Today we will all be going on a deep dive into art in Chicago. Our opening section will fully cover the best art galleries and museums near you.
After that we will get into a variety of other topics like art supply stores, events, festivals, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, local sculptures and statues, art classes, studios for rent, and the top frame shops in your area.
If you are after any specific section you can jump straight to it using the table of contents on the left and we are also including a Chicago art map with all of the various places we mention throughout the post pinned on it. And if you want to read more about the top galleries and museums around the Midwest you can do so right there.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In Chicago
When you want to see some of the top exhibits in the country the best Chicago art galleries and museums are a good place to start:
- Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St
- Depaul Art Museum at 935 W Fullerton Ave
- Smart Museum of Art at 5550 S Greenwood Ave
- National Museum of Mexican Art at 1852 W 19th St
- Vertical Gallery at 1016 N Western Ave
- Aspect/Ratio at 864 N Ashland Ave
- Zolla/Lieberman Gallery at 325 W Huron St
- Corbett vs. Dempsey LLC at 2156 W Fulton St
- Catherine Edelman Gallery at 1637 W Chicago Ave
- Richard Gray Gallery at 875 N Michigan Ave
- Carl Hammer Gallery at 740 N Wells St
- Naperville Art League at 508 N Center St, Naperville
- Arterie Fine Arts at 190 E 5th Ave, Naperville
- Side Street Studio Arts at 15 Ziegler Court, Elgin
- Draewell Gallery at 1151 N State St, Elgin
Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors attend free public programs including music, dance, theater, films, lectures, art exhibitions, and family events at the Chicago Cultural Center which is home to the world’s largest Tiffany-stained glass dome and entry is always free from 10am to 5pm daily.
The Depaul Art Museum is also free to enter and hosts three to five temporary exhibitions per year with a permanent collection of about 3,500 pieces including works by Hector Duarte. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday but are open from 11am to 7pm Wednesday and Thursday and from 11am to 5pm Friday through Sunday.
The Smart Museum of Art is free and open to the public from 10am to 5pm every day except Monday when they are closed and Thursday when they stay open until 8pm. You will be able to check out over 16,000 pieces and a range of programming including free family programs every month.
The National Museum of Mexican Art houses roughly 11,000 items and provides free admission every day and a range of events like local art workshops, after school programs, summer classes, and special events. They also throw the Annual Sor Juana Festival in September and the Folk-Art Festival in October and you can visit them from 10am to 5pm throughout the week with the exception of Monday when they are closed.
Vertical Gallery, Aspect/Ratio and Zolla/Lieberman Gallery all offer artwork for sale.
The Catherine Edelman Gallery is open from 10am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday and also hosts the free to enter Art Speaks program every second Saturday from 12pm to 1pm.
There are monthly rotating exhibitions at Carl Hammer Gallery which is open from 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and who also specializes in fine arts appraising, collection development and curation, art consultation and installation, framing, and art loans.
The Naperville Art League is open to the public from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Friday and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday offering art classes in a variety of mediums for students of all ages and ability levels in addition to workshops, demos, and regular exhibits. They have a public art competition called In Focus each October and host the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair each September.
Head to the Side Street Studio Arts on the third Wednesday of each month or in October for their Something Wicked event. They also provide free workshops, educational classes, and a number of other programs on Saturday from noon to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.
Materials & Supplies Near You
The best stores to buy art supplies and materials in your area would be:
- Lake View Art Supply at 3314 W Foster
- Village Supplies at 3622 S Morgan St
- The WasteShed at 2842 W Chicago Ave
- Midwest Airbrush Supply Co at 860 N California Ave
- Blick Art Materials at 1574 N Kingsbury St
- Paper Source at 215 S Main St, Naperville
- Michaels at 2768 Aurora Ave, Naperville
- Artistic Framing & Supplies at 25 N Grove Ave, Elgin
- Hobby Lobby at 200 S Randall Rd, Elgin
Lake View Art Supply also provides custom framing in addition to selling all kinds of products.
WasteShed sells reused art and craft materials and hosts activities centered on sustainable products.
Midwest Airbrush Supply Co is a store that specializes in airbrush supplies for artists in your area, just as the name suggests.
