Free Programs for Families at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a world class museum, home to masterpieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and more than one American icon.  It’s a must-see for any Chicago visitor, and for us natives, it’s worth more than a few yearly visits. Thanks to a wonderful array of free family programming, the Art Institute is a wonderful place to spend time exploring the world of art with your children.

The Ryan Education Center, located on the first floor of the new Modern Wing, is a spacious, welcoming facility that hosts education programs for families, kids, and teens. Five classrooms, three large studios, and an educator resource center play host to family-centered events and classes. There is even a great space for toddlers, with giant blocks for budding architects and a huge selection of picture books. Even if you don’t plan on taking part in any of the family programs, be sure to pop into the Ryan Education Center’s David and Marilyn Fatt Vitale Family Orientation Room to catch some down time as you visit the museum: read a book, put together a puzzle, or simply stretch out on the floor and take a deep breath before tackling the entirety of the museum’s masterpieces.

An extensive list of the Art Institute’s upcoming family classes, activities and events is updated frequently on the museum’s website. If you have a child between the ages of 3-5, I highly recommend the Mini Masters classes, which bring art down to a preschoolers level via hands-on activities and fun. The Artist’s Studio series will take your family on a tour of a museum exhibit, followed by some time reflecting and creating a work of art of your own.

Family programs are free and meet in the Ryan Education Center unless otherwise noted. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Select programs require advance registration. For more information, call (312) 857-7161 or e-mail 

For upcoming programs and registration info, visit:

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1 Response to Free Programs for Families at the Art Institute of Chicago

  1. windycitycheap says:

    Kids can be overwhelmed by the vastness of The Art Institute, however, these intimate workshops provide a great way to introduce kids to art.

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