Stories by Marc Vitali

Intuit, the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, has been awarded a $5 million community development grant. (WTTW News)

Intuit Museum Awarded ‘Transformative’ $5 Million Grant to Support Outsider Art

Intuit, the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, has been on Milwaukee Avenue near Chicago and Ogden avenues since 1999. The museum showcases artwork by self-taught and often marginalized artists who didn’t follow a traditional path to art-making.

Step Afrika! dancers perform. (Courtesy of Step Afrika!)

The 23 Must-Know Chicago Arts and Culture Events for 2023

From the obvious to the obscure, we’ve pulled together a rundown of promising arts and culture events to stir the senses in the new year. 

Children’s music group Wendy and DB perform a song from their Grammy-nominated album. (WTTW News)

Pair of Chicago Children’s Musicians Up for Same Grammy Award

Two of the five Grammy nominees this year for Best Children’s Album are from the Chicago area. For Justin Roberts, it’s his fifth nomination. And for the duo Wendy and DB, it’s their first.

A postcard featuring Santa Claus is part of the Newberry Library collection. (WTTW News)

Santa Claus’ Varied Depictions Can Be Viewed Through a Local Library’s Postcard Archive

Over time there have been many interpretations of Santa’s look – and vintage postcards from the early 20th century prove that he’s had more makeovers than a movie star. At the Newberry Library, a rare collection tracks Santa’s evolution.

Artist Dr. Charles Smith speaks with “Chicago Tonight” about his new exhibition at the National Veterans Art Museum. (WTTW News)

Artist Creates Work to Uplift People, Heal Own Memories of Combat in Vietnam

In 1968, a U.S. Marine was wounded and evacuated from Vietnam and returned to Chicago. He found his calling making artwork with an approach that could be called obsessive.

Third Coast Percussion rehearses for an upcoming performance. (WTTW News)

Grammy-Winning Chicago Ensemble Explores Possibilities of Percussion

Third Coast Percussion is nominated for a Grammy for the fourth year in a row. “Gauntlet” is a new work that has the ensemble making music from a table full of toys and everyday items.

Chicago-based painter Michiko Itatani is pictured at Wrightwood 659. (WTTW News)

Chicago Painter Michiko Itatani Looks to the Cosmos for Inspiration

The unpopulated environments created by Michiko Itatani suggest settings for sci-fi stories, filled with rockets, planets, books and music. In short, art and science. The work is about inner space – and outer space.

Patti Smith speaks with “Chicago Tonight” during a stop in Chicago. (WTTW News)

A Conversation With Patti Smith Reveals Her Thoughts on Poetry, Prose and Veal Parmigiana

Born in Chicago and raised in New Jersey, Patti Smith has lived an incomparable life as a poet and performer. Known as “the punk poet laureate,” she’s in the Rock Hall of Fame and won a National Book Award.

Pianist Inna Faliks performs at the Music Institute of Chicago, where her mother was a faculty member. (WTTW News)

Pianist Recalls Roots in Chicago and Ukraine – and an Early Appearance on WTTW

Pianist Inna Faliks is an educator, mom and a distinguished concert pianist who is in demand across the globe. But before all that, one of her first television appearances was on WTTW in 1994 when she was just 15 years old.

(Credit: Jay Young)

‘Native Truths’ Offer Fresh Perspective at the Field Museum

The Field Museum renovated its Native North America Hall and drastically shifted its focus. The new approach emphasizes story-telling and contemporary art – as well as historical items from the collection. The exhibition space is called “Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories.”

An art exhibition at Wrightwood 659 depicts same-sex desire. (WTTW News)

New Chicago Exhibition Showcases Historical Artwork Depicting Same-Sex Desire

Called “The First Homosexuals,” the show is about a time when the art world released a flood of new representations of same-sex desire.

Returning to Chicago for Poetry Prize, Patti Smith Looks Back on Local Roots and Eclectic Career

Patti Smith was honored by Chicago’s Poetry Foundation with a Pegasus Award. 

Patti Smith appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

10 Things You Might Not Know About Chicago-Born Patti Smith

Legendary musician, poet and writer Patti Smith was born in Chicago. Here's a rundown of her cultural connections. 

