Jump to content


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

Two dancers silhouetted in pose set against a concrete wall

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

seated listeners gather; the space's ceiling is a dense tapestry of green hanging plants in unique golden vessels

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.


In an urban space filled with graffiti art 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.


panel speakers look out on a full seated audience in the MCA commons gallery

Passion to Profession youth-led panel and workshop

At the MCA, young people not only view but engage with contemporary art and artists. The MCA makes museum resources accessible to youth so that they may dream, plan, and create responses to the issues that are important to them.

Dialogue Series

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

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

candid shot of panel speaker holding a microphone in warm toned paneled room

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.


view from behind stage as full band plays to audience on MCA terrace

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.


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


against a black stage, two panelists sit with microphones in hand, one speaking while the other listens intently

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.


worms-eye view of a young child lays on the ground to drawing 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.

New Works Initiative

The New Works Initiative is a structure for the MCA to fund and support the development of new artworks, placing the creative process at the heart of the museum’s relationship with Chicago. This three-part approach supports the development of new performances and creative projects that foster connection between artists, audiences, and communities.