A couple friends and I ventured to Chicago museums that have free admission through the Arts Pass program. Thanks to special partnerships with some of the best cultural institutions in Chicago, the Arts Pass program provides students with free admission as well as discounts at over 70 theater, music, dance, visual art, and cultural institutions throughout the city.
Over the course of several hours, we visited the Poetry Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), and the Art Institute of Chicago. Once we arrived downtown, the main business district of Chicago only a short public transportation ride away, we walked to each of these organizations. First, at the Poetry Foundation, we were delighted by the courtyard and stunning glass architecture. Inside, there was a floor to ceiling library filled with published works of poetry as well as a changing art exhibit.
We then walked past a bustling Michigan Avenue to the MCA. The MCA is huge and full of many different exhibit spaces -- sculptures, paintings, and interactive media. The biggest exhibit is a recent installation about how media affects our society called I was Raised on the Internet. Beyond this specific visit, my friends and I enjoy going to "Tuesdays on the Terrace” throughout the summer, when jazz musicians play on the MCA’s outdoor terrace. As an added bonus for the events, the MCA provides refreshments.
Lastly, we saw the world-famous Art Institute, renowned for its works from Cezanne, Picasso, and Monet, to name a few. Impressionism, modern, Greek, oriental, and sculpture are all styles covered in the long halls and endless galleries of the Art Institute. I could’ve dedicated a whole separate day there (if not more). I am consistently using my Arts Pass at the Art Institute to feel inspired by historical leaders of art. I’ve even used my Arts Pass to attend class inside the museum. We've had art history lectures right in front of the paintings!
All of these incredible institutions are completely free to view and experience with a UChicago ID. Chicago’s art scene is both a national staple––with its classical housing of iconic works in the Art Institute––and is constantly shifting with contemporary works of all media in the MCA and Poetry Foundation. And, during the academic year, UChicago leads quarterly trips to the Art Institute through the Arts Pass program. Once at the Art Institute, students are given a pen and notebook to write down ideas or make sketches. Who knows? Your work may be on the museum wall one day!