Chicago Cultural Center Announces Open House Series Kicking Off June 15—Plus New Music, Visual Art and Dance Programming for Summer

May 23, 2023

DCASE Communications

Download Photos

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Invites Visitors to
Experience an Evening of Arts, Music and Socializing with Open Houses


CHICAGO — The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) welcome new and returning free music performances, visual art exhibitions, film programming, and more this summer throughout the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St). Opening its doors after business hours, the new three-part Open House Series (June 15, Sept 29, Dec 9) invites guests to experience exciting art activations by DCASE’s artists in residence, DJs, shopping, socializing and more throughout the historic building.

Additional Chicago Cultural Center highlights—DCASE Presents: Chicago Underground Showcase featuring a free evening of underground talent playing the newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater, June 2. The Chicago House Music Conference returns to the Chicago Cultural Center, June 23, with panel discussions relating to the culture, art, and business of House Music. The powerful “Surviving the Long Wars: Reckon and Reimagine” exhibition extends through July 2 in the Exhibit Hall. New this June, the “Exquisite Canvas: Mural Takeover by Cecilia Beaven, Miguel Del Real, and Anna Murphy” exhibition opens in the Michigan Avenue Galleries.

Celebrate Chicago Dance Month by visiting the resident artists in our Dance Residency Open Studio Series featuring the works of artists such as Tango 21 and Christopher Knowlton. See Chicago Dance adds to the offerings with open studios on Fridays. The Chicago Film Office partners with Cinema/Chicago to present Summer Screenings, the annual free film series that casts a spotlight on a different country’s national cinema in the Claudia Cassidy Theater.

Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central library, the Chicago Cultural Center serves as a cultural hub for Chicagoans and visitors year-round with free arts programming, breathtaking architecture, and tours. Enclosed are details for the summer programming and events. Visit and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest events and updates.


New Music Programming:


DCASE Presents: Chicago Underground Showcase
Friday, June 2, 7-10pm (doors open at 6pm)
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North
Free; RSVPs recommended but not required. RSVP online
Photos >>

Chicago’s thriving underground music scene makes its debut at the Chicago Cultural Center. On June 2, four underground sensations will play the newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater in a one-night-only showcase. Local band Lightfoils will open things up with a rush of dense, rhythm driven sound meant to surround and embrace you. Followed by St. Louis’ Seashine, known for their sweet singing and sounds that inevitably cascade into peals of crashing guitar. Panda Riot’s dance-y dream pop and irresistible hooks will lead guests into Pink Frost, who are notorious for their intense and energetic sets.


Open House Series:


Chicago Cultural Center Open House: Social Spectacular
Thursday, June 15, 4-8pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Free; RSVPs recommended but not required. RSVP online

The first of the three-part Open House series presents a Social Spectacular throughout the Chicago Cultural Center. This June, the Open House series opens with an evening to experience free art activations, visual art residencies, performance art residencies, and a chance to interact with artists in residence at the Dance Studio and Learning Lab. The Open House also features DJ’s, hang out spaces, along with building tours. This will be an opportunity for guests to engage with featured artists and explore the building as it comes alive in art.

June 15: Open House Programming

4th Floor
Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North
4-8pm: Suspended Culture, Performance Art Residency

Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North
Until 7:45pm: “Surviving the Long Wars,” Visual Arts

2nd Floor
GAR Hall, 2nd Floor North
4-6pm: DJ Sparklmami
6-7:45pm: DJ Blesstonio
Hangout Space

Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North
5-7pm: DJ Kevin Cosgrove

1st Floor
Learning Lab, 1st Floor West
5-7pm: Aquil “AQ” Charlton, Meet an Artist Residency

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East
5-7:30pm: Exquisite Canvas: Mural Takeover by Cecilia Beaven, Miguel Del Real, and Anna Murphy, Meet the artists

Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), Open Office, Suite 100, Off Washington St. Lobby
5-7pm: Stop by for some cafecito, sweet treats and to learn more about CLATA’s Destinos and Inicios Festivals, and their work to increase visibility and sustainability of Latine theater artists in Chicago.

