Located one block east of the historic Water Tower, the MCA champions the provocative side of contemporary art and culture. Our innovative exhibitions, performances, and programs will inspire you.

Founded in 1967 as a Kunsthalle, or noncollecting art gallery, the MCA is now one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to art. Since our inception, it has been our mission to exhibit new and experimental work in all media, paired with ambitious education programs. In 1974, the MCA expanded our mission to include collecting and preserving contemporary art for future generations with the inauguration of a permanent collection that has grown to include more than 2,000 works. After 29 years in a storefront on Ontario Street, the museum moved to our current location in 1996, giving our collection, exhibitions, and programming room to evolve to meet the needs of 21st-century art and audiences.

Vision and Mission

MCA Building

The MCA is an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time.

Who We Are

Direct Message Opening Preview Events, 2020

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lawson Photography


Reopening Preview Weekend – February 28, 2021

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lawson Photography

Explore our job openings or find out more about other ways to get involved through internships and volunteering.

Press Room

Rows of black folders with a white logo that reads "MCA-CHIC-AGO" are lined up to repeat "MCA."

Press kits featuring the new identity for the Vision Campaign Press Preview

Photo: Braxton Black for Jeremy Lawson Photography © MCA Chicago

The press team is always happy to accommodate the needs of the media.


An aerial photograph captures views of the MCA, Lake Michigan, and surrounding buildings.

Designed by architect Josef Paul Kleihues and completed in June 1996, the MCA's cast aluminum and limestone facade stands out against the surrounding glass towers

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

In May 1991, the MCA selected Josef Paul Kleihues to design our new home. It was Kleihues’s first commission in the United States, and a fitting one for someone who admired the architectural traditions of Chicago, especially architects William Le Baron Jenney, David Adler, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, John Root, and the firm of Holabird & Roche.


Partnerships and Engagement is a program designed to partner with creative and diverse Chicago-based organizations to foster creative collective experiences. Our partners, which include grassroots organizations and community groups, are invited to host conversations, workshops, talks, and gatherings that provide space for Chicagoans to collaborate on projects. Partnerships and Engagement creates new pathways for working between museums and their public.


Volunteers support our programs in a range of ways, such as helping out at evening events, lending a hand to the Learning and Public Programs department on Family Days, ushering for the MCA Stage, or leading tours of exhibitions.

A group of five people pose, all but one wearing purple fedoras.

A volunteer helps out at a karaoke activity during MCA Prime Time: Purple, May 6 2016

Photo © MCA Chicago


MCA internships provide valuable opportunities to learn how nonprofits operate in the company of like-minded young professionals. Many of our former interns go on to careers in museums and other cultural organizations. On occasion, they even join the MCA staff.

Two young people sit at a table with a PRESS sign. They smile at someone cut off by the frame.

Interns welcome the press for a preview of Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Call To Action

The MCA believes deeply in the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA), and we are committed to enacting structural change by turning our beliefs into actions. The following is a cumulative list of action steps we’ve taken based on our commitment to inclusion and equity. We created this list to publicly share our actions with staff, members, board members, artists, our audience, and our community. These actions will be updated regularly. If you have comments that you would like to share with us about our actions, please send us a message at [email protected].


The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is generously supported by its Board of Trustees; individual and corporate members; private and corporate foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and government agencies. Programming is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Museum capital improvements are supported by a Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The MCA is a proud member of Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.