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Northwestern University Partner Day 2015

Art Institute of Chicago welcomes Northwestern students, faculty, staff and guests May 16

  • A free day of art appreciation made possible by Northwestern alumna Shirley Welsh Ryan
  • Free admission, tours, talks and more for Northwestern visitors and their guests
  • Art Institute’s featured exhibit is “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840”

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Art Institute of Chicago will welcome all Northwestern faculty, staff, students and their family members and friends for a day of free admission and programming from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 16.

The Art Institute is located at 111 S. Michigan Ave., in downtown Chicago.

A valid WildCARD is required for admission for each Northwestern party and all guests must enter with a WildCARD host.

University Partner Day 2015, hosted by Northwestern’s Center for Student Involvement, is part of a partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago. It is made possible by a generous donation by Northwestern alumna Shirley Welsh Ryan, who fully supports the partnership between Northwestern and the Art Institute, which also allows for two Northwestern Nights each academic year, as well as free, year-round access to the museum for all Northwestern undergraduates.

Ryan, a member of the Art Institute’s Board of Trustees and is the wife of Chicago business leader and Northwestern alumnus Patrick G. Ryan, the former chairman of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees.


In addition to complimentary admission for Northwestern community members and their guests, the free day of activities also will include:

• A 10 percent discount at Caffé Moderno, located on the second floor of the Modern Wing 

• A 10 percent discount on purchases of $25 or more at the museum’s gift shops and restaurants

• A 10 percent discount on a new Art Institute membership of less than $175

• A full day of family programs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Ryan Education Center

• Exclusive lecture and tour opportunities, including:

            11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Artists’ Studio

Noon to 1 p.m. Gallery Talk: Modern Wing Highlights (meet in Griffin Court)

2 p.m. panel discussion on sculptor Charles Ray in Fullerton Hall


• The current featured exhibit at the Art Institute is “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840,” through June 7, in Regenstein Hall. Presenting more than 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America -- as well as the Art Institute’s own important collection of Irish decorative and fine arts -- this exhibition is the first to explore the rich and complex art and future of Ireland during the 18th century. It showcases rooms featuring Irish silver, ceramics, furniture, bookbinding and more.

As part of the museum's Reading Between the Lions Book Club, the museum is encouraging visitors to read “The Absentee,” Maria Edgeworth’s classic novel to gain a greater appreciation for the art belonging to the period. The book is available for free as an e-reader via the Project Gutenberg app. To download the discussion guide, click here.

Northwestern community members who are interested in reading the book also are invited to attend a special tour of the Art Institute’s Ireland exhibition at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 6, prior to the museum’s opening to the public at 10:30 a.m. Space is limited. To attend, participants are asked to read “The Absentee” before June 6 and to RSVP for this event by filling out this form.

• “Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997-2014” Galleries 291-299, May 15-Oct. 4, 2015, is the first

major exhibition devoted to celebrated Chicago-born, Los Angeles–based sculptor Charles Ray since a midcareer retrospective in 1998. This display fills the second floor of the Modern Wing with 19 works and flows into the museum’s gardens with an additional two, presenting a full range of Ray’s most recent achievements with particular emphasis on figurative experiments. The exhibition, co-organized by the Art Institute and the Kunstmuseum Basel, can only be seen in the United States at the Art Institute. Six sculptures -- including four new works in their museum debut: Horse and Rider,” “ Huck and Jim,” “Dog” (“Silver”) and “Girl on Pony” -- are on view only in Chicago.

To view a full list of current exhibitions, visit


General admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.


For more information on the Art Institute’s dining options, visit

For questions or more information about the Corporate and University Partner Day at the Art Institute of Chicago, contact the Corporate Relations office at 312-443-3139 or

For more information or questions about opportunities with the Art Institute for Northwestern, contact Joseph Lattal at

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