Welcome Center
5:30pm: Building Tour Meet Up
6-7pm: Welcome Party, CULTURE SNAPS Cohort 4

Dance Studio
6-7:45pm: Mad Dog, Dance Studio Resident

Randolph Square
4-7pm: Traveling Typewriter Lounge
4-8pm: Hangout space
4-7pm: Buddy Store (extended hours and 20% off sale)

Upcoming Open House dates: September 29, World Music Festival Ragamala Mash Up and December 9, Family Friendly Function.


Visual Art Exhibitions:


Upcoming: “Exquisite Canvas: Mural Takeover by Cecilia Beaven, Miguel Del Real, and Anna Murphy”
June 10 – July 30, 2023
Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the artistry and cultural tapestry that adorns walls and viaducts all over the city. For the first two weeks of the exhibition, the Michigan Avenue Galleries will be transformed into a dynamic urban landscape by three artists painting murals in the gallery space. Visitors will witness as the artists bring their unique visions to life right before their eyes. When completed, these captivating murals will reflect the indomitable spirit of Chicago with its diverse communities and rich artistic heritage.

Extended: “Surviving the Long Wars: Reckon and Reimagine”
Part of the second Veteran Art Triennial and Summit
Extended through July 2, 2023
Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North
Photos >>

Featuring powerful work of Indigenous artists responding to the “American Indian Wars” alongside artists from the Greater Middle East and its diasporas reacting to the "Global War on Terror,” the exhibition explores how these works complicate and relate to the creative practices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color veterans whose experiences profoundly challenge the dominant histories of these long wars.

Ongoing: “Reimagine Your Public Library”
Presented by the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB)
Open through June 2023
CAB Studio, 1st Floor North

As the Chicago Public Library (CPL), celebrates its 150th anniversary, this exhibition, “Reimagine Your Public Library”, by the Chicago-based non-profit Human Scale encourages a collaborative design process that reflects on the assets, needs, culture, and identity of communities and neighborhoods that can inform the design of a library.


Performance Art Residency:


Ongoing: “Suspended Culture”
Friday, July 7 & Saturday, July 8
Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North

Suspended Culture is an emerging Black art collective based in Chicago. As a collective of visionaries, their work together inhabits the liminal space of a dream. Throughout the residency, researchers, artists, community workers, healers, and community members are invited into the Yates Gallery to have conversations about Black sacred space, Black homemaking, and Black grounding, and to participate in the unfolding of the project. The work is inspired by and indebted to the work of The Nap Ministry (Tricia Hersey), bell hooks, and Audre Lorde.


New Film Programming:


Film Screening and Q&A: Born in Chicago
Friday, June 9, 2023
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Full-length documentary on the Chicago Blues, co‐directed by Emmy award-winner John Anderson with Bob Sarles. This event is part of the Chicago Blues Festival, Thursday June 8 - Sunday June 11.

CIX Industry Talks: Julia Oh: Producing Successful Arthouse Films
Friday, June 16, 2023
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Join Julia Oh (Producer: Titane, American Honey) for a candid in-depth conversation about getting distinctive independent films funded, produced, and distributed. Part of Cinema/Chicago’s year-round Chicago Industry Exchange program.

Cinema/Chicago’s Summer Screenings
Every Wednesday at 6:30pm, June 28 - September 20
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Visitors are invited to enjoy the annual free film series that casts a spotlight on a different country’s national cinema each week all summer. All Summer Screenings are free and open to the public. Each screening features a film from a different country and is co-presented by the Consulate of that country in Chicago. Free tickets are available to reserve beginning 16 days in advance of each screening. Tickets are also available in-person at the screening, based on availability. Hosted in association with Cinema/Chicago.

