Chicago is a great city for local talent in the arts and sciences, and when it’s especially nice out in the summertime, you’re bound to see festivals, shows, and exhibits pop up.

What’s more, different neighborhoods give off distinct vibes—where you’re lucky enough to experience various styles and cultural expressions, all within a few miles of one another. Mark your calendars for these summertime Chicago art festival dates, below.

By connecting with Chicago’s gifted community of artists, you’ll really get to know the city and its people. A tip: Bring some cash—you may want to buy a few pieces to take home.

Friday Art Markets

Here’s a new reason to think TGIF. On Friday, August 4th, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., head to the Friday Art Market at Daley Plaza Center in the “Loop” neighborhood of Chicago.

Here, you can browse some of Chicago’s local talents, looking at jewelry and watches, oil paintings, glass and metal work, soaps and lotions, and gold and silver statement pieces, among others.

What’s more, it’s free admission. Though, you’ll want to bring your wallet and stock up on some gifts for friends and family!

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

Known for his collaborations with Kanye West and Louis Vuitton, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami brings his anime-inspired characters to life at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) this summer, from June 6th to September 24th.

Breaking boundaries and fusing various concepts, those of ancient and modern and East and West, the exhibit showcases his keen attention to pop and media culture, globalization, and the impending danger of nuclear power.

His pieces engage the mind through conflicting imagery and thought. They are intricate in balancing between different sentiments: Sweet and surreptitious, cheer and cynicism, and darling and deceitful. It’s not an exhibit to miss.

Vertical Gallery

Chicago’s urban street art culture is vibrant—you’re bound to see complex murals and mantras along various sidewalks, under bridges, and even streaked across cocktail lounge doors, like at The Violet Hour.

At Vertical Gallery, there are a few summer art exhibits that stand out—the Beejoir x Mau Mau “Foreign Policy” show, on display until July 29th, and TRIVIUM, which will launch August 5th and run until August 26th.

Beejoir x Mau Mau depict today’s heated political turmoil in canvas, digital, bronze, and oil, drawing from universal topics, as well as personal life stories.

TRIVIUM is a three-artist show, bringing European inspiration to Chicago. Together, they use color, humor, and irony to express controversial, global concepts.

Bucktown Arts Fest

For over 30 years now, Bucktown has drawn in various talent for one of Chicago’s premier art festivals in the summertime, with more than 200 artists in attendance.

Here’s what to expect: oil and watercolor paintings, photography, textiles, sculptures, jewelry, and more. Plus, there’s live music (two stages), dancers, poets, food trucks, sangria, and kid-friendly activities (for when you’re craving that sangria).

And, here’s an even better stat—roughly 30,000 visitors visit the show, annually. Admission is free, so be sure to mark it on your summer calendar.

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