As part of the "Open Chicago" reopening campaign, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the "Open Culture" initiative on May 5, with a return to summer cultural events, including festivals, theater and concerts — and attractions in Hyde Park are included.
"'First to close and last to open.' That has been the fate of too many of our arts and music venues. And today I'm happy to announce that that's finally starting to change," Lightfoot said, name-dropping the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, "Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed" at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., through July 24 and "Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40" at the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., from July 15 to Dec. 19.
A city vaccination event for the art community is also planned at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W., on Thursday, May 20, from noon to 7 p.m.
Jazz Festival executive and artistic director Kate Dumbleton said the September event is planned to take place on a significantly grander scale than last year, which mostly occurred as a series of pop-up duets.
"We're very hopeful that we will have the Midway returned and that we will produce in other satellite sites as well," she said. "We're not sure what type of indoor opportunities we will have, and my guess is that we will probably produce in outdoor locations."
Plans are still in development as the budget, funded by local, state and federal grants, individual donors, private foundations and the University of Chicago, takes shape, but Dumbleton hopes to have two stages on the Midway, with vendors and picnicking space as well as smaller pop-up sites.
She is thrilled to be planning a larger event this year. "I've been going to some shows and tasting some different things, and it's just awesome to hear music again and to see people," she said. "I have been writing so many grants; that also means I am providing work samples and photographs. So I've been kind of in our photo archives a lot this past week and just seeing everybody hanging out together and having fun. All those memories just make me super-psyched to put this back together."
Rebuild Foundation poet laureate avery r. young, who performed before Lightfoot's press conference, said afterwards that he feels invigorated after stints at the Lyric Opera and the parking garage at Millennium Park, where he performed drive-in-style in front of audiences in their vehicles.
On Juneteenth, he will perform at the Hyde Park Art Center with the Floating Museum art collective, and he has a commissioned piece for Bluesfest at the Logan Center, 915 E. 60th St., which runs Oct. 13-15.
"I have a full plate, and then performances throughout the city over the summer, now that it's open," he said. "There isn't an energy in live performances without the audience there, right? There's not the exchange of energy. There's so much in the way in which people are enjoying themselves or having a good time that informs what's happening on the stage with the performance. That in itself is a reason to be excited about the city opening up now."