June 28 - Soft, Canada
July 5 - Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody, Ireland
July 12 - Gagarine, France
July 19 - The Dragon Defense, Colombia
July 26 - Our Midnight, South Korea
August 2 - Asako I & II, Japan

View the full schedule and reserve tickets at


Dance Programming:


Dance Residency Open Studio Series
Select Dates in June
Dance Studio, 1st Floor North
Photos >>

The public is invited into the Dance Studio to get a sneak peek at works-in-progress showings, artist talks, and more hosted by the current Chicago Cultural Center resident artists. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Walder Foundation. This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

June 3 & 24, 11am - Tango 21
June 5, 6pm - Robyn Mineko Williams
June 12, 6pm - Jean Wildest
June 13, 6pm – Christopher “Mad Dog” Thomas
June 25, 1pm - Christopher Knowlton
June 26, 6pm - Silvita Diaz Brown

See Chicago Dance: Open Studio
Fridays, June 9 - June 30
Dance Studio, 1st Floor North

Celebrate Chicago Dance Month each Friday in June at the Chicago Cultural Center. The public is invited to see artists at work, as they take up residency in the studio. Visitors may engage with the artists, have a firsthand look at their creative process, and enjoy their work.

June 9 - Such Creatures
June 16 - Helen Lee
June 23 - Shalaka Kulkarni
June 30 - Jamila Kinney


Additional Programming:


Gallery Talk: “Surviving the Long Wars”
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Preston Bradley Hall, Millennium Park, and Washington Rooms

Panel Discussion: Ramsey Lewis: Gentleman of Jazz
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Chicago House Music Conference
Friday, June 23, 2023
Throughout the building

The conference will present DJs and panel discussions, highlighting key industry topics and the various sounds and styles of House Music. Panels discussions include: Keynote Fireside Chat with Robert Owens; Queer Roots and Today’s Safe Spaces in Chicago’s House Music Scene; Played & Paid: Strategies for Monetizing Music and Promoting Successful Events; From House to Afro House to ‘Amapiano’! How South Africa’s Amapiano has become one of the hottest new music genres and why Chicago house is at the heart of it.; House Preservation Society: Safe Spaces, Historic Places, and Today's Emerging House Activists, Oh My! Find more information.

Saturday, July 22, 2023
Dance Studio, 1st Floor North

DisFest is an inclusive celebration of the arts with live performance and engagements by Chicago artists with disabilities. Programming includes films, dance, music, and more with opportunities to participate in improv, movement, and art activities. DisFest is produced by ReinventAbility.

Buddy Store

Located on the 1st floor, the Buddy store supports more than 200 local artists and small manufacturers selling Chicago-made art, objects, and more. This collaboration between Public Media Institute and DCASE furthers both institutions’ goals of providing visibility and opportunities to artists across the Chicagoland area. Details at

Ongoing: “Art 4 Sale: LATITUDE” Exhibition
Buddy’s series of curated exhibitions dedicated to specific themes, artists, products, and organizations rotating periodically throughout the year.
Through July

“Meet an Artist”
Offered the 2nd and 4th Friday and Saturday of each month
The Learning Lab, 1st Floor West

Visitors are invited to join Summer 2023 Artist in Residence, Aquil "AQ" Charlton, a musician and teaching artist, for several great DIY instrument making workshops and jam sessions with other collaborating artists. AQ will have a mobile studio set up to generate a library of sounds that will be woven into music and played through the sound dome in The Learning Lab. View the schedule on the website.


Building tours reveal the storied history of the landmark Chicago Cultural Center and are offered year-round on Thursdays and Fridays at 1:15pm. Tours are free and led by volunteer docents and/or staff. Limited to the first 25 people who sign up at the Randolph Street desk upon arrival.


Chicago Cultural Center
Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central library, the building was established as the Chicago Cultural Center, the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue, in 1991. One of the most visited attractions in Chicago, the stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free art exhibitions, performances, tours, lectures, family activities, music, and more – presented by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and many others. Learn about the latest events and news at and by following the Chicago Cultural Center on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
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.


# # #