on the site. (Its predecessor, was designed by William W. Boyington in 1885 when traders' needs outgrew the building's space.) High atop the building is a statue of Ceres, the Roman god of wheat, glorifying the largest futures market in the world. Due to heightened concern regarding terrorist attatcks, the CBOT Visitor Center is closed to the public, however pre-arranged visits are available.
Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery is a worthy addition to the architectural marvel that is the James R. Thompson Center. Like the Center since its completion in 1985, the gallery too continues to try its level best in being post-modern in nature and subsequent mass appeal. With over 25 artists lined up, the influences for their contemporary works paradoxically lie deep in history. To showcase contemporary works, the gallery does not restrict itself to the electronic domain as decorative and even art on quilt finds a home at the ISM Gallery. Kindly check website for ongoing and future events.
Owners Algy Williams and Charley Belloc Lowndes have provided Chicago with original British 20th-century art since their gallery opened in 1995. View sculptures, drawings, paintings and prints reflecting London, Cornish and Scottish styles. Williams and Belloc Lowndes are extremely knowledgeable about the vast number of artists represented in the gallery and always eager to discuss the work on display. Ben Whitehouse is one of the latest featured artists.