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A man and a woman and three tweens huddle together smiling in front of one of the large bronze lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago. The lion wears a wreath of evergreen around its neck. A man and a woman and three tweens huddle together smiling in front of one of the large bronze lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago. The lion wears a wreath of evergreen around its neck.

Your Winter Essentials

Top 10

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Celebrate the season with us! Whether you’re planning an outing with family and friends or looking for ways to reflect and recharge, we’ve got just what you need to reconnect with art, yourself, and each other.

#1 A Family-Friendly Tour

This “road trip” through the museum, designed with families in mind, takes you to places everyone can explore and enjoy together—from famous paintings and sculptures to imagination-fueling armors and miniature rooms. Round out your trip with a visit to the Ryan Learning Center, where you can get creative or just unwind.

#5 Claudel in Song

On January 6, Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato graces Fullerton Hall with the Brentano Quartet for a special performance of Jake Heggie’s 35-minute song cycle Camille Claudel: Into the Fire. Join us at 2:00 for a conversation with Heggie and Camille Claudel curator Emerson Bowyer, and stay to experience the romantic, rebellious world of Claudel through Heggie’s powerful score. Registration is required.

#6 James Johnson on Carving, Design, and Fashion

Get to know Tlingit artist James Johnson, who, with works like Lákt (Bentwood Box), carves and paints imagery in wood using a Northwest Coast style called “formline.” On December 14 at 6:00, Johnson and associate curator Andrew Hamilton discuss the artist’s work and how it informs his recent design collaborations with Lib Tech snowboards and Vans, registration required. And on December 15 from 2:00 to 3:30, Johnson will be in Gallery 261 to showcase his tools and discuss how they’re used—drop on by!

#10 Music for a New Year

Gather on the Grand Staircase on December 31 at 1:00 and bask in the radiant vocals of Chicago’s own singer/songwriter Meagan McNeal, whose styles span jazz, R&B, soul, hip hop, rock, and classical musical. Come as you are, and bring those you love!

Images: Antonio Canova. Madame Mère (Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte) (detail), 1805–7. The Devonshire Collections, Chatsworth, SC 96. © The Devonshire Collections, Chatsworth, reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees/Bridgeman Images; Photo courtesy of the Seldoms; Crèche (detail), mid-18th century. Naples. Restricted gifts of Mr. and Mrs. James N. Bay and Linda and Vincent Buonanno and Family; Eloise W. Martin Legacy Fund; restricted gifts of Ruth Ann Gillis and Michael McGuinnis and Mrs. Robert O. Levitt; Charles H. and Mary F. Worcester Collection Fund; Camille Claudel. Crouching Woman, about 1884–85. Musée Camille Claudel, Nogent-sur-Seine. Photo by Marco Illuminati; James Johnson. Photo courtesy of the artist; The Cardsharps (detail), about 1595. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; Meagan McNeal. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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