You probably know what the chain stores like the Michaels and Hobby Lobby near you have to offer.
Shows & Events
Some of the top art shows, festivals, and events held here in this city would be:
- Millennium Art Festival in July
- Wells Street Art Festival in August
- Annual Sor Juana Festival in September
- The Riverwalk Fine Art Fair in September
- Folk Art Festival in October
- 2nd Fridays Gallery Night held Monthly
The Millennium Art Festival is a three-day weekend art and design festival held in the heart of downtown that showcases the talents of more than 110 juried artists.
The Wells Street Art Festival is held on the second full weekend of August in Old Town’s famed Wells Street area featuring 125-plus juried artists from the region and throughout the country. Expect to find tasty cuisine from the neighborhood’s eclectic restaurants and cool musical performances along with kids’ art activities that help the event attract an estimated 50,000 guests each year.
The National Museum of Mexican Art hosts the annual Sor Juana Festival which honors one of Mexico’s best writers, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The event has included over 20 high-profile artists and is held at the National Museum of Mexican Art in September.
The Naperville Art League hosts the annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fair in September on the famous Riverwalk and downtown city streets in Naperville. Over 65,000 people attend this two-day event which features a juried exhibition where the best of show receives a $1,000 cash prize.
We just mentioned them but The National Museum of Mexican Art also hosts the Folk Art Festival whichfeatures Mexico’s finest folk artists, live demonstrations, and an early start on holiday shopping. This festival will feature artists from all throughout Mexico who will bring their own unique techniques and folk artwork.
On the 2nd Friday of each month you can visit the creative maker spaces of the Chicago Arts District on South Halsted Street. You’ll enjoy an exciting showcase as this creative group opens their otherwise private spaces and invites you in for a unique experience.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
You can buy new works or find out how much something is worth by contacting these local art dealers and appraisers:
- Chicago Art Source at 1871 N Clybourn Ave
- Williams Fine Art at 10609 S Glenroy Ave
- Alice Adam Ltd at 860 N Lake Shore Dr
- Peter Mars Authentic at 1139 W Fulton Market
- Degroot Fine Art at 1709 W Chicago Ave
Chicago Art Source sells works in a range of media and represents over 100 diverse artists from all over the world. Professional advisors, acquisitions, commission management, fine art publishing liaisons, and in-house delivery and installation are among the services they offer.
Alice Adam Ltd. is a private art dealer in Chicago that specializes in significant German Expressionist prints and drawings.
Degroot Fine Art offers both corporate and private clients extensive consulting and advisory services in addition to acquisition and deaccessioning, fine art storage, fine appraisal, and short-term lending.
Vertical Gallery, Aspect/Ratio, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery and Naperville Art League from the best galleries near you list also sell works.
When the weather is nice try one of these Chicago art walking tours:
- Noble Private Art Tours at 111 S Michigan Ave
- Art Smart Tours at 200 E Randolph St #81393
Noble Private Art Tours provides captivating views of the local art scene through private and group tours to museums, galleries, and other places around the region.
Art Smart Tours provides personalized and private tours and are masters at combining must-see attractions with hand-picked hidden gems to create a one-of-a-kind experience tailored to your preferences. They can also help with art acquisition and gallery shopping after the tour.
Sculptures & Statues
There are some really nice sculptures and statues in your area like:
- Untitled by Picasso at 50 W Washington St
- Agora at 1135 S Michigan Ave
- Monument with Standing Beast at 100 W Randolph St
- Statue of the Republic at 6401 S Stony Island Ave
- Cloud Gate at 201 E Randolph St
- Skylanding Sculpture at 6033-6263 S Cornell Dr
- Fountain of Time at 6000 S Cottage Grove Ave
Untitled by Picasso was unveiled on August 15, 1967 and may be seen today at the Daley Plaza.
The Agora can be found on Grant Park’s southwest side after the artist Magdalena Abakanowicz began making these enormous headless sculptures in the 1970’s.
The James R. Thompson Center is home to the Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet.
The Republic statue was created by Daniel Chester French and installed in 1918 within Jackson Park.
