Chicago Cultural Center Opens Newly Renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater and Announces Summer and Fall Season of Free Film and Arts Programming

June 24, 2022

Madeline Long, Director of Communications

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The “People’s Place” Invites Locals and Visitors to Enjoy Free Arts Programming, Lectures, and Tours Throughout the Building


Chicago Cultural Center

 A Transformed Claudia Cassidy Theater Features New, State-of-the-Art Film, Sound, and Lighting Equipment—All Admission Free


CHICAGO— The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced an abundant lineup of free film, music, and art programming, along with tours, lectures, and more taking place this summer and fall throughout the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St).

The announcement of the summer and fall programming is coupled with the unveiling of the newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater, located on the second floor of the Cultural Center. Following a year-long construction period, the 200-seat multi-purpose theater has been transformed with all new theater seats and major technology upgrades, including a state-of-the-art movie projector, screen, and speaker system. The finishing touches include major improvements to the stage lighting, upgraded acoustic panels, and a new curtain system for the stage.

“The transformation of the Claudia Cassidy Theater is yet another reason why the Chicago Cultural Center is such an invaluable resource for Chicagoans and visitors. With these much-needed upgrades to the Cassidy Theater, we’re pleased to be able to host world-class film in what is now a world-class theater space,” shared DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “DCASE is activating every level of the historic Chicago Cultural Center with free dynamic and engaging programming for all ages all year round.”


Film Programming:

The newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater, located on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, hosts free screenings year-round. A sample of planned events in the theater can be found below. The full schedule can be found at


2022 Summer Screenings Program

  • Wednesdays, July 13 – September 21 at 6:30 pm
  • Presented in partnership with Cinema/Chicago,
  • A free, 18-week international film series featuring:
    • July 13: Small Country: An African Childhood/Petit pays (France)
    • July 20: Memories of My Father/El olvido que seremos (Colombia)
    • July 27: The Legend of Molly Johnson (Australia)
    • August 3: Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands (USA)
    • August 10: The Book of Fish/Jasaneobo (South Korea).
    • August 17: Poupelle of Chimney Town/Entotsu machi no Poupelle (Japan)
    • August 24: Let It Be Morning/Vayehi Boker (Israel)
    • August 31: I Don’t Wanna Dance (The Netherlands)
    • September 7: Chen Uen (Taiwan)
    • September 14: Ear for Eye (United Kingdom)
    • September 21: My Father Marianne/Min pappa Marianne (Sweden)


Short Films: Dancing with Disability

  • Saturday, July 23, 2022, 1-5pm
  • Presented in partnership with ReinventAbility
  • Celebrates the City’s “Year of Chicago Dance”


For the Left Hand

  • Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 6:30pm
  • Presented in partnership with the Grant Park Music Festival & Kartemquin Films


Live at Mister Kelly's

  • Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 6:30pm
  • Presented in partnership with the Chicago Jazz Festival


Autumn Moon Festival & Opening Day of Asian Pop-up Cinema Film Festival

  • Saturday, September 10, 2022, 10am-5pm
  • Presented in partnership with the Asian Pop-up Cinema Film Festival


Chicago Made Professional Development Series

  • Thursday, July 14, 2022, 5:30-7pm
  • “Backstory”, an interactive panel discussion that takes a deep dive into the backstories of several Chicagoans who have made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.
  • Presented in partnership with Mustard Seed Vision and Chicago Made.
  • Additional details are available at


Arts Programming:

On the heels of the stunning renovation of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall this past March, the historic space will be activated with the new Resilience Series 2022. Offered the 2nd Monday of each month July through December, this free series aims to build resilience through artist-led sessions of various creative modalities.

The Resilience Series is open to anyone interested in exploring art as a healing practice. With 2022 being the City’s “Year of Healing,” DCASE highlights the role of arts and healing arts practitioners and continues our work honoring the purpose of the G.A.R. rooms. All Resilience Series events have Open Captioning.

A sample of arts events taking place at the Cultural Center is included below:


Resilience Series 2022

  • Elevated Sound Meditation with Mecca Perry
    • Monday, July 11, 6-7pm
    • Using sound as a form of healing dates to ancient cultures. The sounds and vibrations of the Gong and Djembe will elevate your mood, improve your stress level and invite joy into your experience. Participants are encouraged to bring their hand-held drums, a bottle of water, and exercise mats.
  • Matchbook Memorials: Reflections on Resilience with Cabinet of Curiosity
    • Monday, August 8, 6-7pm
    • A craft project for all ages—guests are invited to bring photos, tokens, and objects which recall someone they wish to celebrate. Everyone will receive a how-to document (in English and Spanish) and supplies to build their own Matchbook Memorial.
  • Emotional Alchemy: A Breath & Movement Workshop with Kiam Marcelo
    • Monday, September 12, 6-7pm
    • Combining techniques from yoga, butoh dance, and mindfulness practices, Kiam will lead attendees through an embodied journey through time, space, and emotional landscapes to grow the body’s capacity for abundance, resilience, and joy. Come to the co-creative space prepared to move your body.
  • Creating Fertile Grounds for Healing with Red Clay Dance
    • Monday, October 10 & November 14, 6-7pm
    • Using the company’s Creating Fertile Grounds for Healing framework, participants will explore healing and resilience building tools found in the practices of urban agricultural work. These workshops are intergenerational and filled with song, music, dialogue, movement, and meditation. Dress comfortably and prepared for light movement.



