Chicago Public Library, Central Building
Chicago Cultural Center (51574888388).jpg
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center is located in Central Chicago
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center is located in Illinois
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center is located in the United States
Chicago Cultural Center
Location78 E. Washington St.,
Chicago, IL
Coordinates41°53′2″N 87°37′30″W / 41.88389°N 87.62500°W / 41.88389; -87.62500Coordinates: 41°53′2″N 87°37′30″W / 41.88389°N 87.62500°W / 41.88389; -87.62500
ArchitectC. A. Coolidge, Robert C. Spencer
NRHP reference No.72000449 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 31, 1972
Designated CLNovember 15, 1976[2]
Preston Bradley Grand Hall and Tiffany domes
Preston Bradley Hall and Tiffany glass dome
Preston Bradley Hall and Tiffany glass dome
Tiffany glass dome
Tiffany glass dome

The Chicago Cultural Center, opened in 1897, is a Chicago Landmark building operated by Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events that houses the city's official reception venue where the Mayor of Chicago has welcomed presidents and royalty, diplomats and community leaders. It is located in the Loop, across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park. Originally the central library building, it was converted in 1977 to an arts and culture center at the instigation of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg. The city's central library is now housed across the Loop in the spacious, postmodern Harold Washington Library Center opened in 1991.

As the nation's first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city's most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States. Each year, the Chicago Cultural Center features more than 1,000 programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual and literary arts. It also serves as headquarters for the Chicago Children's Choir. MB Real Estate provides events management for the center.

Architecture of the Chicago Cultural Center

The building was designed by Boston architectural firm Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge for the city's central library, and Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) meeting hall and memorial in 1892. The land was donated by the GAR and the building was completed in 1897 at a cost of nearly $2 million (equivalent to $65.14 million in 2021). It is organized as a 4-story north wing (77 East Randolph entrance) and a 5-story south wing (78 East Washington entrance), 104 feet tall, with 3-foot-thick (0.91 m) masonry walls faced with Bedford Blue Limestone on a granite base, and designed in a generally neoclassical style with Italian Renaissance elements. It is capped with two stained-glass domes, set symmetrically atop the two wings. Key points of architectural interest are as follows:


Past exhibitions

Chicago Sculptor Richard Hunt's Steel Bloom, Number 10, 1956 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 2015
Chicago Sculptor Richard Hunt's Steel Bloom, Number 10, 1956 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 2015

Crossroads: Modernism in Ukraine, 1910-1930 was a display of art by Ukrainian artists, such as Sukher Ber Rybak, Vsevolod Maskymovych, and Oleksandr Bohomazov to name a few. Crossroads was organized by the Foundation for International Arts and Education with the National Art Museum of Ukraine. It is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Kyiv Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program. The exhibition ran from July 22, 2006 - October 15, 2006.

Richard Hunt: Sixty Years of Sculpture was a major exhibition of sixty sculptures spanning Hunt's career. The exhibition drew primarily from his extensive “self-collection,” lent to the center for the show. This exhibition ran from December 6, 2014, through March 29, 2015[9]

"Rush More"

In 2017, Kerry James Marshall was commissioned to produce an inaugural mural entitled “Rush More”. Located on the west façade of the cultural center, the piece is an homage to women who have contributed to the culture of Chicago.[10]

Portrayed are:

Washington painted the mural on a scale rendering of the building. The piece was then transposed to the actual façade by the muralist Jeff Zimmerman.[12] Financing for the project was made possible by the non-profit, Murals of Acceptance and through philanthropic donations from David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Marc Benioff, and Lynne Benioff.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Chicago Public Library/Cultural Center". City of Chicago Dept. of Pl. and Devpmt., Landmarks Div. 2003. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
  3. ^ George, Doug. "Check out the not-yet-unveiled Chicago Cultural Center renovation". Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  4. ^ "First look: Cultural Center unveils historic renovation". Crain's Chicago Business. March 25, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  5. ^ "Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Announce Reopening of Historic G.A.R. Rooms at the Chicago Cultural Center". Loop Chicago. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  6. ^ "Get a Sneak Peek at $15M Cultural Center Restoration in Progress, Returning Tiffany Design to Original Glory". WTTW News. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  7. ^ "Get A First Look At $15 Million Restoration Of The Chicago Cultural Center Hall Honoring Civil War Veterans". Block Club Chicago. March 25, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  8. ^ "How They Restored the Grand Dome at the Chicago Cultural Center". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  9. ^ Introduction by Courtney J. Martin. Text by John Yau, Jordan Carter, LeRonn Brooks. Interview by Adrienne Childs. (2022). Richard Hunt. GREGORY R. MILLER & CO. ISBN 9781941366448.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "New Chicago Mural Honors Influential Women". Associated Press. December 4, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  11. ^ "Take a look at Kerry James Marshall's gigantic new mural at the Chicago Cultural Center". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  12. ^ "Kerry James Marshall's Largest Work Yet Honors Women in the Arts". Hyperallergic. December 28, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  13. ^ Johnson, Steve. "Giant mural by Kerry James Marshall honors Chicago women of culture". Retrieved April 18, 2019.