The City of Chicago is on track to reopen by next Independence Day.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago’s cultural community 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 including, the historic Maxwell Street Market, 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 officials are also highlighting upcoming vaccination events for the arts community at The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave) on May 20 at 12-7 p.m. and Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont Ave) on May 21 at 12-7 p.m., plus mobile vaccinations at many City-sponsored summer events.
Additionally, arts workers are invited to attend seven virtual information and drop-in sessions to engage in conversation about the Arts 77 arts recovery plan — starting with a 2021 Neighborhood Access Program Info Session on May 5 at 4-5 p.m. To learn more, visit Chicago.gov/Arts77.
City residents can expect many exciting summer events and cultural activities across Chicagoland — including Open Parks and Open Streets events, new Millennium Park and other DCASE programming summarized below, plus:
- The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center including “Fanfare” opening on May 27
- Hyde Park Art Center – Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed open May 3 – July 24
- Rosa’s Lounge – Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band on May 7
- Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live, Multi-Arts Experience from May 21 – June 5
- Chicago Latino Theater Alliance – Sola en la pandemia está cañón at Joe’s on Weed Street on June 19
- The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin’ On The Steps on May 23
- Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – Tuesdays on the Terrace kicking off June 1
- Old Town Art Fair on June 12 & 13
- 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
- Court Theatre – Othello from July 8 – August 8
- Southport Art Fair on July 10 & 11
- Smart Museum of Art – Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 on view July 15 – December 19
- Chinatown Summer Fair on July 17 & 18
- Jazz Institute of Chicago – Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on July 23 & 24
- Printers Row Lit Fest on September 11 & 12
- Hyde Park Jazz Festival on September 25 & 26
- 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
For these and other upcoming events, including many more to be added throughout the spring and summer, visit ChooseChicago.com/events
Through Chicago Presents, DCASE will provide up to 100 grants ranging from $5,000 – $30,000 to activate cultural programs that comply with public health guidelines in neighborhoods throughout Chicago in Summer 2021. Emerging and established cultural presenters are invited to submit proposals for free live, in-person concerts and events, spanning all music genres, performance, and dance that activate Chicago’s streets, plazas, and parks. Additionally, presenters may select up to two solo musicians and/or bands from the Chicago Band Roster to play at their event.
The Band Roster is a new resource listing over 200 Chicago-based musicians of all genres — created as part of the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. Chicago Presents is an initiative of Arts 77, Chicago’s arts recovery plan. Applications for July 1 – August 14 events are due May 7 at Chicago.gov/Music.
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/
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 (ChicagoSummerDanc
The Chicago Riverwalk (ChicagoRiverwalk.us
Another new public art project, Ways 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); the historic Maxwell Street Market (reopening June 6 with a new schedule: 1st and 3rd Sundays at 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., MaxwellStreetMarket.us); more City Markets in Austin, Bronzeville, Englewood, Pullman, Roseland, and West Humboldt Park; and dozens of independent markets operated by community organizations and chambers of commerce in neighborhoods across Chicago. 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 (ChicagoCulturalCenter.
As the city reopens to with more in-person activities for the summer, we urge residents to continue to be safe, social distance, wear their masks, and get vaccinated.