Programs

While sometimes experimental or off-beat, MCA programs offer something for everyone. These provocative events take place throughout the museum, from the Edlis Neeson Theater to the Commons, and are often free with museum admission. Those listed with a ticket icon require a moderate fee. For tickets and information visit the Box Office or call 312-397-4010. To see what’s next, take a look at the Calendar.

MCA Stage

Will Rawls, Claudia Rankine, and John Lucas, What Remains

Photo © Julieta Cervantes, courtesy Live Arts Bard

Cutting-edge dance, theater, and music from Chicago and around the world push the boundaries of performance in the intimate Edlis Neeson Theater. Visit the Box Office for information on purchasing tickets and gift certificates, or consider purchasing a Pick 2 package to save on tickets. Complete your MCA Stage experience by dining at Marisol Restaurant and Bar before or after a performance. Special thanks to our funders for making this season possible.

The Commons

Friday Evening program in the MCA Commons featuring Edra Soto and January Parkos Arnall in conversation, Dec 8, 2017

Photo: Matthew Avignone

Located on the second floor of the museum, the MCA’s Commons places artistic and civic exchange at the heart of the museum. Everything that happens within the space, including an array of programs, community meetings, and artist projects, is meant to encourage formal and informal dialogue as well as interaction among artists, visitors, and communities.

Dance

In an urban space filled with graffiti, a light-skinned brunette in a flowy white skirt gracefully bends her body forward in a dance-like motion.

Victoria Bradford, Abandoned Practices, Mississippi River Pier

Photo: Ashley Elliot

Choreographer Alvin Ailey once remarked Dance is for everybody. At the MCA dance is for everybody and performed everywhere: on the Edlis Neeson Theater, the Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden, or even the grand staircase.

Youth-led Programs

Passion to Profession youth-led panel and workshop

The MCA is committed to empowering young people in Chicago. This video highlights the award-winning programs that continue the museum’s legacy of youth-oriented education and position the MCA as a leading cultural resource within a diverse and energetic city.

Dialogue Series

An text graphic with grid overlaid by the words 'MCA Dialogue Series'

The 2021 Dialogue Series has been postponed to Fall.

The Dialogue Series is a museum-wide commitment to sustained inquiry about museum practice, access, and inclusion. Each annual series includes eminent speakers presenting innovative work happening across disciplines, panel discussions, and opportunities for open dialogue between local arts professionals and audiences.

In Progress

Event documentation, In Progress: Folayemi Wilson and Norman Teague.

Photo: Michael Courier © MCA Chicago.

In Progress is a series of public programs designed to give artists, thinkers, and curators a platform for developing new works, and to give patrons a glimpse into the creative process. Participants further develop the work-in-progress through a signature reverse Q & A where the speaker actively invites feedback from the MCA’s public.

Live Arts

Two humanoid puppets hold hands while seated on a tiny wooden stage.

Silencio Blanco, El Chiflon

Photo: Lorenzo Mella

The MCA is a vital platform for experimentation, where visitors experience art and performance throughout the museum.

Music

Tuesdays on the Terrace September 4, 2018

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Using sound, lights, and video, performers from around the world create new experiences that expand your concept of music. The MCA’s musical events take place in the intimate Edlis Neeson Theater, on the Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden, or other spaces around the museum.

Screenings

In this animation still, a swimmer gazes into a body of green water.

MCA Screen: Black Radical Imagination -The Golden Chain

Video Still: Ezra Claytan Daniels, Adebukola Bodunrin

Featuring works of contemporary cinema that expand traditional notions of moviegoing.

Talks

Against a black backdropped stage, a man reclines in an armchair speaking into a microphone while another leans in to listen, waiting his turn.

Our talks bring speakers from a wide range of disciplines together to investigate, share, and explore art and contemporary culture. From conversations in the galleries to more formal lectures, innovative thinkers and makers discuss contemporary art and ideas. Nothing is off limits.

Workshops

A young child lays on the ground to draw on a clipboard with a crayon.

Family Day, May 2015

Photo: Joshua Longbrake © MCA Chicago

At the MCA you can see great art and watch or learn about how it’s made. Join a master class, sit in on an open rehearsal, or learn a new skill or craft—there are workshops for all ages and interests.