Art Institute of Chicago: After Dark

Chicago has many great museums to check out any time of the day, but if you want to really enjoy the museums and take in some great food, music, and people watching while you are there, then you should check out the various after hours events happening all over Chicago. A few weeks ago, I attended an After Dark event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Being that I am a big fan of the museum and my best friend happens to be on the Young Associates Board at the Art Institute, I often take part in many of the activities this museum has to offer. This specific After Dark event though was my favorite so far, because it featured in exhibit on Studio Gang Architects. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with Jeanne Gang on some past projects at my previous job, and I was ecstatic to hear the museum was featuring an exhibit on her. I was even more excited when I saw a model of one of the projects I worked on with her in the museum! (Did I mention my old company also designed the Modern Wing at the Art Institute?) Enough about me. Jeanne is a successful female architect and graduated from my alma mater, so as you can imagine, I’ve looked up to her throughout my education and career. For those of you who are unfamiliar with her work and want to see some really cool modern architecture, drive down Lake Shore Drive and take a look at one of her most famous pieces of work, Aqua.

Each After Dark event features a different exhibit and gives you access in to the museum after hours with special tours of their featured exhibit. So, even though you may have missed the Studio Gang After Dark event, check out the next one. General admission is typically $25, and that includes complimentary appetizers, live music, admission in to the museum, and cash bar. There is typically a decent amount of food that is delicious, so don’t come too full like we did. They often have live performance art that brings a nice element of surprise throughout your night. You never know what fun things they will do! Wondering what to wear there? Well, let’s just say, anything goes. It’s an art museum. People typically get pretty dressed up (sport coat, but no tuxedos) and often use this as an opportunity to really express their own style. I wore a sweater dress and boots since I knew I’d be standing a lot, but I tried to get creative by wearing zig zag patterned tights and jewelry by my favorite Chicago designer.

Want to check out a similar event at a different museum? Check out the First Fridays events at the MCA. Tickets range between $10-$18 depending on when you buy and/or if you are a member, but it has a similar set up as the After Dark Event at the Art Institute. You’ll find all types of people at both events, so it’s great for mingling or people watching.

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Models of Studio Gang Architect’s Projects in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago

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Performance Art at the After Dark Event at the Art Institute of Chicago

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Sweater Dress: Laundry by Shelli Segal on Zappos (old, but can now find on ebay); Boots: Steve Madden (old); Belt: Mint Julep Boutique on Southport; Earrings and Necklace: K-Amato Sample Sale (recent); Zig Zag Tights

Dress Code: Smart Casual / Business Casual

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