Cloud Gate is Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work in the United States which you can find in Millennium Park today. The 66-foot-long by 33-foot-high sculpture is one of the world’s largest of its kind.
Sky Landing was added to Jackson Park in 2016 by acclaimed artist Yoko Ono.
Lorado Taft designed the Fountain of Time in 1910, it was dedicated in 1922, and currently you can check it out on the western edge of the Midway Plaisance in Washington Park.
Chicago Art Classes
Whether you trying to find lessons for kids or are an adult who wants to grow your skills taking classes at one of these local art schools should help:
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago at 36 S Wabash Ave
- South Shore Fine Arts Academy at 1415 E 70th St
- Franklin Fine Arts Center at 225 W Evergreen Ave
- Lillstreet Art Center at 4401 N Ravenswood Ave
- Palette & Chisel Art Academy at 1012 N Dearborn St
- Pinot’s Palette at 175 Jackson Ave #123, Naperville
- Young Rembrandts at 23 N Union St, Elgin
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a private university that was established in 1866. Graduate, post-baccalaureate, and undergraduate programs are available and it provides free public events including artist visiting programs with today’s most influential practitioners and thinkers.
Lillstreet Art Center has art classes and workshops for people of all ages and skill levels. They provide camps, seasonal and family workshops for children and babies, as well as first-time artist sessions that let beginners experience a new medium in a relaxed environment. They also organize parties in a number of mediums for everything from birthdays to bachelorette parties.
Palette & Chisel Art Academy provides full-time, part-time, and personalized art classes in addition to non-instructed open studio sessions with live models and multi-day workshops with guest creators.
Art classes for people of all ages are available at Pinot’s Palette from beginners to advanced with in-studio painting, night lessons, take-home painting kits, and private parties.
Young Rembrandts is a weekly after-school art class for children ages 3.5 to 12 with themed workshops, art camps, and on-demand drawing classes for families who prefer a more flexible schedule.
You can also try art classes in your area at The National Museum of Mexican Art, Naperville Art League, and Side Street Studio Arts.
Studios For Rent Near You
These art studios are great places to get the ball rolling on your next project:
- Pilsen East Center at 1945 S Halsted St
- Fountainhead Lofts at 1932 S Halsted St
- The Bridgeport Art Center at 1200 W 35th St
- Positive Space Studios at 3520 W Fullerton Ave
- The Art Colony at 2620 W Fletcher St
- Cornelia Arts Building at 1800 W Cornelia Ave
Local Frame Shops
A frame can take a regular looking piece or picture to that next level and some of the best shops for picture and art framing in Chicago are:
- Artists Frame Service at 1867 N Clybourn Ave
- Cmm Framing at 218 N Halsted
- Seaberg Picture Framing at 840 N Milwaukee Ave
- The Frame Shop Wicker Park at 2214 W North Ave
- Accentric Custom Framing at 2100 N Hoyne Ave
- The Great Frame Up at 2905 N Broadway
- Art & Frame Naperville at 115 E Ogden Ave #115, Naperville
- Colbert Custom Framing & Art Printing at 1283 S Naper Blvd, Naperville
Artists Frame Service has three locations with one each in Lincoln Park, River North, and Highland Park. They also provide art consulting services and bulk framing for a variety of clients ranging from sports stadiums to multi-national corporations.
Seaberg Picture Framing specializes in custom hardware, shadow boxes, vitrines or acrylic cases, and float mounts while they also do art crating, delivery, and installation services in addition to custom framing.
Art & Frame Naperville has been serving consumers from Naperville, Aurora, Warrenville, Lisle, and the surrounding areas for over 30 years.
Carl Hammer Gallery Lake View Art Supply, Blick Art Materials, Michaels, Artistic Framing & Supplies, and Hobby Lobby can also do quality custom framing near you.
We bet many of you would enjoy reading about:
Have Fun Enjoying The Chicago Art Scene
For the time being that is all we have to share about the art scene near you. After reading about all of those local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area hopefully we satisfied your queries.
It would be great if you could use the comments section to let us know if anything on this page is dated, or if any info is not correct. We hope you enjoy your time at the best Chicago Art Galleries, Museums, Supply Stores or doing whatever it else you plan to do with the info.