Chicago is home to a vibrant mix of art and music, in a wide variety of styles. With almost too many creative spaces to count, it has become easier than ever to get involved in the local art community. This goes for both longtime artists and those who prefer experiencing others’ art to create their own. If you’re looking for inspiration in your day-to-day life or want to create masterpieces yourself, here are a few suggestions that will help you get your creative juices flowing.

The Art Institute of Chicago

On almost every “must-see” Chicago list, the Art Institute of Chicago regularly hosts visitors from across the globe and is sure to enamor anyone with the history inside its halls. The museum is home to works of art like Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”and even the famousAmerican Gothic” by Grant Wood.

The Art Institute is a favorite here at CMSS, as we regularly both host “Art Insights” talks on current exhibits at CMSS communities and take trips to the Art Institute. Our residents also enjoy in the Art in the Moment program, which gives people with memory loss the opportunity to create art of their own and participate in discussions. If you’re planning a visit, note that the museum offers a special senior discount and discounts for Chicago residents.

The Mars Gallery

If you’re looking for a more off the beaten path artistic experience, the Mars Gallery is a great option. The gallery is located in a loft space in Chicago’s West Loop and sells unique pieces of art from local artists. Founded almost 30 years ago it has hosted a variety of artists from Chicagoland and further afield. It’s also said to be home to a “vortex” of creative energy —  so you may well leave the gallery inspired to create some new art of your own!

Lillstreet Art Center

Lillstreet Art Center is located in Ravenswood and offers a variety of art classes including metalworking, sculpture, photography and more. The center caters to both professional artists and artists-at-heart just looking to have a little fun. The “First-Time Artist” classes in each department ensure that even the artistically challenged can learn a new craft, or sample a few artistic disciplines.

Artreach, Lillstreet’s sister program, brings arts programming to CMSS communities, and we are big fans. Artreach gives older adults the opportunity to participate in personal art projects and will even bring professional artists to residential communities or individual homes.If you’re looking to try out Lillstreet’s programming but not ready to commit to a weekly class, be sure to keep an eye out for their one-day workshops. You may even want to get some friends together and check out their party options!

Old Town School of Folk Music

Art doesn’t have to be limited to physical creations. The Old Town School of Folk Music is located in Lincoln Square and boasts impressive alumni like folk artists  Roger McGuinn and Fred Holstein. The school offers classes to children and adults in almost every musical instrument imaginable as well as some dance classes. They even have wellness programs designed for those with early-stage memory loss. The school puts on concerts most days, which are almost always available to the public.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art is also regularly described as a Chicago “bucket list” item. As one of the world’s largest collections of paintings, video and performance art, the museum truly has something to inspire everyone. In the past, it’s been home to a wide range of notable sh, from Frida Kahlo’s first in the U.S. to a retrospective of David Bowie’s career. The collection boasts over 2,500 permanent works and invites guests to take a walk through history starting in the 1920s. Make sure you set aside plenty of time for your visit as the museum offers free screenings and panels as part of the admission fee.

Have you visited any of these arts institutions? Are there others you wish were on the list?  We’d love to hear about it. Share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.