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PUBLIC ART AT GRANT PARK

Chicago's Grant Park is like one enormous outdoor gallery.

With more than 300 acres of beautifully manicured green space, Grant Park is an inviting retreat nestled between the bustle of the city and the calm blue of Lake Michigan. Not only is Grant Park home to Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, but it's studded with iconic works of public art, from sculpture to installations and sculptures.

The Bowman & the Spearman

The Bowman sculpture

Congress Plaza consists of two semicircular plazas, created by East Congress Plaza Drive and bisected by East Congress Parkway. The area contains gardens, fountains and artwork, including the large bronze warrior statues, "The Bowman" and "The Spearman" that are positioned like gatekeepers to the park. The sculptures were created by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović and installed in 1928. An interesting fact is that neither sculpture bears its namesake weapon (a bow and arrow and a spear). This was intentional on the artist's part, in an attempt to focus viewer attention on the sculpture's bold lines, lean musculature and Art Deco-like angularity.

Agora

AgoraAgora (2006), designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, stands on the southwest side of Grant Park, and is one of Chicago's most recognizable installations. Made up of 106 9-foot headless and armless torsos fabricated from cast iron, the sculpture is inspired by a Greek plaza but relates to bustling, high-paced Michigan Avenue. The figures are stationary but posed as if moving in countless directions, providing a visual representation of the concept of going everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Cloud Gate

Cloud-Gate-The-Bean

Often referred to as "The Bean," Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate ( (2006) is shaped like a seamless curved oval and composed of highly polished stainless steel plates, providing a distorted reflection of the city skyline and gawking visitors. The 12-foot-high arch at the structure's base provides a "gate" for park visitors to walk under.

Crown Fountain

Children playing in Chicago's Crown Fountain in Millennium Park Clayton Hauck

This interactive video sculpture was designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects. Containing two 50-foot towers that project facial images of Chicago citizens, Crown Fountain (2004) is one of Chicago's most recognizable displays of public art. During summer days, visitors can cool off by wading in the structure's reflecting pool. Or, if they're daring enough, by taking a stroll under the fountain's cascading waterfall, which spouts from the faces' mouths. 

Christopher Columbus Monument (1933)

Chicago celebrated its 100th birthday with the Century of Progress World's Fair in 1933. In cooperation with the event, Chicago's Italian-American community presented a towering bronze statue of explorer Christopher Columbus on the southern end of Grant Park. 

Seated Lincoln (1926)

Abraham Lincoln in Grant Park Chicago

Abraham Lincoln was nominated to represent the Republican Party on the shores of the Chicago River, so it's only natural that the city honors the country's 16th President with a larger-than-life sculpture, Seated Lincoln (1926), in Grant Park. Abraham Lincoln sits in a chair that rests on a granite pedestal symbolizing his position as the Head of State. The statue was the last public monument designed by Augustus Saint Gardens, who did not live long enough to see the piece realized. 

Spirit of Music

The bronze statue, Sprit of Music (1923), was created to commemorate Theodore Thomas, the first conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This graceful work personifies harmony and composition by means of a figure that is at once feminine and dignified, assertive and bold. The piece stands in the midst of a gorgeous seasonal flower garden.

Fountain of the Great Lakes

Fountain of the Great Lakes sculpture in Chicago © Adam Alexander

An allegorical piece representing the five Great Lakes, this magnificent fountain in the South Garden of the Art Institute of Chicago consists of five bronze female sculptures bathing with oversized seashells. The water flows through them in the order water flows through the lakes on its way to the ocean: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. The work was created in 1913 by artist Lorado Taft.

General John Logan Memorial (1897)

Logan statue

Logan was an Illinois based Civil War General and served as a State Senator from 1871-77. Famed sculptor August Saint-Gaudens built enormous animal sculptures for the Columbian Exposition and gifted this statue to Chicago in 1897. 

Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago

Lions at the Art Institute of ChicagoConstructed by Edward Kemeys in 1893, these two massive bronze lions have been standing guard at the entrance to The Art Institute of Chicago since its inaugural year. While realistically designed, the green patina lends an artist's touch and gives the lions their distinctive appearance. During holidays and city events, the big cats are often decorated with wreaths, helmets and more.

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