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The Power of Art Takes the Forefront

The Chicago Cultural Center on North LaSalle Street presents a steady stream of arts-focused events in the coming weeks.

By Kate Linggi

2.26.23_Chicago Cultural Center Tiffany Glass Dome AdobeStock_548777182
The Tiffany glass dome of the Chicago Cultural Center CREDIT Adobe Stock/Scott Prokop/Wirestock Creators

Nestled in the core of downtown Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center not only boasts the ornate, historic architecture of the Windy City, but also some of its most affordable and approachable arts-orientated experiences. This winter and early spring, this renowned destination is holding up its reputation as a trendsetter in creative and convenient events, announcing a fresh lineup of free programming and exhibitions. From their Culture Snaps series to their Meet an Artist series and to free programming in dance and film, this is the place to be for event planners who are looking for creative and artistic inspiration for their own work.

In early to mid-March, Culture Snaps will feature Redtwist Theatre, a company known for their intense and edgy style that provokes and engages audiences. Based out of the Edgewater community, Redtwist Theatre is pushes creative boundaries while producing top-notch performances. Culture Snaps celebrates and gives a platform to such artists who contribute to their neighborhood’s vibrancy.

“[The Culture Snaps] is so we can focus on [artists that are] not downtown, … [such as] smaller nonprofits that have a big impact,” says Daniel Schulman, Chicago Cultural Center’s program and visual arts director. “Some of them are culturally specific, some of them are very neighborhood oriented. … It’s a way for us to highlight the vitality of the Chicago cultural scene.”

Similarly, the Meet an Artist series is curated to bridge the gap that often exists between the creator and the visitor. Chicago artists lead art-making experiences that take place on the second and fourth Friday and Saturday of each month, including Scheherazade Tillet, Leah Gipson, and Robert Narciso. These artists in residence are from A Long Walk Home, a Chicago-based nonprofit national arts organization. Visitors are invited to participate in creating “The Black Girlhood Altar,” a powerful piece that acknowledges and memorializes missing and murdered Black girls and women.

Additionally, the Dance Studio will feature resident artists sharing their stories, leading creative activities, and presenting informal workshops on the second Tuesday of each month. Visitors connect with seasoned, imaginative creatives in an intimate setting.

On March 3, Dr. Karla Rae Fuller will read sections from her latest book “Do the Right Thing: Five Screenplays that Embrace Diversity,” focusing her author talk on the power of inclusion and multifaceted depictions of underrepresented groups.

Operating intentionally under the principle of making art free and welcoming, the Chicago Cultural Center aims for its events to be anything but intimidating.

“We present a lot of programs … [although] our impact is not an elitist one,” says Schulman, reiterating the mission of the Chicago Cultural Center. “We think of art as a service, and meeting people at their different levels of familiarity with art.”