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Free, Free, Free! Chicago Arts + Events

Free Free Free! Chicago Arts + Events

"Free, Free, Free!" is an e-newsletter and website that provides a monthly curated list of free programs, events and activities happening throughout the city in our libraries, museums, cultural centers and parks. We encourage you to express your culture through the arts and take advantage of the many opportunities the City of Chicago provides you to engage, create and participate!

  Rahm Emanuel Mayor   Mark Kelly Commissioner  
Rahm Emanuel
Mark Kelly


Year of Public Art


Throughout October, a series of neighborhood programs and events will highlight the public art located throughout the city. Below are some of the highlighted events!


Arts in the DarkArts in the Dark

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 6-8pm

On Columbus Dr. moving North from Balbo to Monroe St.

Arts in the Dark unites the city's diverse creative community in a magical nighttime parade. Drawing together world-renowned institutions as well as artists in assorted fields, this dramatic display activates Halloween as the "artist's holiday". Join us for an evening of entertainment in one of the most important cultural districts in the nation!


crowd outIllinois Humanities and Chicago Humanities Festival: Crowd Out

Sunday, October 1, 2017
Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.

Beginning in June 2017, the Illinois Humanities and the Chicago Humanities Festival will join forces with community organizations across the city to host a series of 50 gatherings-one per ward-culminating in the American premiere of David Lang's crowd out, a performance by 1,000 voices representing the entire city.


Terrain BiennialTerrain Biennial

October 1-November 15, 2017
Various Locations in Chicago

The 3rd Annual Terrain Biennial repurposes private spaces, such as front yards, and fills them with artworks that challenge traditional notions of home, neighborhood and public art. The Biennial will engage spaces across the country, with a focus on the City of Chicago's 50 wards.


Public Art SymposiumPublic Art Symposium

October 26-27, 2017
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Coinciding with the release of Chicago's first Public Art Plan, artists, scholars, community organizers and public agents will convene to explore the intersecting values of their work in public art.



Public Art SymposiumSTREET LEVEL: Wabash Arts Corridor's 2nd Annual Public Art Exhibition

September 15-October 20, 2017
Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave.

STREET LEVEL features public art encounters that are designed for accessibility and to surprise casual passersby. The culminating event is the annual WAC Crawl on Friday, October 20, where the entire community of cultural and academic institutions, restaurants, hotels and businesses, residents, students and artists come together to celebrate the great cultural vitality of WAC and the city of Chicago.



Art Centers

Logan Center BluesfestLogan Center Bluesfest

October 13-15, 2017
915 E. 60th St.

The festival features a series of performances by musicians that reflect the diverse history of the blues tradition; a major archiving program to capture the stories of local and national blue artists; a photography exhibition; and workshops and educational programming to inspire the next generation of blues musicians and aficionados. Many of the events during the Logan Center Bluesfest are free. For tickets to Logan Center Bluesfest events, and to make reservations for workshops, please visit




Artist's Studio at the Art Institute of ChicagoArtist's Studio at the Art Institute of Chicago

Daily, 10:30am-5pm

Drop in at the Artist's Studio in the Ryan Learning Center and work as a family on an art project that you can take home. Activities are thematically linked to artwork in the museum's collection and special exhibitions. Artist's Studio programs are designed for children of all ages, along with their caregivers. They take place daily in the Family Room during Family Room hours. With free admission for kids under 14 and Chicago teens under 18, the Art Institute is a perfect family outing!


Night Out In The Parks

Presented by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Night Out in the Parks brings over 1,000 cultural events to neighborhood parks each year. Chicagoans and visitors alike, enjoy the breadth of world-class events in every one of the city's 77 community areas. Here are a few programming highlights happening in October, but be sure to check out their website (or download the app!) for a full listing of events!


Footworking Workshop at Kennicott ParkFootworking Workshop at Kennicott

Monday, October 2, 2017, 6-8pm

4434 S. Lake Park Ave.

Teens learn footworking, attend performances, games & activities. Refreshments will be available.



Full Moon Jams at Foster BeachFull Moon Jams at Foster Beach

Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:30-9pm

5200 N. Lake Shore Dr.

Fire dancing and celebratory gatherings under the full moon. The Full Moon Jam is a monthly gathering of fire, music, and community. We are a family-friendly, leave no trace event, celebrating our 13th year of fire dancing and celebratory gatherings under the full moon.




Chicago Public Library

Since first opening our doors in 1873, Chicago Public Library has served all Chicagoans with free and open places to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed. The libraries are that special third place-beyond home and work-where people come to improve their lives, nourish their intellect or savor entertainment. Their 80 locations host a variety of free events ranging from performances, arts and crafts, writing and poetry, continuing education and more.


Chicago Public Library Celebrating DiversityString Painting Inspired by Huichol Nierikas at West Chicago

Saturday, October 7, 2017, 2-3pm

4856 W. Chicago Ave.

Nierikas (pronounced Near-eeka) are traditional yarn paintings made by the Huichol (pronounced Wettchol) people using natural glue from beeswax that is applied to a board and yarn is pressed into it to harden. This tradition has been used by the Huichol people to communicate their history through symbols. In this program, we will experience Huichol art using colorful string and adhesive felt to create our own symbols.


Story TimeHalloween Stories and Craft at Clearing

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 6-6:45pm

6523 W. 63rd Place

Come dressed in your costume to celebrate the holiday of Halloween with some (not so) scary stories. Make a simple craft to take home. All material will be provided in this 45 minute program for children pre-k to age 14.

Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.


Navy Pier


Navy Pier 100 YearsFright Flicks at Navy Pier

Saturday, October 21 and 28, 2017, 3:30-5:30pm
Lake Stage at Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Join Navy Pier for Fright Flicks, a free outdoor film screening of your favorite Halloween movies! Grab a blanket and get comfortable for a double feature at 3pm and 5:30pm, with a mix of family-friendly and classic horror films. On Saturday, October 21 catch Monsters, Inc. at 3pm and Ghostbusters (2016) at 5:30pm. On Saturday, October 28 see Monster House at 3pm and Beetlejuice at 5:30pm. The Pier will also offer complimentary treats to Fright Flicks guests on a first-come, first-served basis while supply lasts. For more information on all of Navy Pier's Halloween happenings, visit



Daley Plaza Market


Strawberries at the Daley Plaza Farmers Market Thursdays, May 11 - October 26, 7am-3pm

50 W. Washington St.

Daley Plaza Market is the longest running farmers market in Chicago! Chicago's Farmers Markets bring vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers to neighborhoods throughout the City of Chicago. Check the website for the full schedule and to find a market near you!