Chicago Cultural Center Announces Free Arts and Music Programming for Fall and Holiday Season

September 13, 2022

Matthew Bryant

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The People’s Palace Invites Chicagoans and Visitors to Enjoy New Fall and Holiday Season Programming and Events, in Addition to Year-Long, Free Arts Programming, Lectures and Tours Throughout the Building

DCASE Announces an Immersive Exhibition by Luftwerk, the Artist Lineup for a New "Under the Dome” Concert and Holiday Shopping at the Buddy Store


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 fall and winter throughout the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St).

In addition to ongoing, year-long programming, the announcement of the fall and winter programming includes a new immersive exhibition “Exact Dutch Yellow” by Luftwerk, a Chicago-based collaborative, that plays on color theory and will transform Exhibit Hall into a chromatic experience; the full “Under the Dome” concert lineup that features performances by prominent artists KAINA and Mick Jenkins; and holiday gifts and programming at the Buddy store including a special holiday ornament show and one-of-a-kind gifts from Chicago. “Continuing its commitment to providing free, engaging programming for Chicagoans and visitors alike, the Chicago Cultural Center invites guests to experience the many facets of art and culture that the City of Chicago has to offer,” said DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “The Cultural Center has long served as the heart of the city’s cultural landscape, and we’re thrilled to announce our full slate of fall and winter programming schedule, which includes breathtaking visual art, show-stopping musical performances and so much more.”


Visual Art Exhibitions:

“Exact Dutch Yellow” by Luftwerk

Taking place in Exhibit Hall (New Dates) October 22, 2022 through January 29, 2023, “Exact Dutch Yellow” is a new immersive exhibition by the Chicago-based collaborative Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero of Luftwerk. A play on words and the act of naming, Exact Dutch Yellow references the inherent difficulties that have always accompanied the classification of color. When the noted English biologist Charles Darwin embarked on his now famous journey aboard the HMS Beagle in the early nineteenth century, he brought along one of the earliest and most influential books to attempt a taxonomic guide to the colors of the natural world: Patrick Syme’s Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours (1814). Based on the groundbreaking work of German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, Darwin used the book extensively to help describe flora and fauna he observed, but occasionally improvised the naming of colors, changing for example Werner’s “Dutch Orange,” to “Exact Dutch Yellow.” The title of the exhibition speaks to the subjectivity of description and gives visitors the opportunity to explore light and color to reflect on their connection to the natural world, while thinking about the relationship between colors and the subjective nature of naming them.

Throughout exhibition’s run, Exhibit Hall will feature a series of immersive color and light installations using botanical colors in combination with color changing light conditions that transform into abstracted, atmospheric experiences. Using natural pigments and exploring the phenomenon of light and color in the sky, “Exact Dutch Yellow” is informed by a holistic perception of the natural world and an interconnected ecology.

A to-be-named, site-specific installation by cello artists Katinka Kleijn and Lia Kohl is set to be developed this fall during a residency at Joshua Tree and will be on view at “Exact Dutch Yellow” from November 4 to November 21. As artists who are not only technicians of the cello but its companions and collaborators, Kleijn and Kohl’s exploration is deeply personal, where the body of the cello is a corollary to their own. While their previous work together has been performative, they imagine the culmination of this new piece as a gallery show that exists in conversation between live performance and their time in the desert, including videos, recordings and performance-ephemera-as-sculpture reactivated in the space.

An artist panel discussion entitled The Ephemerality of Light and Sound featuring Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, in addition to Kleijn and Kohl and moderated by Marin R. Sullivan is scheduled for Saturday, November 12 at 2:00pm.


"Nelly Agassi: No Limestone, No Marble"

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, giving guests the opportunity to reflect on spaces and their history over time. 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. The exhibition is slated to run from September 24, 2022 through January 15, 2023 and is funded in part by Artis. Programming to accompany the exhibition will take place as follows:

  • Performance: Sunday, October 9: Nelly Agassi and Ryan Packard. G.A.R. Rotunda and Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, 3-4pm.
  • Performance: Saturday, October 29. Lampo: John McCowen. Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, 3-4pm.
  • Gallery Talk: Wednesday November 9, Curator, Ionit Behar, Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, 12:15pm.
  • Gallery Talk: Saturday, November 12, Artist Nelly Agassi in conversation with curator Ionit Behar and designer Andrew Schachman, Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, 3-4pm.


