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When Millennium Park opened on July 16, 2004, it transformed an industrial wasteland into Chicago’s showplace for cutting-edge art, architecture, landscape design, music and more. Today, the 24.5-acre park is Chicago’s second-largest tourist attraction – and the City will mark its 10th anniversary throughout the summer. The Millennium Park 10th Anniversary Summer Celebration will feature dozens of FREE events and exhibitions including new, monumental sculptures by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, designer of Crown Fountain; indie rock, electronica, jazz, classical and world music; films, simulcasts and documentaries shown on an outdoor, 40-foot LED screen; family activities; workouts and more.
“Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most extraordinary venues, and its popularity continues to climb among visitors and residents alike,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City of Chicago. “Last summer, the Park welcomed 4.75 million people, an increase of more than 5 percent. This summer, the Park provides an amazing backdrop for hundreds of FREE cultural programs.”
“Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate has become a new symbol for Chicago around the world,” said Donna LaPietra, chair of the Millennium Park Foundation. “We invite Chicagoans and tourists to experience the stunning art and architecture of the Park this summer—including Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”), Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge, Wrigley Square, Lurie Garden and the list goes on and on.”
Jaume Plensa: 1004 Portraits, June 18, 2014–December 2015 in the South Boeing Gallery and at Michigan & Madison features four monumental sculptures installed in Millennium Park on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the artist’s Crown Fountain. The 20- to 40-foot sculptures are portraits of young girls created in cast iron and resin; they continue the story of the original 1000 portraits of local Chicago residents that illuminate the Crown Fountain every day.
Across the Park in the North Boeing Galleries, another special 10th anniversary exhibition is Millennium Park: An Anatomy in Photographs, June 18, 2014–October 2015. Curated by John Vinci of Vinci/Hamp, Architects, the exhibit features over 50 images—including historical photographs; images of the Park before, during and after construction; and the work of numerous photographers who used the Park as their subject. Both shows are FREE and made possible by the Millennium Park Foundation; hours are 6am–11pm daily.
Live music under the stars has been a hallmark of Millennium Park since the beginning, and this summer is no exception. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and its partners are pleased to present a diverse lineup of Chicago artists as well as musical acts from across the U.S. and the globe.
Loops and Variations, named best New Music series by Chicago Magazine, mixes contemporary classical ensembles with electronic music artists. Concerts are Thursdays, May 29–July 3 at 6:30pm. Check out an eclectic mix of music discoveries, including cutting-edge indie rock, pop bands, global sounds and rock veterans at the Downtown Sound series, Mondays, June 2–August 11 at 6:30pm (no concert July 28). Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz presents jazz greats—new and old. Concerts are Thursdays, July 24–August 28 at 6:30pm and each begins with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Ensembles and the Gallery 37 After School Matters Jazz Big Band. Complete lineups for Loops and Variations, Downtown Sound and Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz will be announced soon. All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Speaking of jazz: the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is August 28-31, a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. On Thursday, the festival opens at the Chicago Cultural Center before moving to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for the Made in Chicago series finale. Friday through Sunday, enjoy performances on four stages featuring headliners Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Tom Harrell, Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage showcases high school and college ensembles on Saturday and Sunday on the Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace. The festival is produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Admission is FREE. For details, visit chicagojazzfestival.us.
The 16th Annual World Music Festival Chicago rounds out the summer September 11–21 in various locations including a four-part, double-bill series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park featuring major international artists and groups performing as part of the 11-day, multi-venue festival. These concerts are Thursday–Friday, September 11–12 at 6pm and Saturday–Sunday, September 13–14 at 3pm. Artists will be announced soon. The festival is presented by DCASE and admission is FREE. For details, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
Of course, Chicago’s acclaimed outdoor classical music festival—the Grant Park Music Festival, June 11–August 16—celebrates its 80th season this year, with the Grammy® Award-nominated Grant Park Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus led by Chorus Director Christopher Bell, in a summer of world premieres, Festival favorites, world-renowned guest artists, a weeklong composer-in-residency and two visiting youth symphonies. Most performances are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association in partnership with the Chicago Park District and DCASE. Start times vary. For the complete schedule, visit gpmf.org.
