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2017 Year of Public Art Chicago

Year of Public Art Events

Year of Public Art  >  Events

 Turning Sky

(click on image to enlarge)


January Event Highlights


The University of ChicagoConcrete Happening (Photo by: Michael Tropea)

ARTWORK: Concrete Happenings

January 1 – June 11, 2017

Concrete Happenings invites art-lovers and car-lovers, artists and scholars, drivers and pedestrians to confront the power of public art. This series of exhibitions and interactive public programs offers opportunities to engage with “Concrete Traffic” – a Cadillac encased in concrete by Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell in 1970 and installed at a University parking garage last year.

University of Chicago Campus North Parking Garage, 5525 S. Ellis Ave.



Chicago Children's MuseumA Room of My Own

EXHIBIT: A Room of My Own

January 5–November 20, 2017, 10am–5pm

Introduce your children to the world of art at Chicago Children's Museum. Delight in the display of illuminated rooms showcasing children's ideas about being in charge of a "room of their own". Listen to excerpts of conversations with artist Jamie Topper and children who contributed to this unique project.

700 E. Grand Ave. on Navy Pier

Target FREE Family Night on Thursdays, 5–8pm

FREE for ages 15 and under on the first Sunday of the month


Chicago Children's Museum

PERFORMANCE: Made in Chicago

First Thursday of the month, January 5–December 7, 2017, 5:30–7:3pm

Introduce your children to the world of music, performance and dance at the Chicago Children's Museum’s Made in Chicago monthly performance series. Enjoy a theater-like enviroment in the museum's Great Hall where you can be certain child-friendly, engaging productions will be performed by Chicago's leading youth talent.

700 E. Grand Ave. on Navy Pier

Target FREE Family Night on Thursdays, 5–8pm


The Trust for Public Land/ The 606Turning Sky

ARTWORK: Turning Sky

Thursday, January 7, 2017, 4pm

As part of the annual Walk With Light, The 606 unveils the new installation “Turning Sky” by Chicago-based artists Luftwerk. The work is an ever-shifting light installation where nature, art and technology merge to translate current weather data—wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure – onto LED lighting on the Milwaukee Avenue bridge.

The 606, 1800 N. Milwaukee Ave.



Steel Petal Press

ARTWORK: Letterpress Demonstration and Q&A

Second Saturdays of the month, January 14–June 10, 2017, 2–3pm

From printers row to the invention of the flatbed press over 100 year ago, Chicago has a long and rich history in printing arts. Steel Petal Press uses historic machines to demonstrate the process of letterpress printing from start to finish.

2321 N. Milwaukee Ave.



Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsThe Pride & Perils of Chicago’s Public Art

EXHIBIT: The Pride & Perils of Chicago Public Art

January 14–July 30, 2017

For over 200 years, Chicago has been putting art in public places. Sometimes it’s loved. Sometimes it’s hated. To further complicate matters, times change – and so do people and tastes. See for yourself in this exhibition of stories and historical public artwork of the past 200 years.

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.



The University of ChicagoFantastic Architecture: Vostell, Fluxus and the Built Environment

EXHIBIT: Fantastic Architecture: Vostell, Fluxus and the Built Environment

January 17–March 17, 2017

Opening reception on Sunday, January 22, 2017, 4–6pm

Presented as part of Concrete Happenings, this exhibition situates Wolf Vostell’s practice within the context of the international Fluxus movement and its interest in the built environment. Organized by the Neubauer Collegium, the exhibition will feature works from the University’s Special Collections at the Regenstein Library and loans from local, national, and international collections.

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave.



The University of Chicago

Vostell Concrete, 1969–1973

January 17–June 11, 2017

Opening reception: January 22, 2017, 4–6pm

Presented as part of Concrete Happenings, this exhibition explores the Fluxus movement co-founder’s use of concrete as a material and artistic motif in a surprising number of ways in the late 1960s and early 70s, including his colossal “Concrete Traffic” (1970) sculpture that is part of the University’s public art collection.

Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave.



Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsEugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College (Photo by: Lee Bey)

EXHIBIT: Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College

January 21–June 25, 2017

This exhibition will reunite all 32 doors painted by Eugene Eda for the stairwells of the original, now demolished Malcolm X College. Painted in 1971 by one of the principal artists of the Wall of Respect, the monumental doors are a landmark of the Black Arts movement in Chicago.

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.



The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter MuseumThe National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

EXHIBIT: Urban Culturalism

January 30 – February 1, 2017 (12-7pm) and February 9 – 11 (5-8pm)

Exhibit and celebration to rededicate the “Urban Culturalism” movement launched in Pullman with the opening of the museum in 1995.

10406 S. Maryland Ave.

$20 (tickets:


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events50 x 50 Invitational / The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities (Hey You! Yeah You!) (Alberto Aguilar, Call to Awareness, 2016, Sign paint on butcher paper)

EXHIBIT: The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities

February 11 – April 9, 2017

Six distinguished artists and curators, Miguel Aguilar, Janice Bond, Jesse Lee Cochran, Tempestt Hazel, Nicole Marroquin and Tricia Van Eck selected one artist from each of Chicago’s fifty wards, in order to engage a broad cross-section of Chicago artists, few of whom have exhibited previously at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.



DuSable Museum of African American History

SPECIAL EVENT: Project Respect – Artist Meet & Greet and Reception

Friday, February, 17, 2017, 6–8pm

Honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1967 dedication of the Wall of Respect, Project RESPECT includes an art installation, workshops facilitated by local artists and more.

740 E. 56th Pl.



Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsThe Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and the Legacy of Black Power

EXHIBIT: The Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and the Legacy of Black Power

February 25–July 30, 2017

Guest curated by Romi Crawford, Abdul Alkalimat and Rebecca Zorach, this exhibition chronicles how the Organization of Black Arts and Culture – a collection of 14 designers, photographers, painters and others – designed and produced one of the most significant projects in Chicago’s storied public art history – now covered over, at 43rd St. and Langley Ave.

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.



March Event Highlights


Connie Noyes

ARTWORK: Good Mourning Café

March 1 & 3, 2017, 6–9pm

The Good Mourning Cafe is a traveling art installation, social experiment and community outreach program conceived by artist and psychotherapist Connie Noyes. The cafe provides a free and safe space for Chicagoans to tell personal stories related to death and dying while exploring the painful emotions that accompany mourning.

Elephant Room Gallery, 704 S. Wabash Ave.

FREEPublic Art and the Art Institute of Chicago


Art Institute of Chicago

TALK / TOUR: Public Art and the Art Institute of Chicago

Fridays, March 3 and May 5, 2017, 12pm

Presented by the Department of Museum Education

111 S. Michigan Ave., Meet in Griffin Court

FREE with admission


Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia CollegeRevolution at Point Zero: Feminist Social Practice

EXHIBIT: Revolution at Point Zero: Feminist Social Practice

March 9–April 24, 2017, 9am–5pm

As the launch of an ongoing research project led by Neysa Page-Lieberman and Melissa Potter examining the legacy of feminism in socially-engaged art, this exhibit features women-identified, North American artists whose work focuses on themes of domestic labor; human trafficking; racial and gender justice; healing through consciousness-raising and radical acts of the personal and political.

1104 S. Wabash Ave.



Navy Pier, Polk Bros ParkImpulse

ARTWORK: Impulse

March 10–May 21, 2017

Impulse is a publicly activated light and sound experience that allows guests to create compositions with unique, urban instruments. It was originally created for the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership in Montreal, Canada b Lateral Office and CS Design.


Streeterville Neighborhood Advocates

TOUR: Streeterville Public Art Project

Monday, March 13, 2017, 7pm

The Streeterville Public Art Project increases awareness, appreciation and investment in public art in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago.

681 N. Fairbanks Ct.



The University of ChicagoFrom Spaces to Places: Public Art Walking Tour (Photo by: Kelsey Akers)

TOUR: From Spaces to Places: Public Art Walking Tour

Third Wednesdays of the month, March 15–June 21, 2017, 5:30–6:30pm

UChicago Arts and the Office of Civic Engagement present monthly tours of a small sample of the stunning works that have helped shape the University’s intellectual and cultural life, from works that boldly claim open spaces to those tucked unexpectedly between buildings.

