Chicagoans can visit the Chicago Cultural Center on the corner of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue for countless visual, literary, and performing arts programs. Built in 1897, and originally the home of Chicago’s public library, the building is now a venue for cultural and artistic expression. This hidden treasure of Chicago’s architectural, artistic, and cultural history holds more than 700 events, free to the public, every year.
The exterior may cause visitors to overlook the building; however, the divine marble, stone, hardwood, stained glass and mosaics in the interior will surely change your mind. Its masterpiece is the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome. Over 40 feet in diameter, the dome was restored in 2008 and resides in Preston Bradley Hall, which houses free music events throughout the year. Other events include artist exhibitions, lectures, films, and concerts.
Pictured above is the stained glass Tiffany dome designed in an intricate Renaissance pattern. Restored in 2008, the dome is an artistic marvel and can be visited for free at the Cultural Center.
Below is the grand staircase with a view of the Tiffany dome. The staircase is lined with pink and white marble and features countless mosaics inscribed with names of the greatest writers and philosophers of our time.
The Chicago Cultural Center is home to many traveling art exhibits, free and open to the public Monday through Thursday 10-7, Friday 10-6, and Saturday and Sunday until 5pm.
Upcoming events at the Cultural Center include Gallery Talks from artist Jackie Kazarian and art historian Michael Bonesteel, as well as the photography exhibit "Polaridad Complimentaria: Recent Works from Cuba" starting October 15th, a traveling exhibition showcasing new artistic talent from Cuba.
The building dubbed “The People’s Palace” celebrates art, culture, and education. There are a number of family programs and events held at the Cultural Center, including private parties and weddings. The lavish marble and stained glass backdrop is stunningly romantic, combining a historic and contemporary Chicago feel.
Only steps from the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center is a must-see for any tour of Chicago. Whether it’s your first time to Chicago, or you have lived here for years, the cultural center is truly a landmark of the city. Even a simple stroll through the building leaves one with a sense of grandeur and timelessness.
For a quick visit, enter on Randolph Street through classical Doric columned doors. You’ll be engulfed by the high coffered ceiling and green and pink marble walls. Make your way up the curving staircase and look to see if you recognize any of the names in the detailed mosaic walls.
The Washington Street entrance greets visitors with a grand staircase, and a three-story vaulted lobby. White walls of Carrara marble surround you containing Favrile glass, stone, and mother of pearl details throughout. The coup de grâce is, of course, the Tiffany stained-glass dome at the top of the stairs. A must-see for art lovers, Chicagoans, and visitors to the city.
Researched and written by Taylor Maatman
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., is mere blocks from the Chicago Cultural Center—please include MIR in your Chicago “art tour.” Consider viewing several works by Chicago artists in our collection, including those of the late Ruth Duckworth and Emmanuel Viviano. We would also be delighted to evaluate your most prized works of art; a verbal evaluation is a fun, convenient and cost-effective way to gain valuable knowledge regarding your precious belongings. Please contact our friendly staff to set up an appointment!