Chicago Cultural Center 2019 Exhibition Schedule

December 11, 2018

Highlights include African American Designers in Chicago, goat island archive and the 3rd Chicago Architecture Biennial

Christine Carrino, 312.744.0573


Admission to the Chicago Cultural Center and Exhibitions is FREE


Everyone’s a Designer/Everyone’s Design

Through February 3, 2019

Room 108, 1st Floor South

Presented as part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, "Everyone’s a Designer/Everyone’s Design" is a free traveling museum exhibition that explores and celebrates everyday Chicagoans’ influence on art and design in the city. Travelling across Chicago’s Cultural Centers, the exhibition tells the stories of five people, the homes they’ve made uniquely their own, and the rich design and architectural history of their neighborhoods. For more information, visit

Friday, December 21, noon–2pm: Learning Lab Meet an Artist

Saturday, January 12, 1–3:30pm: Live Storytelling


African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race

Through March 3, 2019

Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North

Featuring work from a wide range of practices including cartooning, sign painting, architectural signage, illustration, graphic design, exhibit design and product design, this exhibition is the first to demonstrate how African American designers remade the image of the black consumer and the work of the black artist in this major hub of American advertising/consumer culture. African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race is funded in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, as part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy.

Thursday, January 3, 12:15–1pm: Gallery Talk with Historian Chris Dingwall

Saturday, January 5, 1:30–3pm: Panel Discussion, "The Archive, the Gallery and the Practices of Public History" 

Thursday, January 17, 12:15–1pm: Gallery Talk with Curator Daniel Schulman

Thursday, February 21, 12:15–1pm: Gallery Talk with Curator Daniel Schulman


Keep Moving: Designing Chicago's Bicycle Culture

Through March 3, 2019

Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St. (across the street from the Chicago Cultural Center)

Just before the turn of the century, the popularity of the bicycle in America was at an apex and the majority of American-made bicycles were being produced by Chicago-based manufacturers. Through designed items such as advertisements, brands, objects and spaces, this exhibition looks at how design has shaped how Americans think about bicycles – something familiar to us all.

Thursday, December 6, 6–7pm: Gallery Talk “Beauty and the Bike: The Impact of Recreational Changes on Park Designs”

Saturday, December 15, 1:30–2:30pm: Gallery Talk “From Bloomers to Pedal Pushers to Rompers: Riding Bikes in Style”

Tuesday, January 22, 6–7pm: Panel Talk “Biking for Change and Empowerment”


Chicago! The Play, The Movies, The Musical...The Murders

Opening January 26

Randolph Lobby, 1st Floor North

The play Chicago originally premiered on the New York’s Broadway stage in 1926. Since that time, it has been reshaped into three major motion pictures, and a long-running musical still popular on Broadway today. Lead characters Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly have become almost folkloric figures associated with the play’s namesake city. Not as well-known is the fact that the characters were based on two real-life murderesses of 1920s Chicago, and that playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins based it on her experiences as a Chicago Tribune reporter. On display will be seldom-seen posters, photographs and original artifacts documenting the play’s evolution over the past nine decades.


Cecil McDonald, Jr.: In the Company of Black

January 19–April 14, 2019

Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North

Over the course of seven years, artist and educator Cecil McDonald, Jr. photographed people he describes as “extraordinarily ordinary.” As the artist explains, “When it comes to Black people, America is fascinated with extreme poles: either showing victims of violence, pain, and poverty (Black misery) or famous athletes and entertainers, and icons of popular culture (Black exceptionalism). This false dichotomy denies Black people the individuality and full spectrum of humanity that is so readily offered to the white population in this country." The photographs of In the Company of Black live in the space between, including tender moments with McDonald's daughters, informal portraits of his friends and collaborators and references to music, art, history and popular culture.

Thursday, February 7, 12:15–1pm: Gallery Talk with Curator Greg Lunceford

Sunday, April 14, 2–5pm: Closing with House Music DJ



February 2–April 7, 2019

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Curated by Filter Photo, Furtive is a photography-based exhibition that explores the complexity of memory, both personal and collective.  Through an examination of place, archive and the intersection of perception and knowing, artists Daniel Hojnacki, Karolis Usonis, and Krista Wortendyke ask us to reconsider what we think we know based on our past experiences, communal knowledge and memory.  By using photography as a conceptual tool rather than an objective medium for documentation these artists are able to examine and question our collective use of photography in the making of both memories and histories. For more information, visit

Saturday, February 2, 1–3pm: Opening

Furtive is a DCASE ArtsSpace collaboration, providing exhibition space and support to Chicago arts organizations through an application process.


In Good Company

February 2–April 7, 2019

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

In Good Company is a group exhibition presented by Arts of Life. This exhibition seeks to highlight the mutually beneficial relationships and connections that develop within the Arts of Life studios. In Good Company features seven Arts of Life studio artists and four community volunteers, and includes work that has been developed both independently and collaboratively. The ongoing collaborations between studio artists and community volunteers are fundamental to the success of both individual practices and the overall health of the organization. This exhibition showcases the way in which these partnerships develop and thrive around a person-centric model. Arts of Life advances the creative arts community by providing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities a collective space to expand their practice and strengthen their leadership. For more information, visit

Saturday, February 2, 1–3pm: Opening

Thursday February 21, 5:30–6:30pm: Gallery Talk

In Good Company is a DCASE ArtsSpace collaboration, providing exhibition space and support to Chicago arts organizations through an application process.