Starts: Black Sphere, across from Cobb Hall, 5811 S. Ellis Ave.



April Event Highlights


Roman Susan Art FoundationProperty

EXHIBIT: Property

April 1–30, 2017

In a collaborative project by Roman Susan Art Foundation and the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society, this storefront window exhibition features new image-based works that reflect the way neighborhoods grow, mutate and persist as a result of property development.

7363 N. Greenview Ave.



Audience Architects

PERFORMANCE: Chicago Dance Month 2017

April 1–30, 2017

Audience Architects, the leading service organization for building and engaging dance audiences in Chicago, kicks off the fifth annual Chicago Dance Month. Highlighting the breadth, diversity and artistic richness of the Chicago dance community, Chicago Dance Month features a wide variety of performances, classes, educational opportunities, open rehersals and more.

Multiple locations


Highlights of Chicago Press and BronzevilleGreat Migration Public Art Tour

TOUR: Great Migration Public Art Tour

Select dates, April 8–April 22, 2017, 1–3pm

Bernard Turner, founder of Highlights of Chicago Press, leads a tour of Bronzeville's King Drive Walk of Fame, the largest exhibit of public art in Chicago featuring 91 plaques that highlight neighborhood notables such as Richard Wright, Dinah Washington and Gwendolyn Brooks along with artistic benches, murals and monuments.

Meeting Place SE Corner Bronzeville -- 35th and King Drive



The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago


Friday, April 14–15, 2017

A celebraton of the cultures, histories and aesthetics of hip-hop and street-dance forms such as breaking, popping and Chicago footwork, the B-series spotlights some of the most talented street dancers in the region. Curated by Kelsa Robinson, visiting lecturer at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

1306 S. Michigan Ave.



University of Illinois at Chicago and Open EngagementOpen Engagement Justice Chicago 2017

SPECIAL EVENT: Open Engagement 2017: Justice

April 20–23, 2017

Open Engagement (OE) is the largest artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially-engaged art.

University of Illinois at Chicago

FREE/Sliding Scale


Out of Site ChicagoEnChance


Friday, April 21

  • Sara Zalek, 5-7pm - UIC Halsted Blue Line Stop
  • Joshua Kent, 5-7pm - Trade Center Plaza

Saturday April 22

  • Janet Schmid, 5-7pm - UIC Halsted Blue Line Stop

Out of Site Chicago facilitates unexpected encounters of public performance that directly involve the public. The works by Janet Schmid, Sara Zalek, Nora Sharp, Joshua Kent and Mothergirl demonstrat dance as an interactive medium and empower participants with group choreography.



Sounding BronzevilleSounding Bronzeville

Spring Fling at Sounding Bronzeville

April 22, 2017, 1-4pm

Come and join us as we open up the season to see the beginning blossoms of the season and what visitors have come to the Burnham Wildlife Corridor during the winter months.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



ContratiempoCaracol–A Gathering Space

ARTWORK / PERFORMANCE: Caracol–A Gathering Space

Select dates, April 29–September 30, 2017

Caracol (Like snails, immigrants carry their home with them) is a community and artist-developed installation program inspired by the themes of migration, language and literature as identity builders. The weekend art programs in this living laboratory among the lakefront’s native ecology examines how we connect to the land, the city and across our communities.

Burnham Wildlife Corridor Gathering Space north of 31st Street Beach at the Lakefront



May Event Highlights


Chicago Transit Authority

ARTWORK / TOUR: CTA Public Art Collection

May–October, 2017

The Chicago Transit Authority is home to a significant collection of site-specific public artworks permanently displayed in over 50 rail stations. Commissioned through a joint community-engagement and curatorial process, the CTA Public Art Collection represents the work of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, the majority of whom are Chicagoans.

Multiple locationsCSE Celebrates 50 With 50



Chicago Sculpture Exhibit

ARTWORK: CSE Celebrates 50 With 50

May 8, 2017–May 2018; Kickoff party on Friday, June 23, 2017

Fifty large-scale public sculptures will be on unveiled throughout Chicago over a three-week period beginning on May 8, 2017. All activities are free and neighborhoods will be provided resources and assistance to make each unveiling a "happening."