“Artists First: 25 Years of Studio Art at Thresholds”

Taking place in the Cultural Center’s Michigan Avenue Galleries, “Artists First: 25 Years of Studio Art at Thresholds” honors the opportunity this community-based mental health services program has provided to Illinois artists with mental illness and substance use disorders through its art studio programs over the past 25 years. Artists First introduces a compelling group of outstanding artists who are living with challenges and building from them daily; making work that speaks directly to our shared humanity and intersectional diversity, all while building their practices and stabilizing their lives. The exhibition is slated to run from October 1 through January 8 and will be accompanied by the Symposium Series: Inclusivity for Artists with Disabilities. In-person panels will be held in the Claudia Cassidy Theater from 10:00am to 12:30pm and via livestream from 10:30am to 12:00pm Central. Programming is as follows:

  • October 15: The Relationship Between Art Making and Mental Health
  • November 19: The Ethics of Exhibiting Artists with Neurodevelopmental Health Disabilities
  • December 10: How Artists with Disabilities Fit into the Greater Art World

Sponsored by Kiyoko Lerner & the Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Held in tandem with the Chicago Cultural Center exhibition, Artists First: Twenty-Five Years of Studio Art at Thresholds. Co-presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.


Music Programming:

Under the Dome

Giving guests the opportunity to uplift and celebrate Chicago talent together under the stunning Preston Bradley Hall dome for the first time, the inaugural Under the Dome features special musical performances in the Hall’s Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome – the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Details at Performances will take place beginning at 6:30pm on Thursday, October 27 and will feature:

  • KAINA (6:30-7:15pm)
    • KAINA is a first-generation Latina, born and raised in Chicago. Since the release of her debut EP “sweet asl” in 2016, she has created generational music that surpasses borders through a unified expression of her native Chicago coupled with her Venezuelan and Guatemalan heritage. From collaborating with peers like Saba, The O’My’s and Sen Morimoto, and through multidisciplinary work around the city with various organizations, she has found a sound that is gentle, yet full of intent.
  • Mick Jenkins (7:30-8:30pm)
    • Critically-acclaimed Chicago rapper, Mick Jenkins moved to the city at a young age and became embedded in its fabric and quickly benefitted from its array of opportunities for young creatives. Synthesizing early-20th century poets with hip-hop’s most powerful voices, his music explores things that humans feel on an intuitive level but struggle to fully understand. His debut album, “The Healing Component,” was released in 2016, followed by “Pieces of a Man” in 2018 and “Elephant in the Room” in 2021.


Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music

Celebrated as part of the World Music Festival Chicago, the tenth Ragamala at Chicago’s Cultural Center will take place beginning at 6:00pm on Friday, September 30 through 8:00am on Saturday, October 1. An all-ages celebration of classical Indian music, Ragamala will feature performances by Indrajit Banerjee, Rupak Kulkarni, Anupama Bhagwat, Roopa Mahadevan and more. Ragamala is presented by DCASE in collaboration with South Asia Institute, South Asian Classical Music Society of Chicago and People of Rhythm Productions.


Film Programming:

The newly renovated, state-of-the-art Claudia Cassidy Theater, located on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, hosts free screenings year-round.

The Summer Screenings Program concludes the season with Ear for Eye on September 14, Celluloid Now September 17 and 18, in partnership with Chicago Film Society, and My Father Marianne/Min Pappa Marianne on September 21.

The Fall and Winter film programming is detailed below and the full film schedule can be found at


Opening Night of the Various Artists Independent Film Festival

Friday, October 7, 2022, 6-9pm

Presented in partnership with the Various Artists Independent Film Festival

VAiFF kicks off their 2022 festival with live jazz music and spoken word performance from the Hip Hop ensemble Kuumba Lynx. They will premiere the 2021 VAiFF Production Grant Winner, Cesar Ramirez's film "IndiviDUALITY". Featuring special guest, Carl Jones (actor, writer, showrunner, and director known for The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, The Last O.G.) who will make special announcement for independent filmmakers.


Classic Cambodian Film Screenings

Sunday, October 30, 2022, 10am-5pm

Presented in partnership with the National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial

Join us for a double feature screening of two classic prewar films: Mother's Heart and Thavary Meas Bong. Screening for the first time in Chicago, these films are a celebration of early Cambodian filmmakers' ingenuity, craftsmanship, and talents. These early filmmakers' aim was to make films that Cambodian audiences would be proud to watch but never did they imagine anything beyond the regional screening. As with many Asian Americans, especially Southeast Asian communities, there are many stigmas attached to their parents' generation of war and related trauma. These films highlight a positive cultural production of their own heritage.


