McAninch Arts Center Reopens After Renovation

McAninch Arts Center

College of DuPage completes its 14-month $35 million renovation of the McAninch Arts Center.

The MAC began major renovations in fall 2012 to update its three performance spaces, construct a new art gallery and outdoor patio stage, and make improvements to the infrastructure and patron service areas. Wight & Company, who served as the original architects of the McAninch Arts Center in 1986, returned to design the renovations. Construction for the MAC renovations is by Mortenson Construction. Click here for more photos.

The MAC renovation was funded by the $168 million referendum that voters of District 502 passed in November 2010. Other College of DuPage projects covered by the referendum include the renovation of the Physical Education Center, Student Resource Center and Seaton Computing Center, and construction of the Campus Maintenance Center.

“We are extremely thankful to the people of this District for supporting the referendum that provided the essential funding for this spectacular renovation,” said College of DuPage President Robert L. Breuder. “We also want to thank Wight & Company and Mortenson Construction for their excellent work, which has made it possible for us to complete the project four months ahead of schedule.”

The MAC has announced a Grand Opening Celebration and MAC Madness Benefit, featuring Second City and College of DuPage alum Jim Belushi, Saturday, March 8 at 6 p.m. Support for the event is provided in part by Mortenson Construction (Platinum Sponsor), and Cadence Health and Wight & Company. (Gold Sponsors).

The new Cleve Carney Art Gallery presents the opening of its inaugural exhibition, “Selection of Artworks from the Cleve Carney Collection” on Feb. 6 before its official dedication on Feb. 16. The new outdoor Patio Stage presents its first season of al fresco events in summer 2014. 

“This is an exciting time for lovers of the performing arts,” said MAC Interim Executive Director Diana Martinez. “The MAC has always had a strong reputation, but with updated performance spaces and public areas, and a new art gallery, the MAC promises to be ‘the’ destination to experience the visual and performing arts in the western suburbs.  And once summer arrives, we’ll add a whole new experience for our patrons with outdoor programming on our new Patio Stage. With all of these great additions, there has never been a better time to enjoy great entertainment at the MAC.”

Visitors entering the new MAC will pass under a graceful new portico as they walk across temperature-controlled entrance before entering the MAC’s bright, expansive lobby. They will be greeted by tall white cylindrical pendant lighting and an energizing color palette. They will also see a new box office which has been relocated to the lower lobby level.

Once inside the lobby, visitors will notice a sophisticated bar and concession area featuring ample seating and designed to complement the existing Waterleaf fine dining restaurant in COD’s Culinary & Hospitality Center, located just across the parking lot from the MAC on the COD campus. Adjacent to the MAC lobby is the new Cleve Carney Art Gallery, named in honor of gallery benefactor Cleve Carney. In addition to regular gallery hours, the Cleve Carney Art Gallery will be open before shows and during intermissions.

Those entering the new renovated, state of the art, 800-seat Performance Hall will first notice the new seats, the elegant surroundings accented by sapele wood and a stunning new aubergine stage curtain. Once the performance begins, audiences will enjoy an enhanced audio experience courtesy of the new acoustic shell and custom designed auto-responsive HVAC system that has been built to reduce exterior and extraneous interior noise.

The 184-seat Playhouse Theatre, site of the popular Club MAC performances features an outer lobby marked by a colorfully illuminated pillar and aubergine wave-like patterned paneling. The theater seating area has also been reconfigured with more accessible aisles and handrails. The intimate, 70-seat Studio Theatre is a flexible space with seating that can be configured in multiple ways to accommodate the audience and the staging needs of each individual production. Its eye-catching new main entrance features an energizing color theme and playful wood accents.

When visitors to the Playhouse and Studio Theatres look out the lobby windows, they will see the new Patio Stage. With a gorgeous water view, a 1,200 person capacity and patio space available for party tents, the Patio Stage promises to be the newest community hot spot this summer for concerts, private parties and family entertainment.

The MAC is an important resource for College of DuPage students who will now have the opportunity to work in renovated soundproof practice rooms and study drawing, painting and printmaking in state-of-the-art graphic design studios. New ceiling paint and flooring have upgraded the motion picture/television and photography, classroom and studio spaces.

In addition, the public corridors have been brightened to encourage collaborative gathering and critique spaces.

The newly constructed 1,850 square-foot Cleve Carney Art Gallery features natural light, high ceilings and bamboo floors. “It will be a place where artistic creation intersects social interaction to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art through exhibition and educational programming,” said gallery director/curator Barbara Wiesen.

Other MAC improvements include updated patron facilities such as a new coat check and remodeled restrooms and several improvements to reach a goal of “going green” and becoming a LEED Certified building. These “green” items include new glazing for windows throughout the building, skylights to help conserve energy and the installation of a new white roof that will reflect sunlight and deflect heat in the summer.

For updates or more information on the new MAC and Grand Opening Season events, call (630) 942-4000 or visit and check out the MAC on Facebook at or on Twitter at