Thanks to Chicago’s cultural community, there are places to virtually be and things to actually do—from networking to working out, not to mention attending a gala and participating in a museum exhibition. Best of all, these interactive opportunities are free (though offering donations doesn’t hurt).

As a service to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cleve Carney Museum of Art (CCMA) and McAninch Arts Center (MAC) are offering a series of online art classes and virtual artist studio visits geared towards chidren aged 12 and younger.

“The MAC and CCMA teams wanted to offer an online solution for families who are currently juggling homeschooling along with other responsibilities, and are looking for interactive engagement,” explains McAninch Arts Center Director Diana Martinez. The art classes can be found on the CCMA Facebook page and the MAC Facebook page, with new episodes airing at 12pm on Tuesdays.

The Chicago History Museum has launched In This Together, an initiative to collect local digital records that capture personal experiences during the pandemic. A selection of the contributions (which may include journal entries, audio/video recordings, images or emails) will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

“History is in the making, and we encourage all Chicagoans to share their stories and continue to lean on our community for support as we navigate through the unknown together,” says Gary T. Johnson, president of the museum, which will share many of the stories with the public at

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is replacing its 2020 Gala with the online event Pants Optional: A Steppenwolf Soirée on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. Ensemble member Audrey Francis will emcee the virtual festivities, which include appearances by Steppenwolf ensemble members Joan Allen, Gary Cole, John Malkovich, Sandra Marquez and Laurie Metcalf, along with celebrity guests who will be announced on Steppenwolf’s social media channels and website. Free of charge and open to all, the event can be streamed at

“Although our traditional gala is always a wonderful night that we look forward to, I know that this year’s event will be truly special,” promises company artistic director Anna D. Shapiro. “Being able to come together online with a greater swath of Steppenwolf artists, audiences and supporters for a collective moment of joy during these difficult times is just what we need to support live theatre and each other.”

The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce hosts a free women’s networking event every two weeks. The forum is designed for boss ladies across Chicago who want to share resources, ask questions, and commiserate via Zoom.

Yoga for beginners is just one of the 15-minute live workshops presented by Lookingglass Live. Available on Tuesdays at noon, the series from Lookingglass Theatre Company can be accessed at

Steppenwolf Education is hosting Maker May, a lineup of free virtual programming created for emerging artists, educators, and students aged 13 and older. To register for the two-part workshops, visit

Image: Courtesy of the Cleve Carney Museum of Art

Ms. Arvia is a Rebellious columnist and movie critic; entertainment ghostwriter; award-winning artist; and grant-winning filmmaker.