Vernissage, the popular kick-off event for Expo Chicago on Chicago's Navy Pier (photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).

EXPO Chicago to Kick Off with Popular Vernissage Benefit at Navy Pier

The Women’s Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago has announced the return of Vernissage, the opening-night benefit and preview of EXPO Chicago, the International Exposition of Modern & Contemporary Art on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Guests will be treated to an exclusive first look of art from 145 of the world’s leading international galleries participating in the fifth annual exposition (Sept. 22 – 25) in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 E. Grand Ave.).

​A French term for art openings, Vernissage, or ‘varnishing day,’ evokes the energy and excitement that surrounds the commencement of this major international art event—attracting more than 3,000 visitors to one of Chicago’s most sought out and influential events of the year. Guests are invited to take in the beautiful sights of the lakefront before walking out onto the vast show floor for an exclusive sneak peek at the 145 exhibiting galleries from 22 countries and 53 cities.

​“Since the inception of EXPO Chicago five years ago, Vernissage has opened the international art fair offering guests to (sic) a unique, exclusive look at some of the most incredible art from around the world,” said MCA Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn. “The MCA is so proud to continuously partner with EXPO CHICAGO, inviting art lovers from all places to Chicago each and every September, and we look forward to what is sure to be a remarkable year.”

This unique celebration, co-chaired by MCA Women’s Board members Karen Uhlmann and Linda Meyer, begins with a patron reception at 5 p.m. in the VIP Collector’s Lounge Presented by Northern Trust (located on the main floor of Festival Hall), featuring food by some of Chicago’s top restaurants and food providers including Ada Street; Coco Pazzo Café; Chicago Raw; Eli’s Cheesecake and Joe’s Seafood.

Vernissage is sponsored by CIRM, Grund & Leavitt and Hu-Friedy. Proceeds from the event support the MCA Education Department, whose programs offer compelling opportunities to explore, challenge, discuss and reflect on the MCA’s holdings and the larger world of contemporary art and culture.

Tickets for Vernissage (starting at $100) and the patron reception (starting at $300) are on sale now and can be purchased at