ARTventure Tours

Go on, get out of the hotel and experience the incredible variety of art and culture throughout Chicago first-hand!

ARTventure Tours are a great opportunity to dig into the art all around you. These special off-site, educational tours are available to all Convention attendees and are designed to showcase the artistic successes of our beautiful host city. The number of participants for each tour is limited, so select the ARTventure of your choice when you register to make sure you get your spot!

Each ARTventure has a maximum capacity of 34 persons. Please sign up early to reserve your spot!

ARTventure Tours require an additional fee of $40 per person. Based on availability, Convention attendees are allowed to bring a maximum of two guests.

If you do not wish to participate in an ARTventure, there will also be Convention programming during the ARTventure period. ARTventures will take place on Saturday afternoon, departing the hotel on foot or by bus (depending on the tour) at 1:30 p.m.

Tour 1: Muck to Magic: Transforming the Riverfront into a Cultural Mecca
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Join the City of Chicago’s cultural historian, Tim Samuelson, on a river cruise highlighting the city’s architectural and cultural landmarks. Learn the amazing story of how a “mudhole of the prairie” became a global metropolis. Gaze up at architectural wonders in the city where the modern skyscraper was born. Witness how the river has evolved from a working waterway into a place of public pleasure. Enjoy a cultural break at the newly-renovated Chicago River boathouses designed by famed architect Jeanne Gang in Ping Tom Park in the Chinatown neighborhood – and enjoy a site-specific dance performance by Khecari, one of Chicago’s premier contemporary dance companies.

Tour 2: Chicago Made: Innovative Spaces Created by and for Artists
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Tour several of Chicago’s most dynamic artmaking and performance spaces established for and by artists. Led by the City of Chicago’s director of artist resources, Barbara Koenen, tours stops include visits to: the Zhou B Art Center, founded by the internationally acclaimed artistic team the Zhou Brothers, featuring galleries, studio spaces and a collaborative creative environment to nearly 50 resident artists; and the Bridgeport Art Center, located in a former mail-order warehouse, now home to artists and designers of all kinds, featuring exhibition spaces and a fashion design center.
Tour 3: Storefront Theatres All Grown Up: From Local Treasures to National Models
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Chicago is home to five Tony Award-winning regional theaters, and it all began with small storefront operations. Experience firsthand the Chicago Storefront Theater Scene by visiting current storefront operations, and those that have moved on to be national models of excellence in theatrical arts. Led by Chris Jones, the chief theater critic and a Sunday culture columnist for the Chicago Tribune, this tour will include visits to four local theaters, short performances, and discussions with the artistic leadership of each theater.
Tour 4: Chicago and the Great Black Migration
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Visit Black history in action through contemporary gallery spaces and arts programs in the historic Bronzeville community, the neighborhood that legendary African Americans such as Louis Armstrong, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright and others called home. Stops include the Washington Park Arts Incubator, envisioned by artist and University of Chicago professor Theaster Gates—and located in a renovated 1920s building in the Washington Park neighborhood. The Arts Incubator is a space for artist residencies, arts education, community-based arts projects, as well as exhibitions performances and talks—and a cornerstone of the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life Initiative. Led by Lee Bey, associate director for external affairs and special projects for The University of Chicago Arts + Public Life Initiative and former Chief of Staff for Architecture and Urban Planning for the City of Chicago.
Tour 5: Public Art and Public Transportation: the Chicago L Collection
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is home to an impressive collection of more than 50 artworks of mosaics, sculptures and paintings exhibited at over 40 CTA stations. Ride the legendary “Chicago L” public transportation system with CTA curator Lee Kelly to visit sites by local and nationally acclaimed artists – and take in a CTA-station concert curated by the Old Town School of Folk Music, as part of their Iron Heart series.
Tour 6: Dorchester: Up Close and Personal in the World of Theaster Gates
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Travel to witness the transformation of Chicago Grand Crossing community into one of the most dynamic cultural corridors in the country. The Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, a newly renovated set of former public housing row houses, now serves as a model for artist housing and low-income residents – and a home for the Black Cinema House; the Stony Island Art Bank, a multi-purpose library (housing the Johnson Publishing collection); gallery and exhibition space refurbished and reimagined by artist and community activist Theaster Gates.
Tour 7: Diasporal Rhythms: Chicago’s African American “Home Galleries”
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Visit the “home galleries” in Hyde Park and Bronzeville of a passionate group of collectors dedicated to collecting visual art created by contemporary artists of the African Diaspora. View over 100 works collected over the years, with a guide from the Diasporal Rhythms collective.
Tour 8: Graffiti Art and the Urban Canvas
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Join poet and educator Kevin Coval, founder of Louder Than a Bomb, for a tour across Chicago that will explore the history and aesthetics of this public art form. Learn about art crimes, the politics of style – and grapple with why graffiti is considered so dangerous and why so many artists are willing to risk their lives for their art. Experience other street forms, such as spoken word poetry and Chicago bop along the way.
Tour 9: Lights, Camera, Action: Film and Spectacle in Chicago
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Tour the multi-stage studio Cinespace, home to Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and many other film and television projects that shoot in Chicago. Join Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, on this behind-the-scenes tour.

Tour 10: Making and Keeping Place: Latino Arts and Culture in Chicago
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Experience the vibrancy of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, home of the National Museum of Mexican Art. Tour the museum’s exhibits with head curator Cesareo Moreno, take in performances by local Latino arts groups, and see the murals that decorate the neighborhood. Led by Coya Paz, professor at DePaul University, co-founder of Teatra Luna and Proyecto Latina, which provides a platform to showcase work by Latina writers, poets, performers and artists.