Forgotten Forms

February 2–April 7, 2019

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Forgotten Forms is a collaborative exhibition between members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Investigating seemingly everyday objects to reveal a much greater story about neighborhood identity, placemaking and city life, the exhibition highlights the work of two emerging artists, both of whom explore structural elements of urban landscapes. Edra Soto revisits Puerto Rico’s vernacular architecture through her GRAFT installations and architectural interventions, and Yhelena Hall touches on the history of Chicago and explores a marginal state of detritus becoming artifacts through her series Polished Remnants. For more information, visit

Saturday, February 2, 1–3pm: Opening

Forgotten Forms is a DCASE ArtsSpace collaboration, providing exhibition space and support to Chicago arts organizations through an application process.


goat island archive–we have discovered the performance by making it
Performance Space and Activations

February 1–June 23, 2019

Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North


March 30–June 23, 2019

Exhibition Hall, 4th Floor North

Throughout the 23 years of its existence (1986–2009), the Chicago-based Goat Island contributed to the conception of nine major performance works, accompanied by publications, film and video projects, workshops, summer schools, lectures and symposia, inventing a complex institution bigger than the individual works. Freed from prescribed narrative and dialog, the work of Goat Island is built slowly in a creative process informed by repetition, chance and individual perception. Their democratic, shared activations continue to influence generations of artists, theatre makers, cultural theorists and social philosophers.

In conjunction with the city's Year of Chicago Theatre, nine national and international performance groups and artists have been commissioned to develop and present new work, each inspired by one of Goat Island's original performances. The works-in-progress will be presented at partner cultural venues throughout Chicago as part of the IN>TIME Festival, and “final” works will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center's Sidney R. Yates Gallery, which will be transformed into a scale re-imagining of the church gymnasium where the collective rehearsed. A tenth performance, created as a composite of “Missing Scenes” from the prior nine works, will be presented in June during a week of concluding events. The accompanying exhibition in the Chicago Cultural Center's Exhibition Hall will present archival materials that reflect Goat Island's generative and pedagogic processes and still invite consideration and reinterpretation.

Friday, March 29, 6–9pm: Opening Preview


National Veterans Art Museum Triennial: On War & Survival

May 2–July 29, 2019

Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, and Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

With a focus on the visual, literary, performative and creative practices of veterans, the National Veterans Art Museum Triennial explores a century of war and survival while challenging the perception that war is something only those who have served in the military can comprehend. Throughout history, art has provided a frame to create meaning out of the complicated experience of war, seek justice and imagine reconciliation. The NVAM Triennial draws on this history to connect today’s veteran artists with the history of veteran creative practices and their impact on society over the past century. The exhibition coincides with the Veteran Art Summit happening in Chicago May 2–5, with additional presentations, workshops, panels and discussions happening at the National Veterans Art Museum and the DePaul Museum. For more information, visit


3rd Chicago Architecture Biennial

September 19, 2019–January 5, 2020

Chicago Cultural Center and other citywide locations

For the 3rd edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, artistic director Yesomi Umolu and co-curators Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares will highlight the transformative global impact of creativity and innovation across creative fields. As the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America, previous editions of the Biennial drew more than a half-million visitors to free exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and elsewhere that featured the ideas of 140 practitioners from more than 20 countries, including many from Chicago.


Bronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago’s African American Music


Garland Gallery, 1st Floor South

Explore Chicago’s music legacy through ragtime, jazz and blues in an exhibition that highlights the contributions of important places and people that shaped the music scene. Seldom-seen original artifacts will be on display including sheet-music, rare 1920s records with quirky period graphics–and even the original 1932 telephone booth from the old Sunset/Grand Terrace Café from which the actual music can be heard. The scope is broad and surprising–Ragtime morphs into jazz, Blues transforms into modern gospel, and it all echoes throughout the contemporary genres of House and Hip Hop.


Learning Lab, January–March, 2019

Open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am–3pm

1st Floor South (Across from the Garland Gallery)

The Learning Lab is a place to engage and experiment with all aspects of DCASE cultural programming. Meet and engage with artists! Watch archival footage of guests at past DCASE events on a vintage TV set. Hear the sounds of upcoming DCASE music festivals. Feel the artifacts and sumptuous materials used to create this golden age building and more!

Meet an Artist Activities

Engage with artists connected to various exhibitions, programs and initiatives presented by DCASE.

Select Fridays, Noon–2pm

  • Friday, January 4: Erin Cramer and the Flying Creatures
  • Friday, January 18: Erin Cramer and the Flying Creatures
  • Friday, February 1: Design Museum of Chicago
  • Friday, February 15: Arts of Life
  • Friday, March 15: Chicago Cultural Alliance

Select Saturdays, 1–3pm

  • Saturdays, January 5–March 2: Project Osmosis
  • Saturday, March 16: Filter Photo
  • Saturday, March 23: Arts of Life


All exhibitions and performances at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, are presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Building hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; closed holidays. Admission is FREE. For information, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ChiCulturCenter.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit


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