Since 1916, The Arts Club of Chicago has been a preeminent exhibitor of international art, a forum for established and emerging artists, and a celebrated venue for performers from around the world. For over 100 years, The Arts Club has opened its membership to artists and patrons of the arts, and its exhibitions to the public. At its inaugural meeting, the mission of the Club was defined as: “to encourage higher standards of art, maintain galleries for that purpose, and to promote the mutual acquaintance of art lovers and art workers.”
The mission of the Club has since grown and expanded, and is now:
To encourage, foster, promote, and sponsor activities and presentations which would aim to increase public interest in the arts and related activities;
To expand the artistic horizons of a public interested in the arts and related activities, which will include lectures, lecture/demonstrations, symposia, gallery talks, films, music, and dance presentations, and related educational programs designed to further these purposes;
To maintain a facility for the presentation of these activities and exhibitions;
To acquire by gift or purchase, and maintain a permanent collection of fine art, and to present temporary exhibitions of the fine arts in a gallery open to the public.
The Arts Club continues to uphold this mission, offering between three and four public exhibitions per year, a permanent collection including work by many modern and contemporary masters, and a diverse calendar of programming offered to its membership and guests.
Chicago is located at the nexus of trade routes established by Indigenous peoples, principally the Potawatomi Nation and two other Indigenous tribes, the Odawa and Ojibwe. The Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Mascouten, Kickapoo, Sac, Fox, and Mound Builder tribes also thrived in this area. The Arts Club of Chicago’s immediate neighborhood was established by depositing landfill into the bed of Lake Michigan, converting waterways into man-made land. While non-Natives see the lake as claimable, traditional Potawatomi beliefs count water as a passageway rather than a boundary. The Arts Club recognizes these Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of this area. Today, Chicago remains home to one of the largest urban Indigenous populations. As a Chicago cultural institution that was founded with a focus on public education, we commit to lifting up this history and working to make visible the Indigenous peoples here.