As the president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, I feel deeply honored and privileged to lead this museum and to contribute to the history of this remarkable institution—a place I have made my professional home for more than 20 years. The museum today remains true to its founding mission of 1879—to inspire inquiry and the free exchange of ideas through the experience of art across time and cultures. These are principles we champion every day in our galleries as we celebrate the diverse makers and geographies and engage with generations of visitors from near and far.
The museum houses a permanent collection of approximately 300,000 works of art—ranging from ancient art through work by today’s foremost artists. Amplifying the vitality and excellence of our collection is the presentation of more than 30 special exhibitions annually. Our exhibitions, renowned for groundbreaking scholarship and popular appeal, highlight voices and traditions from across the globe as well as the unique visions and histories that make Chicago such a compelling and complex city. These exhibitions are joined by hundreds of gallery talks, lectures, performances, workshops, and conversations that further activate our spaces and promote broad participation.
Beyond the galleries, we actively work to further the field of art history through curatorial and conservation research as well as robust and inclusive training programs for the next generation of museum professionals. Our multidisciplinary and multivocal environment is dedicated to investigation, innovation, education, and dialogue, and we support intern and fellowship initiatives that increase exposure to museum careers.
And all of this happens in one of the most successful metropolitan cultural campuses in the world. Originally home to the Council of Three Fires—the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples—and once a site of trade and gathering for more than a dozen other Native tribes, our unique municipal site combines park space, iconic public art, architecture, landscape design, and an active rail line. Our front yard is Millennium Park, with its 25 million visitors each year, and the shore of our Great Lake lies just blocks away—all in the heart of one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
Our website is yet another facet of our commitment to expanding access, growing audiences, and building lifelong relationships with art. It offers myriad ways to explore and connect with our collection—and a whole world of art. Whether you are using it to plan your next visit to the galleries, conduct scholarly research through our latest digital resources, or find inspiration for your own creative endeavors, we welcome you to the Art Institute of Chicago.
President and Eloise W. Martin Director
Board of Trustees
The governing body for both the museum and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, this group of highly dedicated individuals bring their wide-ranging expertise to ensure the institution as a whole remains responsible and vital to those it serves.