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City of Chicago announces ‘Open Culture’ for safe summer fun

Posted  13 months ago  in  Trending

6 MIN READ – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago’s cultural community have announced “Open Culture” — the next phase of Open Chicago, the Mayor’s latest initiative to safely and fully reopen the city.  


Summer cultural events for Chicago residents and visitors alike will include a variety of activities. Music lovers will get a chance to experience “Chicago In Tune,” a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music, as well as concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion featuring the 2021 season of Grant Park Music Festival. Fans of dance will enjoy performances in Millennium Park by American Ballet Theatre presented by the Auditorium Theatre, Dance for Life presented by Chicago Dancers United, and partake in neighborhood-based Chicago SummerDance lessons and live music. New public artworks by Nick Cave, Bob Faust, Andrea Carlson, and other celebrated artists will be on display. Chicagoans and visitors can also mark their calendars for the return of Chicago City Markets, Taste of Chicago To-Go community meals, and more. The City will welcome dozens of other free and affordable, in-person and hybrid cultural activities throughout the summer. Most DCASE events will have limited capacity and require advance registration. All summer events will adhere to the latest public health and safety guidelines. 

City residents can expect many exciting summer events and cultural activities across Chicagoland — including events announced last week, like Chicago Loop Alliance’s Sundays on State open streets event series. Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, will close to traffic from Lake to Madison on Sundays this summer and transform into an open street full of surprises beginning July 11. Chicago Loop Alliance is inviting the community to come together with neighbors from every corner of the city and beyond for this free, interactive block party, while safely enjoying art, culture, active recreation, retail, bars, restaurants, and local attractions. The event will allow attendees to experience everyone’s neighborhood, the Loop, like never before.

Other cultural activities to look forward to in the Loop this summer include:  

  • The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center including "Fanfare" opening on May 27 
  • Art Institute of Chicago – The Obama Portraits from June 18 – August 15 
  • Pride in the Park on June 26 & 27 
  • Goodman Theatre – School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play reopening in August  
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021/22 season including opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth on September 17  
  • Broadway In Chicago – Six at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place running October 5, 2021 – January 30, 2022  

Visit Chicago.gov/DCASE for DCASE summer programming details including its artist lineups and ticketing (free advance registration), which will be available in the coming weeks.  

Chicago In Tune (August 19 – September 19) is a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. This month of music will bring iconic neighborhood venues, presenting organizations, and musicians from across the city together to celebrate all music genres and forms — with both free and ticketed events at clubs, concert halls, and beyond. DCASE will present four special evenings at Jay Pritzker Pavilion presented by the Millennium Park Foundation honoring music born and innovated in Chicago: Gospel music (September 3), Jazz (September 4), House (September 11), and Blues (September 18) — all at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Venues, organizations and artists may submit Chicago In Tune events by visiting Do312.com/ChicagoInTune.  

Millennium Park summer programming — made possible in part by the Millennium Park Foundation — will include pop-up music, theatre, and dance performances throughout the Park starting in June; the 2021 season of Grant Park Music Festival (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, July 2 – August 21 at 6:30-8 p.m., GPMF.org) featuring 21 classical music concerts at the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion; plus 10 more genre-defying concerts as part of the Millennium Park Summer Music Series (Mondays, August 2 – September 13 at 6-8:30 p.m., and Thursdays, September 2-16 at 6-8:30 p.m., MillenniumPark.org).  

Special events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion include The Auditorium Theatre presents ABT Across America featuring American Ballet Theatre (July 8 at 7:30 p.m., AuditoriumTheatre.org); as well as Dance for Life (August 26 at 6:30 p.m., ChicagoDancersUnited.org) presented by Chicago Dancers United. Jay Pritzker Pavilion events will be limited capacity and require free advance registration for both the seating bowl and lawn. Additionally, the Millennium Park Summer Workouts (Saturdays, July 3 – August 28 at 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., MillenniumPark.org) will return in person on the Great Lawn featuring Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. 

The beloved Chicago SummerDance (ChicagoSummerDance.org) series returns this summer at parks throughout the city, during August and September. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. Schedule, locations, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The Chicago Riverwalk will welcome a new series of five large-scale banners near Michigan Avenue, scheduled to be installed by late May. Artist Andrea Carlson’s You are on Potawatomi Land will replace the current series of work by artist Ebony G. Patterson. Art on theMART continues to project its spring program nightly, exhibiting works by the Adler Planetarium and select images from current exhibitions at the Art Institute of ChicagoHope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021 launches on May 20 and three new commissions in alignment with the Year of Chicago Music will launch the summer program on July 5. Vendors in the Riverwalk concession program began operating earlier this month and will be followed by Pier 31 on the Riverwalk and the Community Marketplace opening in mid-May.  

Another new public art projectWays and Means is a Facility Artwork conceived and created by Nick Cave and Bob Faust (FacilityChicago.org), presented by DCASE and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), late May through late June on the CTA Green Line. The project consists of eight fully wrapped CTA railcars and focuses on “ways forward and the myriad means we use to get there.” The interior of the railcars will also immerse riders in kaleidoscopic pattern created from Cave’s artwork, as well as the project statement.  

Chicago City Markets presented by Humana (kicking off May 15 with Division Street) sell fresh seasonal produce, flowers, prepared foods, unique Chicago-made products, and rare finds — at Chicago’s longest-running farmers market on Daley Plaza (Thursdays beginning May 27) and throughout the city. For the complete schedule and the City’s latest health and safety guidelines, visit ChicagoCityMarkets.us.  

Taste of Chicago To-Go (TasteofChicago.us) will return this summer with special events around the city in July, August, and September — including pop-up cooking demonstrations, the return of the “Community Eats” community meals program, and other special events promoting Chicago’s amazing restaurant industry.  

Previously announced, the Chicago Cultural Center will reopen on June 2 with new visitor amenities and new exhibitions “Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations” and “what flies but never lands.” Soon after, “CHICAGO: Where Comics Came to Life, 1880–1960” will open on June 19.  

As the city reopens to with more in-person activities for the summer, the mayor urges residents to continue to be safe, social distance, wear their masks, and get vaccinated. As of April 19, all Chicago residents over the age of 16 are eligible to be vaccinated and can learn more here