As a major cultural institution in Chicago, the Art Institute is committed to supporting the city and its citizens through extensive outreach and educational programs, free access for Illinois residents, and accessible public spaces on the museum’s campus. The Art Institute acknowledges the generous support of the Chicago Park District in these efforts.
Outreach and Education Programs
The Art Institute has an extremely active Department of Museum Education that works closely with public and private schools, community and business organizations, and senior groups.
The Art Institute hosts approximately 2,000 school groups from Chicago and Illinois annually, serving approximately 82,000 students a year. Of these students, nearly one quarter are from Chicago Public Schools.
The Art Institute maintains partnerships with local cultural organizations and Chicagoland colleges and universities. See our Community Programs video to learn more!
The museum offers free admission 52 days a year to Illinois residents. Please check our current schedule of free hours.
Admission is always free for children under 14.
Admission is always free to active members of the military.
Admission is always free to all employees of the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Fire Department.
Admission is always free for Chicagoland and Illinois school groups. Visiting students also receive a free family pass.
The Illinois teachers eligible for free admission include pre-K–12; teaching artists working in schools; pre-service teachers; and homeschool parents. These teachers need to register at the Educator Resource Center to get an Educator Annual Pass, which can be presented at our admissions counter for a free ticket.
Admission is free to visitors holding the Kids Museum Passport, available at the Chicago Public Library with a valid library card.
Accessible Public Spaces
The north and south gardens along Michigan Avenue are free and accessible to the public during non-winter months. The award-winning gardens include seating, sculpture, and, in the south garden, Lorado Taft's Fountain of the Great Lakes.
The Ryan Learning Center and its programs are free to the public. The Ryan Learning Center includes galleries, studio spaces, and a library for families, children, and students.
The Nichols Bridgeway, a 600-foot pedestrian bridge from Millennium Park to the third level of the Modern Wing, is free and accessible to the public.
The Bluhm Sculpture Terrace on the third floor of the Modern Wing—with rotating exhibitions of contemporary sculpture, stunning views of Millennium Park and the skyline, and a fine-dining restaurant—is free and publicly accessible.
The Art Institute of Chicago gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the citizens of Chicago.
7 hours 24 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.
9 hours 45 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room
$10 per member
Grab your yoga mat and come dressed to stretch. Only members get this unique opportunity to do yoga in the museum. All experience levels are welcome.
Please bring your own mat. Enter at the Columbus Drive Entrance, 230 S. Columbus Drive.
11 hours 13 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Natural Allusions
For Chinese painters, images of plants and animals could convey human aspirations, seasonal themes, or wishes for well-being and good fortune. This focused exhibition features 17th- and 18th-century handscrolls reflecting a variety of artistic traditions as well as a selection of round, handled fans made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai.