While we have returned to the United States, our adventure has not ended. Chicago is the current stop on this journey, and today we visited the art Institute of Chicago. In 1866, a group of 35 artists founded the Chicago Academy of Design (a free art school and gallery)in the historic Michigan Boulevard District. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the original building, throwing the Academy into debt (up to $10,000 by 1878). The Chicago Academy of Design finally went bankrupt in 1879, with the newly formed Chicago Academy of Fine Arts buying all of its assets. A name change to the Art Institute of Chicago occurred in 1882, along with a continuing program of growth and acquisition. Today, with one million square feet of exhibition space within eight buildings, the Art Institue of Chicago is the second-largest art museum in America (after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) with three million works of art, including the renowned "American Gothic". Nearly two million visitors per year enjoy the museum's exhibitions.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.