Chicago is the third-most populous city in the US behind New York and Los Angeles. And with thousands of tourists every year, the city is full of famous attractions as well as museums, galleries, and theaters to enjoy. Chicago also has 570 parks from the small 24-acre Millennium Park to the 1,200-acre Lincoln Park.
Hosting an art show in Chicago is perfect because there are so many art galleries and museums you and your guests can enjoy. The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Smart Museum of Art are the three most popular. And you will have no trouble finding an art show space in Chicago.
Interesting Fact: The Chicago River is the only one in the whole world that flows backward. The city had it redirected in the early 1900s to keep Lake Michigan from being polluted by the river.
Art Show Options in Chicago
Hosting an art show in Chicago takes careful planning and can best be done by hiring local experts in the field to help you. Some of the essential jobs like catering and decorating can be done by choosing one of the locals who are experienced in these skills. But you will also need security, equipment, and maybe even transportation and entertainment.
If you know your theme and the artists are all chosen, you can plan the food to go with the ambiance. Chicago has everything from backyard barbecues to fancy seated dinners. Or you may just want some hors d'oeuvres and drinks. It will not take much time or work to find what you are looking for in the big city.
- Furniture and Décor
Another thing that depends on your theme is the décor and furniture. If you are hosting a casual art show for new talent from all different genres, you can go with just about anything. However, if you are showing work by a famous artist who does dark art, you will want the decorator to focus on that.
Besides furniture, you will also need equipment like AV and other tech items as well as expert lighting, sound system, bandwidth, charging stations, and a soundboard or mixer. Whatever you think you may need, Chicago has a plethora of experts in the field to choose from.
No matter what your theme or who your artists are, it is a good idea to have some kind of security in place. Even if it is only one person at the door, you should provide this for those artists who are trusting you with their life’s work.
Art Show Companies in Chicago
There are many art show space companies in Chicago to help you with all the important planning from the largest to the tiniest details. You can find award-winning catering companies, expert décor and furniture planners, and the best security in the country in one city.
- Kenmare Catering and Events
Kenmare has been in the catering business since 2005 and has a superior reputation in the Chicago area for its food artistry and excellent service. Because you are having an art show, you should also have artfully designed food and this company is the one to choose for that. But their food is not just pretty, it is delicious too and their menu is eight pages long so they will surely have whatever you need.
- Bowery and Bash
For the finest furniture and décor in Chicago, Bowery and Bash is who you want to talk to. If you need special lighting for each of the artworks you are showing or unique furniture to make your show memorable, this place has all that and then some. And this company has been highly recommended by Vogue, The Knot, and BizBash to name a few.
- Morrison Security
With more than 30 years of experience in the security field, you can feel safe with the professionals at Morrison Security. They are insured, bonded, and experienced in all sorts of security work from bodyguards to concerts and other large events. Their guards are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week so they will be there when you need them.
Pros and Cons of Art Shows in Chicago
Chicago is a famous city for many reasons and is a popular tourist town with a variety of attractions, parks, and cultural spaces. But all cities have their pros and cons. Find out if having your art show space in Chicago is best for you.
- More parks than anyone
With more than 500 parks, the city of Chicago has a lot of green space to enjoy while you are in town for your art show. Whether you want to do some boating, swimming, hiking, or biking, there is sure to be a park that fits your needs.
- Culinary delights
Chicago also features more than 20 Michelin-starred eateries as well as hundreds of cafés, diners, and restaurants with a variety of foods. The city is famous for its hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and gyros, so make sure you try some of the local cuisines while you are in town.
- Plenty of public transportation
You do not have to worry about driving (or sitting) in traffic in Chicago because the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) boasts 140 bus routes and eight rapid transit routes. The fleet of over 1,800 buses and 1,190 trains will be able to get you just about anywhere you want to be.
- Horrible traffic
Speaking of traffic, you will want to stick to public transport or private car service to avoid driving in the congested city. With over 2.7 million residents and thousands of tourists, the traffic can be pretty bad during rush hour. In fact, it is considered to be the third-worst traffic city in the US.
- Everything is expensive
Make sure you bring your necessities with you because Chicago is one of the most expensive cities in the nation. And not only that but the sales tax is outrageous at over 10 percent. Be certain to work with a budget as you set up your art show.
- Crime is bad
Avoid areas you do not know and don’t go walking around at night while you are in town because the crime rate is 40 per 1,000 residents. That makes it one of the most dangerous cities in the US.
Famous Locations in Chicago
- Museum of Contemporary Art
Of course, you want to visit the art museums while you are in Chicago. The Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 1967 and features more than 2,700 pieces as well as 3,000 art books all dating back to 1945. Some of the famous works include the 1949 Study for a Portrait by Francis Bacon, Jackie Frieze by Andy Warhol from 1964, and the 1986 Rabbit by Jeff Koons.
- The Chicago Riverwalk
Whether you start from the confluence of the rivers on West Wacker Drive and West Lake Street or the Riverwalk Gateway Murals at River Esplanade Park, you will love the artwork. It is called an outdoor art gallery with over a mile of art along the Chicago River. And there is plenty more to enjoy with boat tours, parks, and even a museum.
- Shedd Aquarium
As an art lover, you will appreciate the beauty of this five-million-gallon aquarium. It was the biggest aquarium in the world when it opened in 1930 and is still one of the largest collections of marine animals in the US. It was also the first inland aquarium with a permanent collection of saltwater fish. You can see more than just fish here though. They also have bugs, amphibians, snakes, birds, and marine mammals.