The New 411
By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader
Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, announced that starting on June 1, 2017, all youth 18 and under will have free admission to the museum. This new initiative to offer the greatest possible access to the museum for all young people has been generously underwritten for the first five years by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, as part of the MCA’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“We believe in the power of creativity to change people’s lives, especially young people,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn. “Through our programs, we work extensively with Chicago’s youth, their families, the schools they attend, and the teachers who so thoughtfully guide them. Young people today want more than a place to look at art, they want a place where they can talk and discuss, and a community hub where they can hang out. By offering free admission to all those 18 and under we ensure that there are no financial barriers for today’s youth to engage with and learn about contemporary art and ideas.”
Heidi Reitmaier, Dr. Robert Nathan Mayer Director of Education, adds, “This initiative was inspired by suggestions from teens who participate in the MCA’s nationally recognized teen program, the Teen Creative Agency, who championed the museum to consider eliminating admission for youth.”
The announcement coincides with the MCA’s redesigned education and engagement spaces, which are now located in the very heart of the museum on the second and newly added third floor. The new Commons learning space opens in the fall with a full suite of programming that builds on the MCA’s successful education programs, including award-winning teacher programs, artist-led tours and workshops for public schools, and community partnership programs.
The MCA has a 50-year history of supporting and providing access to Chicago youth, including a commitment to offering free bus transportation to all Chicago Public Schools for field trips, and most recently a school partnership and civic engagement initiative working with under-resourced schools. During the school year, the MCA welcomes over 10,000 students from 135 schools, in addition to thousands more youth from all over Illinois and beyond.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is generously supported by its Board of Trustees; individual and corporate members; private and corporate foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and government agencies. Programming is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Museum capital improvements are supported by a Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The MCA is a proud member of Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District. The MCA is located at 220 E. Chicago Avenue, one block east of Michigan Avenue. The museum and sculpture garden are open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday. Tuesdays are Community Free Days with free admission for Illinois residents. Suggested general admission is $12 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Children 12 years of age and under, MCA members, and members of the military are admitted free. Information about MCA exhibitions, programs, and special events is available on the MCA website at mcachicago.org or by phone at 312.280.2660.