Chicago, on the lakefront in Illinois, is a world-class destination for tourism and recreation. Famous for its extreme skyscrapers, Chicago, known for its gritty architecture, is home to a skyline punctuated with high-rise skyscrapers like the iconic John Hancock Center, 1, 451-foot. The city is also known for its numerous museums, which include the Art Institute of Chicago, featuring prominent artists such as Jasper Johns, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mary Cassatt. The Shedd Aquarium, located on the south side of the Chicago River, is one of the preeminent aquariums in the country. Chicago is also noted for the home of baseball’s Chicago Cubs, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and Harley Davidson Motor Company, itself a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Chicago a cultural hub.
Chicago’s location makes it a hub of trade, industry and finance, making it a vibrant cultural center and an international gateway for much of North America. Chicago is the home of the Scott Air Force Base and Fort Winnebago, a world-class golf resort. Chicago is the state’s second largest city and its political, economic, and cultural influences stretch across the states of Arkansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. There are five Chicago area hospitals, including a combination of adult and pediatric hospitals. Chicago is also the home of De Paul University, a private university that provides an academic experience geared to help you “grow into your greatness.”
The most distinctive thing about Chicago is the enormous multiethnic population that settled there more than a century ago, a population that is almost extinct today but whose influence still permeates Chicago’s neighborhoods and is seen in city planning and artistic expressions even today. This melting pot of cultures has left a significant imprint on the city and as a result, Chicago is a living history. The multiethnic background of Chicago is recognized not only by the city’s arts community but by its inhabitants, who have learned to cope with all kinds of people from many different backgrounds. Chicago’s multiethnic heritage is celebrated not only by its residents but by museums and galleries that showcase Chicago’s past.
Two main museums that have an impact on Chicago’s cultural landscape are the Shedd Aquarium and the Chicago Art Museum. Both of these museums exhibit work by famous artists, as well as new talent. The Shedd Aquarium houses an assortment of fish, invertebrates, corals and tropical plants, while the Chicago Art Museum showcases contemporary artists in the field of art, science, history, music and theater.
The Arts Council of Chicago is one of the city’s most prominent arts and culture organizations. Established in 1917, the Arts Council of Chicago has grown to over one hundred nonprofit organizations. It offers a variety of programs for children, middle-aged and older citizens. The Council has helped to shape the Chicago culture into a well-rounded one, which welcomes people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Some of its many activities include the following:
One of the Council’s most important functions is its Special exhibitions and its Music Festival. This yearly event is one of the most popular and most viewed festivals in Chicago, as it showcases the work of local and national artistic talents alike. This musical event is held in Grant Park each May. As well as a variety of artistic exhibits and performances, the festival showcases the rich history of music in Chicago. There are two main stages at the festival; one of them features world-renowned conductor and composer Christopher Moore, and the other highlights local talent and new artisans.
Another important function of the Arts Council is its promotion of artistic growth in Chicago. It offers workshops, seminars and performances by local and international artists. This support has enabled Chicago to build a strong network of artists and encourage new artists and their works to enter the city’s art market. Some of the events it organizes include the following: the Annual Butterfly Gardens Festival, an evening of free live music with live DJs and artists from local venues, and the annual Belmont Street Music Festival, a showcase of some of the area’s best independent bands and musicians. The Arts Council also participates in a number of different events throughout the year, such as the GSA/GSA Film Festival, the Great Chicago Theatre Festival and Chicago Children’s Theatre Festival.
Chicago is home to numerous other non-profit arts organizations too. Among them are the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the Theatre Association of Chicago and the Midwest Theatre Conference. They not only provide a venue for various artistic events but also administer programs in children’s healthcare, arts education and community development. These are just some of the many services the Arts Council of Chicago offers to its residents and visitors.