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Free in February! Museums and More

Updated: Dec 25, 2022

Get Inspired this Winter

Field Museum in Feb. 2020, Photo: Spencer C. Schluter,

Snow. Ice. Sleet. Slush. Wind chill factors. Here in Chicagoland, it can be tempting to stay home and hibernate in the winter. While we are staying in, it is a great time to build our craft and grow as artists. This includes practicing scales and exercises, composing new music, drawing in our sketchbooks, journaling, and creating our goals for the upcoming year. Creating art doesn't happen just in the practice room, on our tablet or laptop, or with pencil and paper, it's important to get out into the world and experience life and as author Julie Cameron says in her classic creativity guide, The Artists's Way, take yourself on "Artist Dates." Listening to great music, viewing artistic masterpieces, and spending time with nature are all ways to connect your inner artist. Local museums, the CSO, and the even the local zoos offer free fun and creative inspiration in February.

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and has one of the highly-regard collections of great visual art in the world with works such as Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (pictured above), Edward Hopper's Nighthawks at the Diner, and Grant Wood's American Gothic. They offer free admission to Illinois residents every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. all year round, but from now until March 4, they are offering free weekday admission (Monday through Friday) for Illinois residents. Get out and get inspired to create!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra All-Access Chamber Series

Chicago is fortunate to be home to one of the world's most accomplished orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Musicians from the CSO offer a series of free chamber concerts in Orchestra Hall and in neighborhood venues throughout the city each season.

On Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020 at Symphony Center, CSO Chamber Players will perform Hungarian composer and musicologist, Bela Bartók's Contrasts for violin, clarinet, and piano along with French composer Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. Quatuor pour la fin du temps translates as "Quartet for the End of the World" and was composed by Messiaen while he was a prisoner of war in a German prison camp. The piece was first performed by Messiaen and other prisoners. It is a deeply moving work and not to be missed! Concert time is 6:30 p.m. <