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Family Festival: In Focus

May 19, 2018
Ryan Learning Center

Visit the exhibitions Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980 and Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago to discover artists who closely examined the world around them. Then, explore ways to pay attention to the present moment through art-filled experiences in the studios and galleries.

Visitors of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend. For accessibility accommodations, please email

Please use the Modern Wing entrance at 159 East Monroe Street for access to the Ryan Learning Center, where admission is always free!

Festival Activities in the Ryan Learning Center 

Inside Out in the Family Room
Artist Ivan Albright looked closely at the body while doing medical illustrations. Imagine what's beneath our skin and explore figure drawing with a twist.

Coloring Room in the Interactive Gallery
How do you experience color? Tinker and play as you make connections between color and sight, space, sound, and touch.

Collaborative Collage in Classroom 5 
Contribute to a collage inspired by Alma Thomas’s brushstrokes in Starry Night and the Astronauts. Then, visit the colorful painting in gallery 297B.

The Little Studio (Ages 5 and under) in Classrooms 3 and 4 
I spy with my little eye . . . lots of details! Tiny hands explore big ideas in this sensory-rich space designed for children under five. 

Picturing Families in Studio A
10:30–12:00 and 12:30–2:30
Meet Chicago artist William Estrada and discover his Family Portrait series. Put yourself in the picture as you consider your family’s history and your community.

Detail Detectives: Painting in Studio B
Learn to look closely and zoom in on the details of your subject in a painting activity led by Chicago-artist Leslie Baum. 

Sensory Friendly Resources in Classroom 2 
A social story is available at the greeting table as you enter the Ryan Learning Center. This illustrated preview of festival activities details what to expect at each program activity. Fidgets and other sensory resources are also available at the greeting table. A quiet space has been set up in Classroom 2 of the Ryan Learning Center for families that may feel overstimulated by the day’s activities.

Festival Activities in the Museum Galleries*

 *To participate in activities held in the museum galleries, proof of museum admission or a member card is required for adults. Children under 14 and Chicago youth under 18 are always free.

Celebrating Chicago: Community Mural in Griffin Court
Work alongside other families on a collaborative project that focuses on Chicago neighborhoods through collective images and poetry.

Insta-Art Hunt in Gallery 100
Focus on the museum’s architecture. Pick up a scavenger hunt and take photos of the spaces and details you find. Post your findings using the hashtag #InstaArtHunt. 

Curiosity Corner: Drawing in Gallery 261
Practice close looking and create colored pencil sketches of objects with a variety of visual and tactile features alongside Chicago-artist Peggy Macnamara.

Picture Book Reading (Ages 7 and under) in Gallery 261

11:00 (20 minutes)
Peeking at Plants
Lois Ehlert’s Planting a Rainbow and Grace Lin’s The Ugly Vegetables   

1:00 (20 minutes)
Picturing Photographs
David Wiesner’s Flotsam and Nina Crews’s One Hot Summer Day