Art Institute partnership provides free admission for students and faculty


Kelly Wynne, Editor-In-Chief

College of DuPage students and faculty are now promised free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago. Due to the college’s new partnership with the institute, the general admission fee of $25 will be waived with just a valid COD ID.  Along with this benefit, students, faculty and staff can enjoy 10 percent off a first time membership, access to the Ryerson and Burnham libraries and for instructors, a limited amount of pre-printed tickets for field trips or research activities.

According to Jonita Ellis, academic affairs coordinator and manager of the Perkins Grant, the Art Institute partnership will provide a new opportunity for art-driven students as well as those who just want to explore the museum. “What is great about this is that it is targeted for photography, architecture, graphic design and motion picture and television students to have an advantage. It’s a great advantage for [Career and Technical Education] students and any students who want free access.”

The partnership cost the school at total of $15,000 and can be renewed annually. COD has been looking into the agreement for over a year, but it was not until this semester that proper funding was found through the Perkins Grant. The grant works as a kickstarter for new programs on campus. If they prove to be successful after a trial run, funding will be found in other areas of the school’s budget.

Ellis believes the new partnership is a good contender for future funding if feedback from students and employees is positive.

“The success of a program is performance-based; if it has a measurable outcome, meets expectations and gets full use. We get feedback from students after a program’s first year through focus groups or surveys and find out if the program had ease of use, what impact it had on students and how it helped their educational experience.”

Interim Associate Dean Charles Boone believes that the partnership is primarily aimed at student success.

“A lot of students want to see the museum,” said Boone. “That’s the primary reason: the student access piece. It has a circular impact. Whether it’s an art class or a humanities class, those courses require some sort of field trip. Students look for something that’s inexpensive. They need something that costs less. They don’t want to drop $20 to $30 for something they’ve never done before. That’s nerve-wracking for students. Now, you only have to pay for a train ticket downtown. It changes the whole picture. You still can’t use this to see the Van Gogh exhibit or others like that, but you can walk in the door, flash your ID card, and you’re in for free.”

Though students may have been the deciding factor, Boone believes the partnership will open doors to hosting school-funded events. “This will allow us to gather as an institution whenever we need it,” said Boone. “We can even pull in alumni and make it a communal thing.”

So far, Boone and colleagues have received positive feedback on the agreement. For more information on the Art Institute and what it has to offer visitors, visit