By Magdalene Paniotte

Photography has expanded to become an impressive and ever-evolving art medium. Everyone can take a picture, but what makes certain images appear more beautiful from a professional’s lens? When looking for quality photographic galleries with artwork that allows imaginations to roam, these great Chicago locales come highly recommended.

(credit: Museum of Contemporary Photography/Facebook)

Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 663-5554

Price: Free Admission
Hours: Mon to Fri, Sat – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thurs – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Click here for a calendar of events.

As the leading photographic museum in the Midwest, the Museum of Contemporary Photography was established in 1984 by Columbia College in Chicago, a well-known academic institution for high achievement in media arts. The MoCP houses a collection of over 10,000 images dating back to 1936, and continually strives to promote the development of emerging artists through its Midwest Photographers Project. In considering the many aesthetic technologies of image making, the museum collaborates with a variety of digital artists and community educators to illuminate the cultural and political significance of the photographic medium as a form of creative expression. Current exhibitions of ongoing portfolios may be viewed in the Print Study Room by appointment.

(credit: Chicago Cultural Center/Facebook)

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 744-6630

Price: Free Admission
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Click here for a calendar of events.

A stunning Chicago architectural landmark widely recognized for its wondrous Tiffany stained-glass dome, the Chicago Cultural Center is an exciting destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Originally built as The Chicago Public Library in the late 1800s, this beautifully-designed structure has developed into a mecca of activity for artistic expression, hosting a variety of free lectures, gallery exhibits, musical concerts, theater and dance. Among the multitude of art works currently on display is the ongoing exhibit “Chicago Landmarks Before the Lens,” a black-and-white photographic collection of historically significant Chicago images, and photographer Eric Holubow’s exhibition “In Decay: Stitching America’s Ruins” on view through July 8.

Related: Profile of Sun Times Photojournalist: John White


Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60608
(847) 491-4000

Price: Free Admission ($5 donation suggested)
Hours: Tue, Sat and Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wed to Fri – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Click here for a calendar of events.

Situated on the prestigious Northwestern University Evanston campus, the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art was founded in 1980 as a gift to the University by distinguished art collectors Mary & Leigh Block. The gallery has expanded considerably over the years through generous donations and purchases, amassing a permanent collection of over 5,000 works in print, drawings and sculpture from the 15th century to present day. Of particular interest is the photographic artwork, as it focuses on documentary images from a social perspective. Included is an impressive selection of contemporary pieces by nationally-renowned photographers as well as Chicago artists. The diverse collection may be viewed by appointment at the Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center.


Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-5440

Price: Free Admission (parking rates apply)
Hours: Daily – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Click here for a calendar of events

Nestled in 385 acres of lush greenery surrounded by lakes in north suburban Glencoe, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a celebration of floral life and natural beauty. The garden was founded over a century ago as The Chicago Horticultural Society, and has grown into an internationally recognized visitation center for its breathtaking displays of gardens in bloom and unlimited species of flowers and plants. The garden’s mission is to preserve the environment by developing an appreciation and understanding of our natural habitat through research and education for public awareness and enjoyment. Among many upcoming scheduled events is the “Nature in View” exhibit hosted by the Garden Photographic Society. The event will be held in the Joutras Gallery from May 5 through July 8.

(credit: Museum of Contemporary Art/Facebook)

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-2660

Price: $12 – adults, $7 – students and seniors, Free – MCA Members, military, children under 12, and Illinois residents on Tuesdays
Hours: Tues – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wed to Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Click here for a calendar of events.

Since its inception in 1945, the Museum of Contemporary Art has endeavored to enlighten the public with visionary works of art in all mediums. Located in the heart of Chicago’s magnificent mile, the transformational art work displays at MCA highlight past and present life events that reflect our cultural views in an ever-changing political climate. Currently on display through June 3rd is the thought-provoking exhibit of “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980’s“. This cutting-edge photographic presentation encompasses that specific time period with compelling images of the most important societal changes of the decade.

Related: Local Artist Spotlight: Susan Carr

Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago and very pleased to be a CBS Contributor. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has written a few screenplays as well as a selection of short stories and poems. Maggie recently edited a University student writing journal as part of her internship toward an online Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing.  She is currently working on her first fictional novel. Her work can be found at