The conference is a fantastic opportunity to explore Chicago and immerse yourself in world-leading art, museums and visual culture. Come for the conference and enjoy the extra activities before, during and after.


The schedule of events will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.

Friday, November 2, 2018

African American Designers in Chicago: Art., Commerce, and the Politics of Race

On Friday, November 2, 2018, IVLA conference attendees are invited to a reception and exhibition on African American Designers in Chicago: Art., Commerce, and the Politics of Race at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street. The Cultural Center is located two blocks north of the National Louis University campus.

African American Designers will be in Exhibit Hall, 4th floor north.

The time of the reception will be posted later.

As described on the exhibit web page:

“Featuring work from a wide range of practices including cartooning, sign painting, architectural signage, illustration, graphic design, exhibit design and product design, this exhibition is the first to demonstrate how African American designers remade the image of the black consumer and the work of the black artist in this major hub of American advertising/consumer culture. African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race is funded in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, as part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy.”

November 1-4, 2018

SOFA: Sculptural Objects and Functional Art and Design

Navy Pier, November 1-4, 2018.

This annual event has been running since 1994. It focuses on three-dimensional  artworks that extend across fine art, decorative art, and design.

General Admission | $20 online or $25 at the door

Three-Day General Admission Pass | $30

Seniors 65+ | $15; Students with ID $15 at the door

Tickets available at the door, online tickets available here

In addition to taxis and Uber/Lyft, a free trolley runs between Navy Pier and State Street, along Grand Avenue and Illinois Street during SOFA CHICAGO general admission. Trolley service begins at 1 pm runs until 7 pm on Friday and Saturday; and 2 – 6 pm on Sunday. Trolleys typically run every 20 minutes, pick-up points are indicated by ‘Navy Pier Trolley Stop’ signs along the route.


The IVLA Conference is being held in the downtown area with close proximity to numerous museums, parks and the venues.


Please check the museum website for admission prices, events, and exhibits.

TimeOut Chicago offers a guide to its 10 best Chicago museums.

The following are within walking distance of the NLU Chicago campus or are a short bus, cab or Uber/Lyft ride.


Art Institute of Chicago is located directly across the street from the NLU campus.


Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue

This museum is 1.4 miles from the NLU campus. Walking takes approximately 28 minutes and take you through part of the Magnificent Mile section of north Michigan Avenue.


Museum Park

The Museum Park is located just south of Grant Park and includes the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Sheed Aquarium. South of these museums, it is a short walk to Soldier Field.


Field Museum


Adler Planetarium



Shedd Aquarium


Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Located on the same block as the NLU campus, a few doors north


Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership

610 S.Michigan Avenue


Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College

600 S. Michigan Avenue


Other Museums:

Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive

Located seven miles south of the NLU campus, in addition to taxi and Uber/Lyft,

you can get to the museum by the Metra Electric Line. The Millennium station that can be accessed at 151 N. Michigan Avenue. Get off at the 55th/56th/57th Street station. Turn left as you exit there station. The Museum’s north entrance is a 2 block walk.


National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 W. 19th Street

Taxi or Uber/Lyft are likely the best ways to get to this Museum.


DuSable Museum of African American History


740 E. 56th Place

The museum is located in Washington Park.

Accessible by taxi, Uber/Lyft, the Metra Electric to 55th, 56th, 57th Street stations, and the  CTA Green Line to Garfield.
The museum is a 1.4 mile walk from the 55th, 56th, 57th Metra station

It is  a .8 mile walk from the Garfield Green Line station. Exit the station and walk east on Garfield to Morgan Drive, take Morgan Drive to the Museum


Breakfast/coffee places

Corner Bakery Cafe:

Address: 224 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604-2505

Phone: 312-431-7600


Address: 116 S Michigan Ave, Fl 1, Chicago, IL 60603-6095

Phone: 312-223-1061

Fast food


Chicago, Illinois – Canal and Taylor

Address: 520 W. Taylor St., Chicago IL 60607

Phone: 312-667-4560


277 E. Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 337-6488

Pizzeria Uno (Chicago deep dish pizza):

29 E. Ohio, Chicago, IL 60611



44 S. Wabash


Formal dining

The Berghoff

17 W. Adams


Exchequer Restaurant and Pub

226 S. Wabash


Hot Woks/Cool Sushi

30 S.MIchigan


MIller’s Pub

Welcome to Miller’s Pub

134 S. Wabash


Russian Tea Time

Russian Tea Time

77 E. Adams


Seven lions:

130 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

(312) 880-0130

Ethnic food

You’ll find ethnic inspired restaurants flourishing the Chicago downtown area.

Chinatown — Chinatown is less than 3 miles away from downtown Chicago.

Lao Sze Chuan: 520 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611; tel: 312/595-0888

Won Kow: 2237 S. Wentworth Ave. (btw. 22nd Place and Alexander St).; tel. 312/842-7500

Dim Sum:

Shiu Wah, 2162 S. Archer Ave. (tel. 312/225-8811; 8am-3pm),


Happy Chef, 2164 S. Archer Ave. (tel. 312/808-3689; 9am-4pm)

Little Italy — It’s a few blocks’ stretch of Taylor Street, which is convenient to most downtown locations.

Francesca’s on Taylor: 1400 W. Taylor St. (at Loomis St.; tel. 312/829-2828

Rosebud on Taylor: 1500 W. Taylor St. (at Laflin St.; tel. 312/942-1117 (reservation preferred to avoild long wait)

Family-owned Tuscany: 1014 W. Taylor St. (btw. Morgan and Miller sts.; tel. 312/829-1990

Greektown: It’s a short cab ride across the south branch of the Chicago River.

Greek Islands: 200 S. Halsted St. (at Adams St.); tel. 312/782-9855

Santorini, 800 W. Adams St. (at Halsted St.); tel. 312/829-8820

Parthenon, 314 S. Halsted St. (btw. Jackson and Van Buren sts).; tel. 312/726-2407

Pilsen: Located on Chicago’s Lower West Side, PIlsen has become the center of Mexican immigration to the city

S.K.Y, 1239 W 18th St, tel. 312/846-1077
Canton Regio, 1510 W 18th St, tel. 312/733-3045

Crepería Nuevo León, 1636 W. 18th St., tel. 312/929-4252

5 Rabanitos, 1758 W. 18th St., tel. 312/285-2710

A taste of Poland: Red Apple (Czerwone Jabluszko), 3121 N. Milwaukee Ave. tel. 773/588-5781

A taste of Thai:

Star of Siam, 11 E. Illinois St., at North State Street, tel. 312/670-0100

Tiparos, 1540 N. Clark St. at North Avenue, tel. 312/712-9900

Thai Classic, 3332 N. Clark St., at Roscoe Street, tel. 773/404-2000