Doc Chicago 2022

Saturday, November 5, 2022, 10am-5pm

Presented in partnership with Percolator Films

The DOC CHICAGO mini-conference brings regional documentary filmmakers together to exchange ideas, learn, and connect. From panels to film screenings and community conversations, DOC CHICAGO offers a gathering place for documentary filmmakers to gain new insights and strengthen our connections across the region.


Opening Night of Shortcuts 100 Film Festival

Friday, November 11, 2022, 6pm-9pm

Presented in partnership with Nebula Creatives

The Shortcut 100 International Film Festival is an annual showcase dedicated to promoting the best in independent short film from emerging filmmakers. For the same amount of time as an average feature film (around 100 minutes) audiences get access to the up-and-coming voices and artistic visions of independent cinema from around the world.


Arts Programming:

On the heels of the stunning renovation of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall, completed in 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. In observation of 2022 as the City’s “Year of Healing,” DCASE highlights the role of arts and healing arts practitioners and continues its work to honor the purpose of the G.A.R. rooms. All Resilience Series events have Open Captioning.

Resilience Series 2022

  • 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.
  • Elevated Sound Meditation: Mediate to Increase Resilience with Mecca Perry
    • Monday, December 19 6-7pm
    • The sounds and vibrations created with this Elevated Sound Meditation invite gentle yet powerful therapeutic and restorative balance to the mind and body. Sound meditation has the capacity to lessen psychological stress, relieve brain fog, and access your inner guidance by deepening your connection to your intuition. Relax and meditate with the sounds curated by Mecca of Elevated Meditation Studio.



Located on the Randolph Street (north) first-floor lobby, the Welcome Center continues its popular CULTURE SNAPS series, which gives Chicagoans and visitors the opportunity to celebrate each neighborhood’s unique cultural identity, featuring creative people, places, and things from across Chicago. Highlighting seven publicly nominated resident artists and organizations through April, the program takes place each first and third Friday and Saturday of each month from 2:00 to 3:00pm, inviting guests to join in on the celebration of the work. While there, attendees can get involved by nominating a person, place or thing that that they believe makes their Chicago neighborhood arts and culture scene great. Please visit for details.

This October (1st, 14th, 15th) highlights CodeCreate, an organization founded by leading contemporary artists and designers that apply methods and perspectives to engage with audiences through meaningful considerations of the intersections of art, technology and other forms of diversity.

November (4th, 5th, 18th, 19th) highlights local artist Louis Barak. Barak has worked with community grassroots organizations to design and install beautiful murals during the Covid-19 pandemic, free of charge, with a strong emphasis on the Englewood and Back of the Yards neighborhoods to uplift these communities.

In December (2nd, 3rd, 16th, 17th), the neighborhood of Hermosa will be highlighted through the Segundo Ruiz Cultural Center, the longest standing Latino cultural center in Chicago that preserves and promotes appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico and Latin America, with a focus on its African heritage.


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, giving Cultural Center visitors the opportunity to meet Chicago artists face to face and participate in an art making experience led by the current artist in residence. The Learning Lab currently features Indira Johnson’s “Ten Thousand Ripples” through October 15, followed by “Cultivating Chicago’s Disability Dance Community” with Maggie Bridger from October 28 to November 26.


Cultural Center Tours

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


Buddy Store

Buddy ( at the Chicago Cultural Center supports more than 200 local artists and small manufacturers selling Chicago-made art, objects, and more. This collaboration between Public Media Institute and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) furthers both institutions’ goals of providing visibility and opportunities to artists across the Chicagoland area. Through exhibitions, talks, workshops, performances, readings, and product launches, Buddy will work to bring the creative output of our city’s neighborhoods to the city center for visitors and locals alike to consume. Buddy is a place that introduces the world to the people making it happen in Chicago, a place that helps them create a sustainable world we all want to work, play, and live in.

For the 2022 Holiday Season, Buddy will present “Ornaments for All,” its second annual one-of-a-kind ornament show featuring work from more than 30 Chicago artists from November 18 to December 31, with an opening reception scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 from 5:00 to 8:30pm.

In addition to “Ornaments for All,” Buddy will also offer special, bespoke holiday gifts from Chicago makers for every shopping list, including the Pizza for Everyone cookbook from Crust Fund Pizza, a Loop Tote from Buddy MFG and Neatline Cartography, Hand Carved Wood Bowls and Utensils from Anne Farlee and Potato Candles from Luba Mendelevich.

Buddy’s store hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm.


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About 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.


The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city — to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city — serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.

DCASE programming is supported by the Chicago Transit Authority.