Millennium Park Presents, May 25–September 6 (select dates), is a series of one-night-only performances curated by DCASE to showcase symphonic music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more—performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. This summer’s lineup includes Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on Sunday, May 25 at 6:30pm; a simulcast of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series performed at Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Friday, June 6 at 8pm; Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Tour to China Send-off Concert on Sunday, June 8 at 6:30pm; Rhythms of China 2014 presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society on Sunday, August 10; the annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert at Millennium Park on Monday, August 18 at 6:15pm; a special Chicago Dancing Festival Simulcast from the Harris Theater on Wednesday, August 20 at 7pm; a live performance of the Chicago Dancing Festival Celebration of Dance on Saturday, August 23 at 7:30pm; the Sones de México Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert on Wednesday, September 3 at 7pm; a Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago on Saturday, September 6 at 7:30pm; and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Concert for Chicago on Friday, September 19 at 6:30pm. All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
If outdoor movies are your thing, the Summer Film Series, Tuesdays, June 24–August 26 at 6:30pm is a must-see. Take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out a blanket on the Great Lawn to watch your favorite films on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen. The series is co-curated by DCASE and Millennium Park Foundation. Movies will be announced soon. Admission is FREE.
Also to be presented this summer on Millennium Park’s 40-foot LED screen is Jens Jensen The Living Green on Thursday, June 19 at 8pm. Join director Carey Lundin, WTTW11’s Geoffrey Baer and Lurie Garden designer Piet Oudolf for this inspirational, award-winning documentary about the life and career of conservation hero Jens Jensen. Other Lurie Garden events include the annual Plant Sale, Saturday, June 7, 10am–3pm (with hands-on gardening tips, plant-based crafts for families and a book signing by Roy Diblik) and two lecture-demonstrations: Raptors! on Tuesdays, June 24 and July 22 at 6–8pm and Wildlife! on Tuesday, August 19 at 6–8pm. For details, visit luriegarden.org.
Throughout the summer, take advantage of FREE Lurie Garden Tours, May 15–September 21 offered Thursdays and Fridays 11am–1:30pm and Sundays 10am–1:30pm. Take a 20-minute guided tour to learn about the Garden’s design and history, perennial plants and wildlife. Or take a guided walk of the entire Park and learn more about its history, art and architecture—as part of the FREE Millennium Park Greeter Service offered daily, May 23–October 13 at 11:30am and 1pm. Greeter walks depart from the Visitor Information Center at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street. Space is limited to 10 people.
Families are invited to join the fun all summer long with activities, including music and arts and crafts, for kids of all ages, at the Target Family Fun Festival, June 23–August 24, 10am–3pm. The daily schedule includes Wiggleworms® at 10am with the Old Town School of Folk Music, a Reading Circle at 11am and Family Performances at 1pm. Activity Zone partners change weekly and include Lurie Garden, Get Out & Grow, Barrel of Monkeys, Chicago Parent Magazine, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago History Museum, Easel Art Studio, CircEsteem and Lookingglass Theatre. New activities this year include Movement Mondays, Mondays at 1pm, and Read All About It!, a reading and book giveaway Wednesdays at 11am. The series is programmed by the Millennium Park Foundation, under the tent at Chase Promenade North. Admission is FREE.
Last but not least – for the fitness-minded – Millennium Park will once again offer FREE Summer Workouts on the Great Lawn funded by McDonald’s, Saturdays, June 7–September 6 featuring music during yoga and pilates and drumming during Zumba®. Workouts are 45 minutes with classes in Tai Chi at 7am, Yoga at 8am, Pilates at 9am and Zumba, a Latin-inspired calorie-burning dance fitness party, beginning at 10am.
And Chicago Bike Week is a celebration of cycling in the city on June 13–20, with several FREE activities at the Park presented by DCASE including Bike Chicago Film: Rushmore on Monday, June 16, 8:30pm at Jay Pritzker Pavilion; and Life Time Cycle Palooza, an outdoor spin class complete with DJ and a certified instructor on Thursday, June 19, 5:30pm at Cloud Gate. For details, visit bikechicago.us.
DCASE is pleased to unveil a new visual identity for Millennium Park, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, designed by Jason Pickleman of The JNL Graphic Design—made possible by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and Grant Park North. For the latest news and events, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @Millennium_Park.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
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