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Museum Of Contemporary Art Will Raise Admission Fees, Let Teens In Free

By David Matthews | April 11, 2017 3:34pm | Updated on April 12, 2017 1:31pm
 The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., seeks to raise admission fees for adults starting in June. The fee would remain suggested.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., seeks to raise admission fees for adults starting in June. The fee would remain suggested.
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

STREETERVILLE — The Museum of Contemporary Art will raise its general admission fees while extending free admission to anyone 18 and under.

The Chicago Park District board of commissioners moved Wednesday to raise general admission to $15 from $12 at the Streeterville art museum, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Seniors and students will also be asked to pay an $8 for admission, up from $7 now. 

Admission would still be free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays, and the increased fee — as always at this art museum — is a suggested donation. The increased fees will go into effect June 1. 

“Our goal is to make the MCA accessible and welcoming to everyone, and for almost 10 years we have kept our suggested admission constant — which means visitors can always pay what they want,” Peggy Papaioannou, the museum's chief financial officer, said in a statement. “However, exhibition and program costs have continued to rise and to balance that, we are requesting a modest increase to our suggested donation."

The museum is raising the fees as it prepares to roll out free admission June 1 for anyone 18 years old or younger. The increase would also allow the museum to stay open longer on Tuesdays and Fridays, the art museum said. 

The museum now has free admission for children 12 and under, but not teenagers. 

Longer hours and more young people would seemingly benefit the museum, which is opening a new restaurant this summer. "Marisol," which takes its name from avant-garde French/Venezuelan artist Marisol Escobar, is driven by Jason Hammel of Logan Square's Lula Cafe and will focus on shared plates for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

New classrooms and a malleable event area called the Commons are also part of the plan at the museum, which is looking to boost admissions as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. A new exhibit by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami in collaboration with pop star Pharrell and pop culture website Complex is also aimed at drawing more young people to the museum.

The museum told the park board it hasn't raised its admission fees since 2009. Though it charges admission, the museum also employs a "pay-what-you-can" policy to encourage more visits. 

The increased fee required park board approval because the museum, like many others in Chicago, sits on park land. The increased fee is less than basic admission fees at other Downtown museums including the Art Institute ($20 for Chicagoans) and Field Museum ($22). 

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