Anne E. Thompson, Kirsten Fitzgerald and Mary Beth Fisher in Rebecca Gilman’s “Swing State.” (Photo by Liz Lauren, provided)

Theater Critic Hedy Weiss on Must-See Plays, Ballet Program

Hedy Weiss joins “Chicago Tonight” to preview a new program from Joffrey Ballet, Goodman Theater’s production of “Swing Stat” and to recap the Joseph Jefferson Awards. 

“Monochrome Multitudes” is running at the Smart Museum until Jan. 8, 2023. (WTTW News)

Local Color on View in Show About Modernism and Monochromatic Art

The Smart Museum on the University of Chicago campus is currently saturated with monochromatic modern art. The curators call the show “Monochrome Multitudes.”

Amanda Williams appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Oct. 13, 2022. (WTTW News)

MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Recipient From Chicago Uses Color, Art to Explore Issues of Race

Three Chicago residents were among the group honored this year. One of those honorees is Amanda Williams, an artist who uses color and architecture to explore issues of race and the built environment. 

This year’s Día de Muertos exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art is titled “Memories & Offerings.” (WTTW News)

Art of Remembrance Celebrates Day of the Dead at Pilsen Museum

For the 36th year, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen is presenting an ever-changing art exhibit that celebrates love and loss. This year’s Day of the Dead exhibition blends the contemporary with the traditional. Its somber tone is meant to be a reflection of the world at large.

Michael Kutza, CEO Emeritus, of the Chicago International Film Festival. (WTTW News)

Starstruck Memories from Chicago International Film Festival Founder

Michael Kutza was just 22 years old when he launched the Chicago International Film Festival. Decades later, he looks back on a life among the movie stars. 

(WTTW News)

Paintings from Puerto Rico Arrive in Chicago for New Exhibit

The artwork is on loan from a museum in the town of Ponce on the southern coast. Now, Chicago’s National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Humboldt Park is the temporary home to a small but significant exhibit.

Maestro Riccardo Muti rehearses with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 21, 2022. (WTTW News)

Maestro Riccardo Muti Takes a Look Back as He Begins Final Season at Chicago Symphony Orchestra

This weekend marks the beginning of the end of Maestro Riccardo Muti’s tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. WTTW News visited Symphony Center to hear him lead the orchestra in a rousing rehearsal of works by Tchaikovsky.

(WTTW News)

Hellenic Museum Reopens with Photographs by a Greek Prince

The first show back for one of the last museums in Chicago to reopen following the COVID-19 shutdown has a royal pedigree.

Paul Natkin speaks to WTTW News in September 2022. (WTTW News)

Picturing Music History with Photographer Paul Natkin

Rock, reggae, jazz, folk, R&B – he’s captured it all. We catch up with photographer Paul Natkin, and he shared stories and pictures worth many thousands of words.

James ‘Big Cat’ Williams Looks Ahead to New Chicago Bears Season

The NFL season officially kicks off this week and the Chicago Bears are set to start their season Sunday at noon against the San Francisco 49ers.

(WTTW News)

Movie Posters and Lobby Cards at the Center of Chicagoan’s Colossal Collection

When your hobby turns into one of the most comprehensive collections of movie posters in the world, what do you do for an encore? A local collector once had 45,000 posters and lobby cards. He sold some, donated others, and kept the cream of the crop.

(WTTW News)

Vending Machine for Artists Aims to Boost Chicago Makers

It is a kind of art gallery inside a vending machine. There’s a new effort to boost the profile of artists and makers in Chicago and put some money in their pockets. Producer Marc Vitali has a look at the lighter side of buying artwork – and other fun stuff – sometimes to just go along with your beer.

This year marks the centennial of the Morton Arboretum in DuPage County. Fifty years before it was established, the founder’s father started Arbor Day.  (WTTW News)

After 100 Years, Morton Arboretum Just Keeps Growing

This year marks the centennial of the Morton Arboretum in DuPage County. Fifty years before it was established, the founder’s father started Arbor Day. Producer Marc Vitali visited the 1,700-acre public garden for a bit of history and to meet a photographer who has explored the place since his first visit in the 1960s.