Free Admission to The Art Institute of Chicago – Wednesdays in 2012

Come on the new free days at the Art Institute of Chicago and walk through and explore the new Modern Wing.    The museum will be free all day to Illinois residents on the first and second Wednesdays of each month. (The museum is ONLY closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.)



In May of 2009,  the Art Institute opened the Modern Wing, the largest expansion in the museum’s history, which added 264,000 square feet and was designed by Renzo Piano.  This addition makes the Art Institute the second-largest museum in the US.  (click at bottom for more info)  The Art Institute’s Modern Wing, which opened in May 2009, showcases twentieth-century works from the museum’s holdings of European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography.It also contains temporary exhibition space, shops and classrooms, a cafe and a restaurant, Terzo Piano, that overlooks Millennium Park from its terrace. In addition, there is a stunning cantilevered Nichols Bridgeway that connects a sculpture garden on the roof of the new wing with the adjacent Millennium Park to the north and a courtyard designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.



The Art Institute was originally founded as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879 as both a museum and school, but first stood on the southwest corner of State and Monroe Streets. It opened on its present site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893. Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school’s graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country. Within the next decade, a new complex called the Modern Wing will continue this process of growth. At one million square feet, it is the second largest art museum in the United States behind only the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The collection of the Art Institute of Chicago contains more than 260,000 works of art and includes works of art ranging from as early as the Japanese prints to the most updated American art.



Watch the videos “Welcome to the Art Institute” and “When You Arrive” to get better acquainted with the Art Institute of Chicago and to learn ways to enrich your visit.



The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
(312) 443-3600




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  4. I used to come to the AI all the time when it was by “suggested” and not required donation-whenever I had an extra 45 minutes or so downtown. I only go once a year or so now that the donation amount is required because I don’t have large blocks of time to spend there.

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