Mayor Lightfoot announces ‘Open Culture’ in-person summer, fall events indoors and out

Summer in the city — there’s much to do and see — in person.

That was the message from Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday announcing “Open Culture,” the next phase in the Open Chicago initiative that will safely and ultimately fully reopen the city to in-person outdoor events and indoor venues.

The announcement of the in-person events was made in conjunction with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Choose Chicago, the official tourism website for Chicago. The cultural affairs department is reviewing applications for outdoor festivals, street and art/craft fairs, and athletic events.

During a news conference at the Goodman Theater, Lightfoot acknowledged “iconic” Chicago traditions and new events have been packaged together to form the plan she calls “Open Culture.”

The goal is to give a gigantic and sorely-needed boost to a pandemic-devastated sector of the Chicago economy that was the “first to close, last to open” and is “essential to our ability to recover…both for our economic and social needs,” the mayor said.

“This sector has sacrificed and suffered so much over the course of the last year. Our arts and culture community is not a nicety. It’s a necessity,” Lightfoot said after a live musical performance that gave her “goosebumps.”

“Arts and culture uplifts and challenges us to think and pause and ponder. It enhances every part of our senses and our souls. It not only feeds our bodies and our minds. This community feeds our economy. Over a billion dollars every year in normal years. And we need you back.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot answers questions from the media during a press conference about “Open Culture,” a plan to bring back cultural events after the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was at the Goodman Theatre in the Loop, Wednesday afternoon, May 5, 2021.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the Goodman Theatre on Wednesday, where she announced “Open Culture,” a plan to bring back cultural events that had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Open Culture initiative highlighted many events, including some that had been announced previously:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center, beginning May 27

• “Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed,” through July 24, Hyde Park Art Center

• Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band, May 7, Rosa’s Lounge

• Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live,” a multi-arts experience featuring world premieres in theatre, dance, video, music and puppetry, running May 21 – June 5

The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin’ On The Steps, May 23

“Tuesdays on the Terrace,” Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, kicking off June 1

Old Town Art Fair, June 12-13

• “The Obama Portraits, “ Art Institute of Chicago, June 18 – Aug. 15

• Pride in the Park, June 26- 27

Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park, July 2-Aug. 21

The Auditorium Theatre presents “ABT Across America” featuring American Ballet Theatre, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, July 8

Betsy McBride and Jacob Clerico are shown in American Ballet Theatre’s “Indestructible Light,” part of the “ABT Across America” program that will be presented July 8 at the Pritzker Pavilion. Photo: Todd Rosenberg Photography.

Betsy McBride and Jacob Clerico are shown in American Ballet Theatre’s “Indestructible Light,” part of the “ABT Across America” program that will be presented July 8 at the Pritzker Pavilion.
© Todd Rosenberg Photography

Southport Art Fair, July 10-11

• “Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40,” Smart Museum of Art July 15 – Dec. 19

• Chinatown Summer Fair, July 17-18

• Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, Jazz Institute of Chicago, July 23-24

Printers Row Lit Fest, Sept. 11 – 12

• Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Sept. 25-26

• Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021/22 season, opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Sept. 25

• “Six,” Broadway In Chicago, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Oct. 5, 2021 – Jan. 30, 2022

• Court Theatre – “Othello,” Court Theatre, opening Oct. 21

Contributing: Fran Spielman

Angelia S. Rico

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