Stories by Marc Vitali

Art Deco Inspires Ambitious New Mural on Chicago Riverwalk

A close-up look at the new mural “The Radiance of Being” along the Chicago Riverwalk. (WTTW News)

Summer is the season for public art, and it seems like every week a colorful new mural blooms. We get up close to a massive new work of public art taking flight along the Chicago Riverwalk. 

Chicago’s Manual Cinema Animates Spooky Trailer for ‘Candyman’

A still image from Manual Cinema’s trailer for “Candyman.” (WTTW News via Manual Cinema)

A trailer for the film uses only handmade animation – not scenes from the movie – to set up the story of a supernatural killer in a Chicago housing project and his horrifying backstory. We meet the artists behind the work.

Local Guitarists Make Good Use of Downtime

Goran Ivanovic plays guitar at a Chicago park. (WTTW News)

2020 was supposed to be the Year of Chicago Music. Now, the vast and vibrant local music scene lies dormant. We check in on a Chicago family that can play guitars – and make them too. 

85-Year-Old Photographer Steve Schapiro Reflects on Civil Rights Movement

Steve Schapiro speaks with WTTW News.

He took memorable pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and traveled with writer James Baldwin. Steve Schapiro talks about what he witnessed in the United States back then — and what he is seeing today.

A Virtual Tour of the Union League Club of Chicago

Inside the Union League Club of Chicago. (WTTW News)

It’s home to a massive art collection that includes a Monet and a passel of Paschkes. The latest in our series of virtual tours: a private club with a public focus — and an eye for artwork.

Local Musician Finds a Muse in Mr. Rogers

(WTTW News)

The feel-good music of Fred Rogers inspires a neighborhood musician.

A Tour of the ‘Notorious RBG’ Exhibition With Son James Ginsburg

“Notorious RBG” book cover illustration by Adam Johnson. Courtesy of HarperCollins. Photographs: Crown © by Hurst Photo/Shutterstock; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

A look at the life and legal work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with family stories from her son.

Teenage Mariachi Band Shares Culture, Connects to Roots Through Music

Members of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico (WTTW News)

A talented band of Chicago teens recorded a new album during the pandemic. We met members of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico on a sunny day in Pilsen where they shared their musical heritage.

Chicago Puppeteer Brings Theater To Your Door with Pop-Up Show

(WTTW News)

A local theater artist does house calls and takes his puppets on the road in Chicago neighborhoods.

Reopened Museum Looks at Power of Resistance in Puerto Rico

(Credit: Eduardo Martinez / Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Photography)

The Museum of Contemporary Photography is rolling out resistance. That’s the theme of their long-delayed show that just opened on the Columbia College campus in the Loop. We go for a look.

A Virtual Visit to a Luminous Collection of Spiritual Art

A scene inside the Loyola University Museum of Art. (WTTW News)

A private tour of a collection of artistic treasures with a spiritual focus. Our latest “virtual visit” is a look at artwork designed to inspire. 

A Virtual Visit to the Chicago Architecture Center

The headquarters of the Chicago Architecture Center are currently closed, but the CAC is offering a variety of online programs. (WTTW News)

The home of the Chicago Architecture Center is both a gallery and a hub for dozens of tours. The space recently reopened to visitors – how you can explore Chicago architecture – and get a tour – from home. 

‘Their Songs Will be Sung Again’: Exhibits on Native Americans Wait to Reopen

“Sacred Under the Cliff of Yellowstone” (Credit: Ben Pease / The Field Museum)

On March, a day after the mayor canceled St. Patrick’s Day parades, another parade celebrated the opening of twin exhibitions on Native American people. The shows opened ... and then closed one day later.

Children’s Book ‘The Skin You Live In’ Back in the Spotlight

An illustration by David Lee Csicsko for the book “The Skin You Live In.”

There is renewed interest in a children’s book written and illustrated by a couple of Chicagoans. We speak with author Michael Tyler and illustrator David Lee Csicsko.

A Virtual Tour of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. (WTTW News)

When Nazis sought to march in Skokie in 1978, they did not get their wish. Residents resisted and six years later opened a storefront museum whose mission remains to “take a stand” against bias.

New Music from Michael Miles Inspired by the Mississippi River

Michael Miles plays his banjo on the banks of the Chicago River. (WTTW News)

Whether it’s Johann Sebastian Bach on the banjo, or an original work with a Cuban-style rhythm, Michael Miles is Chicago’s go-to banjo man.

A Virtual Tour of the National Veterans Art Museum

Chicago is home to an armory of art created by members of our armed forces. With Memorial Day in mind, we visited a museum with a mission.

Inflatable Art is Blowing Up During the Shutdown

(WTTW News)

We check out the Extreme Protection Suits created by Chicago-based artist and art teacher Claire Ashley, who says she was interested in “using humor as a way to deal with trauma.”

A Virtual Visit to the DuSable Museum

Inside the DuSable Museum of African American History. (WTTW News)

It was founded in the Bronzeville home of Margaret Burroughs and moved to a Park District building in 1973. We explore the DuSable Museum collection with CEO Perri Irmer as part of our series of virtual art tours.

The Old Town School of Folk Music Tunes in to Digital Times

The Old Town School of Folk Music on Lincoln Avenue. (WTTW News)

It’s been a Chicago institution since it opened in 1957. Since then, the Old Town School of Folk Music has expanded its curriculum and, now, its online offerings. We stop by to see how it’s adapting to the changing times.

A Virtual Visit With the National Museum of Mexican Art

As part of our series of virtual art tours, we visit a collection of artwork that highlights the richness of Mexican art in Chicago.

A Virtual Tour of a Historic Home to Contemporary Art

(WTTW News)

We continue our series of visits to beautiful corners of Chicago’s cultural landscape with a trip to Humboldt Park, where we get a dose of architecture and art.

A Virtual Tour Inside Chicago’s Center for Outsider Art

Lee Godie (American, 1908-1994). Three Hands on a Piano, n.d. Watercolor and ink on paper, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Ellyn in Profile, n.d. Watercolor and ink on paper, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Collection of Victor F. Keen 

For 29 years one small but significant place has been a showcase for visionary artwork. The art center called Intuit had to close a new show last month, and we got a look at what you’ll see when it one day reopens. 

A Virtual Tour of an Art Center with a Passion for Paschke

Inside the Ed Paschke Art Center (WTTW News)

Chicago art institutions are closed indefinitely, so we’re opening them — virtually. First up in our series of virtual tours: an art center dedicated to one of Chicago’s most celebrated artists, Ed Paschke.

Classical Music Students Adjust to New Study Habits, Routines

Sisters Claire, left, and Esme Arias-Kim (WTTW News)

As part of an ongoing series on how professional musicians are responding to a changing landscape, we meet a few aspiring young musicians, who tell us the downside – and the upside – of studying music during the pandemic.

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