Experience Black art and culture in Chicago

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From the start of the Great Migration until today, Chicago has supplied a rich tapestry of Black art and culture. The Chicago Black Renaissance produced groundbreaking literature from Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, dance from Katherine Dunham, and art from Archibald Motley Jr., and Elizabeth Catlett during the ‘40s and ‘50s.

The Black Art Movement fostered influential groups like the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and AfriCobra, an artist collective focused on creating a Black aesthetic during the ‘60s and ’70s. Today, that legacy continues to thrive thanks to a diverse array of Black arts organizations all over the city.

Black art galleries and museums in Chicago

Explore exhibits spotlighting contemporary Black artists as well as films, workshops, and community events at one of the oldest Black art centers in the country, the South Side Community Art Center.  

Take an art, culinary, or gardening workshop at Bronzeville’sLittle Black Pearl, whose mission is to uplift the community through art.  

Get acquainted with emerging and established Chicago visual artists at theHyde Park Art Center, which also offers artist workshops and tours. 

At the South Shore neighborhood’sStony Island Arts Bank, dive into rotating exhibitions and the organization’s pivotal archives, including the Johnson Publishing Company’s Ebony and Jet Magazines and the personal vinyl collection of house music founder Frankie Knuckles.

Stony Island Arts Bank
Stony Island Arts Bank

Stroll through galleries, studios, and artist shops in the Chatham community at the newArtists on the 9.  

Browse an extensive display of paintings, African art, and photos with the option of getting them framed on the spot at The Wood Shopart gallery and frame shop

VisitMariane Ibrahim Gallery for a robust glimpse into international artists of African descent. The West Town gallery specializes in art that reflects the stories of Black artists in the U.S., Africa, Europe, and Latin America. 

Experience the beauty and cultural significance of African art from all over the continent as well as works by local artists from the Diaspora at Faie Afrikan Art. Nearby, Gallery Guichardis noted for blending art with chic events, like lively artist receptions in the Great Migration sculpture garden. 

Also in Bronzeville,Blanc Gallery,exchanging ideas and conversations through visual art and community discussions are the focus. 

Insider tip: Explore all three of these galleries and more during theBronzeville Arts District Trolly Tours

In the heart of the Loop, explore the historic galleries of The Art Institute of Chicago where you’ll find historic and contemporary Black art.

Black theatre in Chicago

Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute
Reasons: A Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire at Black Ensemble Theater

Founded in 1976 by iconic Chicago actor, playwright, and director Jackie Taylor,Black Ensemble Theatershowcases the lives of famous Black artists and everyday people with dynamic musical productions. 

Named for the sacred Black space in New Orleans,Congo Square Theatrepresents transformative plays rooted in the complexities of the Black experience. 

Established in 1990, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatreproduces thought-provoking, original productions grounded in African traditions throughout the Diaspora. 

For over 52 years, Eta Creative Arts Foundation has provided performing arts training, art exhibits, community events, and plays by local and national playwrights that highlight the humanity of Black lives.

African dance in Chicago

Deeply Rooted Dance with artist Bisa Butler’s work as the backdrop by Matt Karas.

There’s no way you can stay in your seat when you attend aMuntu Dance Theatreperformance. The explosion of colors, motions, and rhythms is part of traditional African dance and audience participation is expected. 

Deeply Rooted Dance Theatersupplies elegant contemporary dance through the lens of the African American traditions of dance and storytelling. 

Performing dances from the African Diaspora as a form of activism,Red Clay Dance Company amplifies these voices and experiences through dance. 

M.A.D.D. Rhythmsbrings the joy and excitement of tap dance to stages with a versatile collective of performers who range in age from teens to middle-aged. 

Showcasing the artistry of Black, Brown and LGBTQIA+ performers,Joel Hall Dancers provide an impressive repertoire of lively jazz dance. 

A Chicago cultural mainstay,Najwa Dance Corpscelebrates a range of dance styles, including traditions from the Old Mali Empire, Liberia, the Senegambia region, Trinidad, Haiti, Jamaica, and African American swing dances. 

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