Chicago on Display: Public art brightens underpasses, public transit and schools
Published: Monday, March 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
You know the saying "nothing in life is free?" Technically, there are a few things, one of which includes the pleasures of public art in Chicago.
Art galleries and museums can be expensive, but there are various artworks scattered all over the city that are unique and totally free to view.
From paintings, sculptures, murals, mosaics and even graffiti, it's easy to appreciate art in our urban setting without the stuffy feel of a museum.
Public art in Chicago goes far beyond tourist hotspots like the Bean or the Crown Fountain (aka spitting faces) in Millennium Park. Not only is art dispersed throughout the Loop, but it can also be found in places you'd least expect.
The city's older architecture often tells elaborate stories through their limestone carvings; the walls under bridges are decorated with murals that reflect a neighborhood's diversity; parks have strange sculptures and the CTA stations are home to several sculptures, murals and mosaics.
Whether they are on the north, south, east or west side, outdoor art can be found just about anywhere in the city — you just have to look.
Be sure also to keep an eye out for new creations, because every now and then older installations are swapped out for new ones — like the "Forever Marilyn" sculpture that replaced "American Gothic" (farmer with his daughter and pitchfork) in Pioneer Court plaza, located near the junction of the Chicago River and Upper Michigan Avenue.
Another showcase to look out for is coming in June 2012, called "Color Jam." According to The Huffington Post, the Chicago Loop Alliance announced that its next public art installation will come from multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder, who chairs the University of Chicago's Department of Visual Arts.
"My idea is to fill an intersection with color," said Stockholder to the Chicago Tribune. "That will include the road and the sidewalk and up the building, so there's a cubic volume of color in the intersection wedged between four corners and four buildings."
Viewing art doesn't have to be an expensive medium, and it isn't just for those with champagne tastes. Rather, our city makes art in just about every form available for everyone to see and enjoy.
So next time you're walking home from class, keep your eye out for the intricate decorations on buildings or a unique sculpture in a park — who knows what you may discover.