The High Price of Art

Price hike approved for popular museum’s admission

Art lovers now have to dig even deeper into their pockets.

The Chicago Park District Board unanimously approved a 50 percent increase in admission at the Art Institute, from $12 to $18. Student/senior admission jumps 71 percent, from $7 to $12.

Remember when the Art Institute used to be free?

You should. The museum asked visitors for a "suggested" donation up until less than three years ago.

"The Art Institute is a world-class museum with rising expenses like any other entity," Park District spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner told the Chicago Sun-Times. "With the number of free days that they have, it still remains accessible to the citizens of Chicago."

After the opening of the new Modern Wing in May, the Institute will be the second-largest art museum in the country. According to ChicagoBusiness, it was the third most popular cultural attraction in Chicago in both 2006 and 2007. But some residents are concerned that the high volume of visitors could soon change.

"I wouldn't pay nearly $20 to see this," said Joe Marnen of Lincoln Park. "I think it would make people not want to come here as much."

The museum has refrained from comment.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, was always a fan of the museum's medieval armor.

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