DOWNTOWN — Chicago teenagers got a nice gift for the holidays: free admission into the Art Institute next year.
Chicagoans ages 14 to 17 years old can get into the acclaimed art museum at 111 S. Michigan Ave. free of charge beginning Jan. 2. Those under 14 already get in free.
The gift was made possible through a "generous" donation made by Glenn and Claire Swogger of Topeka, Kansas, said Amanda Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Art Institute of Chicago. The amount of their donation was undisclosed, but the gift should cover teens' admission "for at least 25 years," Hicks said.
"We're incredibly excited," Hicks said in an email. "The Swoggers' generosity and the free access it creates for new generations of Chicago youth, reflects the core of who we are and what we do and who we aspire to be."
The museum, which counts works by the likes of Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh in its collection, said it hosted about 2,000 local teenagers last year. About 25 percent of the museum's 1.55 million annual visitors get in free through the museum's free days, programs for children and veterans, and other means.
"Our priority is to make our exhibitions, our collections and our museum programming as broadly available as possible — to reach new audiences and build a stronger connection within our communities in the city of Chicago and beyond," Hicks said.
Teenagers must live in the city limits for free admission, and can present a school ID, drivers license, report card, piece of homework or other documents connecting them to a Chicago school or ZIP code to get in, Hicks said.
General admission for Chicago teenagers now costs $14.
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