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Families can show their creative sides at Art Institute Family Festival

Families can participate in activities inspired by the Art Institute's current Magritte exhibition
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Art Institute of Chicago, recently voted the number one museum in America by Trip Advisor, always promises a treat for the senses with its outstanding permanent collection and world-class assortment of traveling exhibitions. This weekend, the Art Institute welcomes families of all shapes and sizes to the Ryan Education Center for a free day of artistic bonding.

The Art Institute Family Festival: 19th Annual Kaleidoscope on Saturday, July 19th from 10:30am until 3pm will feature activities inspired by the museum’s current and very popular exhibition “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938.” Art Institute staff, guest artists, and partners from other Chicago arts organizations such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lurie Garden, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and Poetry Foundation will be on hand to help parents, kids, and teens navigate the wide array of activity stations.

Families can participate in different art projects and activities in two studios and two classrooms of the Ryan Education Center. Guests can create kaleidoscope rainbows and papel picado in Studio A, explore Surrealist surprises in Studio B, listen to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s downtown sounds in Classroom 3, and play a game of exquisite mix-ups in Classroom 4. Artist-in-Residence Tom Burtonwood will also be on hand in Classroom 5 for discussion with any aspiring artists who may hope to see their own creations on display at the Art Institute some day.

Families can also visit select galleries for additional art-making activities. For example, in Griffin Court, guests can contribute to a Magritte-inspired collaborative cloudscape. In Pritzker Garden, kids can test their artistic skills by drawing from nature with a teaching artist. The Art Institute’s team of teen interns will be on hand in the Modern Wing Gallery 396, which houses some wonderful Surrealist masterpieces by perhaps the most famous artist in the genre, Salvador Dali, to lead kids and parents in collaborative Surrealist art games. Finally, guests ages six and up can meet in Griffin Court for a thirty-minute Family Gallery Walk to explore the highlights of the museum, which will inevitably include Ferris Bueller’s favorite masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

Families that are willing to pay for admission to the Magritte exhibit should make sure to visit this excellent collection. The Art Institute’s permanent collection of works by the Surrealist master is quite small, and this exhibition gives visitors a chance to explore more fully the evolution of a unique modern artist. His mind-twisting painting “Not to be Reproduced” will stick in your mind for years.

Guests can find a full program schedule and event information at

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