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  • Christopher Columbus - Public Art

    WEST, NEAR SOUTH, NORTH: PUBLIC ART IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS

    Must-see public art pieces just outside of Chicago's downtown Loop.

Monument to the Greater Northern Migration (1996)

Bronzeville Great Migration StatueChicago's Bronzeville neighborhood is one of the most significant, culturally rich African-American sites in the United States. Alison Saar's Monument to the Greater Northern Migration (Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. at 26th Pl.) is a fifteen-foot bronze figure of a man waiving his hand and carrying a suitcase. The piece is a tribute to African-Americans who migrated to Chicago in the early 1900s.

I Will (1981)

Public artIn a city rich in details and ornamentation, sometimes it's nice to stare at something simple. Ellsworth Kelly's "I Will" is a forty-foot, minimalist sculpture that represents the motto used by Chicagoans in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire. The stainless steel tube rises from the ground at the fire's northernmost end point. The tall, column form of the sculpture is symbolic of the skyscraper which was instrumental in the city's rebuilding process. Find it in Lincoln Park, at Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive, just steps from the lakefront and other nearby treasures like the zoo and conservatory.

 

Christopher Columbus (1933)

Christopher Columbus - Public ArtA fifteen-foot, bronze statue of Christopher Columbus stands on the southern tip of Grant Park. Sculpted by Carl Brioschi and presented to Chicago for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair, it symbolizes mutual respect between Italy and the United States.

 

OTHER NOTABLE PUBLIC ART PIECES

CTA Pink Line
As Notre Dame's football team takes the field, the slap a sign that says "Play Like a Champion" for motivation. Thanks to the City of Chicago, commuters who use the CTA's Pink Line can do the same thing. Inspirational quotes by Muhammad Ali and James Cone have been installed on the walls of the Pulaski station to inspire Chicagoans.

Pyxis
Located outside the 4th District Fire Station on Chicago's West Side, Pyxis connects us with the universe. Designed by Bruce White in 1981, the abstract, brightly colored sculpture is named for a constellation in our solar system. The vertical positioning of the structure draws the viewer's eyes up, creating an active connection between the building, the Earth, and the sky. 

Family Mosaics
One of the many perks of urban living is being entrenched in a rich cultural history. Esteemed photographer Brook Collins created Family Mosaics a collection of photographs documenting intergenerational relationships in the Austin neighborhood. Displayed on 5071 W. Congress Parkway, the pictures display a range of family dynamics and social bonds. 

Riverview
The Northside Police Center is built on land that was formerly used by the Riverview Amusement Park. Unfortunately we no longer have carnival rides on the 2400 block of West Belmont, but we do have a striking, seventeen-foot statue to commemorate them. Artist Jerry Peart fabricated and welded Riverview in 1980, a lively, curvilinear form of nostalgia.

Harlem Station
You don't get the nickname "City of Big Shoulders" for nothing. Chicago's a hard working city. To commemorate the spirit of the Windy City worker, prominent artist Alex Katz painted Harlem Station. The beautiful, freestanding piece was presented to the Harlem Blue Line stop in 1984. It's one of the largest works ever created by Katz.

Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame
Outside of the Merchandise Mart, you'll notice a collection of faces along the Chicago River. No, they're radioactively developed Pez dispensers, they're the busts of famous Chicago merchants. The Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame includes some of the city's early titans of commerce. Seven of the eight busts were presented in 1953. The eighth bust (Montgomery Ward) was added in 1972.

Rosenberg Fountain
When a person is born, it's commemorated with a certificate. When a city is born, it gets a statue. Naturally. Rosenberg Fountain was sculpted by Franz Machtl and presented to the city in 1893. The statue was a gift from Joseph Rosenberg who left $10,000 in his will to provide Chicagoans with a decorative drinking fountain.

Being Born
While catching some sun on Chicago's beautiful beaches or having dinner in one of its amazing restaurants, one can easily forget that it was once an industrial haven. Thankfully, Being Born reminds us of the art and technology that we enjoy while paying tribute to the industrial roots of luxury. Sculptor Virginio Ferrari designed a stainless steel circle to represent the precision, skill, and growth of industry.

A Landscape of Four Seasons
If the sights and sounds of the big city have you yearning for some nature, find A Landscape of Four Seasons on 5400 N. Lincoln. The Margaret Lanterman painting, which depicts nature as it reacts to Chicago's four seasons, is intended to inspire a tranquil connection with the city's often overlooked wildlife environment. 

 

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