  • Located on the Randolph Street (north) first-floor lobby, the Welcome Center continues its popular CULTURE SNAPS series featuring creative people, places, and things from across Chicago.
  • There will be seven featured artists/organizations showcased from July 2022-April 2023 who were awarded the CULTURE SNAPS residency by a public nomination.
  • This July highlights the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, a hub for creativity on Chicago’s Far South Side with artist demos by Dalton Brown (July 1 & 15), Brendan McAlinden (July 2), and Paul Branton (July 16).
  • In August, CULTURE SNAPS spotlights Divine Purpose Fine Arts, offering affordable arts programming that supports young people in the development of their unique skills and talents.
  • Programs take place the 1st and 3rd Friday and Saturday of each month from 2-3pm; visit for details.


Learning Lab

  • The Learning Lab, housed on the first floor is an interactive studio that offers sights, sounds, and experiences for visitors of all ages and a wide range of abilities.
  • The “Meet an Artist” series continues on the 2nd and 4th Friday and Saturday of the month from 12–2pm, featuring William Estrada this July 8, 9 & 22.



  • Buddy ( at the Chicago Cultural Center (current store hours Tuesday – Saturday from 11am–5pm) supports more than 200 local artists and small manufacturers selling Chicago-made art, objects, and more.
  • Buddy, a project of Public Media Institute in collaboration with DCASE, is “a shop, a hub for making connections between friends we have and those we have yet to meet.”
  • Don’t miss their new show, Ways to Plant (July 9 - August 31) featuring plants and artist-made planters from Chicago artists Liz Born, Ike Floor, Javier Jasso, David Kim, Kimberly Kim, Joe Kraft, Nicole Marroquin, Liz McCarthy, Lola Ogbara, Ebere Agwuncha, Tamara Becerra Valdez, and Francisca Villagrana.


Visual Art Exhibitions:

"Nelly Agassi: No Limestone, No Marble"

  • Chicago Rooms
  • September 24, 2022 - February 26, 2023
  • Nelly Agassi’s solo exhibition, “No Limestone, No Marble” is a site-specific installation in the monumental Chicago Rooms gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center, curated by Ionit Behar and designed by Andrew Schachman. Israeli-born Chicago-based artist Agassi calls this project a “biography of the site” in which she develops a personal relationship with the past, present, and future history of a place in connection to her own. With this methodology, Agassi “sculpts” the site as a material, and creates a project from the specificity of the place in relation to the city of Chicago and the institution’s impact. A publication and performances are being planned in conjunction with this exhibition.


“Jin Lee: Views & Scenes”

  • Chicago Rooms
  • Through August 7, 2022
  • A one-person exhibition by Chicago photographer Jin Lee featuring a series of photographs that closely examine landscapes and built environments around Chicago.
  • The exhibit brings together four bodies of work: “Train Views” — images made during the artist’s weekly two-hour Amtrak commute between Chicago and Bloomington/Normal; “Great Water” — views of Lake Michigan taken from a single location on the South Side of Chicago; “Salt Mountains” — images of piles and mounds of salt and dirt found on storage sites around the city; and “Weeds” — a collection of portraits of wild plants that grow in alleys and empty lots in a neighborhood.
  • July 13 (12:15pm): Jin Lee Gallery Talk led by DCASE Program Director Daniel Schulman


“An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman”

  • Michigan Avenue Galleries
  • Through September 4, 2022
  • With brilliant color and provocative forms, the artists in “An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman” — an exhibition by Leslie Baum, Diana Christiansen and Selina Trepp with Annie Morse — suggest an alternate universe, at once familiar and surreal, seen through the prism of their invention.
  • Echoes of landscape, still life, and psychological portraiture reside in resolutely abstract works.
  • July 23 (12-1pm & 1-2pm) Visual Arts Exhibition Programming Performance by Diane Christiansen, Steve Dawson, and Alton Smith


CAB Studio

  • First Floor
  • Ongoing
  • The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) presents the CAB Studio—a year-round exhibition space located on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center. Currently on display is the “Architecture of Reparations,” by New York-based collaborative Riff Studio, including designers Rekha Auguste-Nelson, Farnoosh Rafaie, and Isabel Strauss. Details at



Under the Dome

  • Preston Bradley Hall
  • October 27 from 6:30-9pm
  • Musicians (to be announced in the coming weeks) will perform under the Hall’s Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome — the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Details at



Building tours reveal the storied history of the landmark Chicago Cultural Center – offered year-round on Thursdays and Fridays at 1:15pm. Tours are free and led by volunteer docents. Tours of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) are offered every Thursday & Friday at 1:15pm highlighting the remarkable history and restoration of the G.A.R. Hall and Rotunda (including one of the building's two stained-glass domes). Go inside "the People's Palace" with cultural historian Tim Samuelson in this video tour. More tour information at


The Chicago Cultural Center
Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions, and family events. In 1991, the building was established as the Chicago Cultural Center by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free international, national, regional, and local artists, musicians, and performers, providing a showcase where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts.


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 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. Visit

DCASE programming is supported by the Chicago Transit Authority and Millennium Garages.


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