“When is the 50th Anniversary Black Creativity Gala?”

      The 50th Anniversary Black Creativity Gala will take place at the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) on the night of Saturday, January 25, A.D. 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  Guests at the fundraiser can dance, examine over 200 works by African-American artists, and unwind in the creative cocktail lounge.        

      The annual Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition will open on the Main Level in the M.S.I.’s West Pavilion on Martin Luther King, Junior Day (Monday, January 20, A.D. 2020) and run through Sunday, March 1, A.D. 2020.   Black Creativity started in 1970 as Black Esthetics and originally was strictly an exhibition of artworks produced by Black African-American artists, but over time it has expanded in scope to include ancillary activities and programs that promote S.T.E.M. education.[1] To this end, the Black Creativity Innovation Studio will also open on the Main Level in the West Pavilion on M.L.K., Jr. Day.  In view of the fact this is the fiftieth anniversary of Black Creativity, there will be a special exhibition devoted to the history of the festival. Black Creativity: 50 Years will open on M.L.K., Jr. Day in the gallery west of the Lower Court, on the Lower Level (ground floor) in the Central Pavilion.[2] [It is across from U-505 Submarine: 75 Stories, a temporary exhibit devoted to the seventy-fifth anniversary of U.S. Navy Task Group 22.3’s capture of the U-505, which is located in the eastern gallery.]  At the M.S.I., M.L.K., Jr. Day will be Black Creativity Family Day.  Jayson Mayden, an industrial designer and entrepreneur who designed shoes for Nike before he founded his company Super Heroic, will be the Family Day Guest Designer.  The Teen Innovation Summit on Monday, February 10, A.D. 2020 has reached its capacity. The Black Creativity Career Showcase will take place on Saturday, February 29, A.D. 2020.  The Black Creativity Gala is an annual fundraiser that helps defray the cost of the festival.

      Co-chaired by Dr. Cheryl Whitaker, Chairwoman and C.E.O. of NextLevel Health Partners, Inc.; Dr. Eric Whitaker, Founder and C.E.O. of Zing Health, Inc.; Joe Dominguez, C.E.O. of ComEd; and Cheryl Harris, Senior Vice President of Sourcing Procurement Solutions for The Allstate Insurance Company; the gala will both celebrate the history of Black Creativity but also help assure its future.

       Tickets are $350.  Click here to purchase tickets directly from the M.S.I. or become a sponsor or make a donation. Click here to purchase tickets through Eventbrite.  This is a black tie event that typically draws around 700 guests, including prominent political, business, and community leaders.  There will be complimentary valet parking at the West Pavilion entrance, starting at 6:00 p.m.

      Once again, W.G.N. meteorologist Demetrius Ivory will be the Master of Ceremonies.[3]  At 6:00 p.m. 2020 Juried Art Exhibition viewing will begin in the West Pavilion.  Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Dinner stations will open on the Main Level at 7:00 p.m.  Welcome Remarks will be delivered in the Rotunda at 7:10 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., depending upon which schedule one believes.  The Lake Night Lounge will open on the Lower Level at 8:00 p.m.  Musical entertainment will include the Chicago Children’s Choir, DJ Ray Chardonnay, Yanna Cello, Rockstar EV, and Manasseh.

      The M.S.I. stated, “The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition, Innovation Studio, Innovator Gallery and many more programs at MSI gather great minds together to support our youth as they make the journey to their chosen careers… For 50 years, Black Creativity has answered the call of new generations, and we are thrilled that these programs continue to thrive and celebrate our youth.  Creativity is part of everything that we do at MSI, and we believe our role is to help unleash the inventive genius in everyone… By becoming a part of Black Creativity at MSI, you will help young people the tools and confidence to find their own futures.  Join us for this spectacular anniversary celebration.”

Illinois Free Days in January and February of 2020

       The M.S.I. has Illinois Free Days in January and February of 2020, as I reported earlier this month: Mondays through Thursdays in January (with the remaining dates being from the 20th to the 23rd, and from the 27th to the 30th of January); and from the 3rd to the 6th, from the 10th to the 13th, from the 18th to the 20th, and from the 24th to the 27th of February. This is an excellent opportunity for families with preschool-aged children, homeschooling families, and adults with open schedules.  

      On Illinois Free Days, Museum Entry (general admission) is free for all Illinois residents who show valid proof of residency.  No further Chicago residency discounts apply on Illinois Free Days.  There is a limit of six children (meaning minors under eighteen) admitted per one accompanying adult.[4] 

About the Museum of Science and Industry

      Often formerly stylized as the “Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago” or the “Museum of Science + Industry” the institution is located at the northern end of the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park, on the south side of 57th Street, between Lake Shore Drive to the east and Cornell Drive to the west, in the East Hyde Park neighborhood of the Hyde Park Community Area (Community Area #41) on the South Side of Chicago.  

      The Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, also known as the Fine Arts Building, which is the last palace from the White City fairgrounds of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), still standing in Jackson Park.  Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), President of Sears, Roebuck & Company, founded the Museum of Science and Industry in 1926 through The Commercial Club of Chicago, of which he was a member.  The M.S.I. opened in three stages between 1933 and 1940, with the first opening ceremony on July 1, 1933.  These events coincided with Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34), which opened on June 1, 1933.

      OnThursday, October 3, A.D. 2019, the Museum of Science and Industry announced that the Board of Trustees had voted to accept a $125,000,000 gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.  M.S.I. executives and board members felt it would consequently be appropriate to change the Museum of Science and Industry’s name to the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.  A multi-billionaire, Mr. Griffin is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of Citadel, Inc., a Chicago-based hedge fund.  His gift is the largest in the history of the science and technology museum, and one of the largest gifts to any cultural institution in Chicago. 

      This time of year, the M.S.I. is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Please note the Giant Dome Theater in the Henry Crown Space Center is closed through mid-March.  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.  The Website is https://www.msichicago.org/ and the phone number is (773) 684-1414.


[1] Everywhere else in the world, S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, but at the Museum of Science and Industry, the same acronym is used to stand for science, technology, engineering and medicine.

[2] This is one of two galleries flanking the Lower Court that are collectively known as the John and Rita Canning Gallery.

[3] Demetrius Ivory graduated with a degree in atmospheric sciences from The Ohio State University and after stints at television stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, he joined the W.G.N. Weather Center team in 2013. Emmy award –winning W.G.N. Evening News features reporter Erin Ivory is his wife.  They have four children.   

[4] See chaperone ratios and policies for School-led Field Trips and Groups of 15+.

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