Multiple locations



Sounding BronzevilleSounding Bronzeville

May 20, 2017, 1-4pm

Meditation, sound therapy and storytelling.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



June-October Event Highlights


Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center


June 3–August 13, 2017

99/1 is an exhibition program that will explore sculpture and design concepts in relation to the longstanding Percent-for-Art Ordinance of the Chicago Public Art Program. The exhibit features 3D works by Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center members who work in public sculpture, alongside an open call presentation of speculative new designs for public artworks in Chicago.

6433 N. Ravenswood Ave.


Public Art in Rogers Park Map Launch EventPublic Art in Rogers Park

June 4, 2017

Join Rogers Park Business Alliance in celebrating the launch of our Public Art in Rogers Park Map. We invite all neighbors and visitors alike to walk the vibrant streets of Rogers Park and experience Mile of Murals guided tours while enjoying our award winning Glenwood Sunday Market. The Public Art in Rogers Park Map is an online, interactive digital map (also available in hard copies) that features over 70 murals and sculptures in the neighborhood.

Two one-hour tours of the Mile of Murals Project at 11am and 1pm

For more information visit, or call 773.508.5885.

Glenwood Sunday Market, 6962 N. Glenwood Ave. Chicago, IL 60626


Illinois Humanities

PERFORMANCE: An Evening at the Pekin Theater featuring Reginald Robinson

June 17, 2017

Illinois Humanities with City of Chicago Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson presents a stylistic reenactment of performances at the Pekin Theatre featuring ragtime pianist and MacArthur Fellow Reginald Robinson, a full band and performance ensemble. Established in 1905 and lauded as the “Temple of Music,” the Pekin was the first black-owned musical and vaudeville stock theater in the country.

Location TBD

 Sounding Bronzeville

Sounding Bronzeville


June 18, 2017, 1-4pm

"JUNETEENTH" at Sounding Bronzeville and Sankofa for the Earth collaboration celebration on African and Black-American Folklore.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor

FREEWeave Trees


Chicago Park District and Synapse Arts


Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 11am–9pm

As part of the annual Make Music Chicago festival, this performance event takes place within a site-specific installation of textiles that hang from trees. Throughout the day, 30 minute dances activate the textiles, and the dancers will lead arm-knitting workshops to help add onto the handmade installation.

Loyola Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.


Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture InternationalSculpture Around Town

TOUR: Sculpture Around Town

June 21, 24 and 25, 2017

Trolley tours highlight the Chicago Sculpture International’s Sculpture In the Parks (15 sculptures near Chicago Park District cultural centers) and the Chicago Tree Project (30 sculptures made from dead trees). Each tour highlight a different area of the city from north to south to west sides and include talks by the artists.

Starts/Ends: Chicago Cultural Center, west alley


Sounding Bronzeville

July 22, 2017, 1-4pm

Freestyle dance workshop and sounds of the djigeridoo.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



Sounding BronzevilleSounding Bronzeville

Watermelon Chatter

August 19, 2017, 1-4pm

Intergenerational dialogue on how to manifest dreams and discuss resources available to youth. Watermelon slices provided.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



Sounding Bronzeville

September 16, 2017, 1-4pm

Bike to skate, walk, run to Sounding Bronzeville.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



Sounding Bronzeville

Sounding Bronzeville's Fall Harvest

October 21, 2017, 1-4pm

Bike to skate, walk, run to Sounding Bronzeville.

39th at Lake Shore Drive at the Burnham Wildlife Corridor



Save The Dates!

A special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the iconic Picasso sculpture is being planned for August on Daley Plaza.

A symposium for public art practitioners is being planned for the fall—and a new Public Art Festival in the fall will offer dozens of free activities for families and public art aficionados.

In September, the second Chicago Architecture Biennial will open at the Chicago Cultural Center and citywide: September 16, 2016 – January 7, 2017. Its theme, “Make New History,” will explore ‘the axis between history and modernity and the axis between architecture and art.’ (Opening weekend will coincide with EXPO CHICAGO, September 13-17.)

In October, the National Museum of Mexican art will join Yollocalli Arts Reach to celebrate 20 years of providing free youth programming to the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods—with a zine chronicling the public art created by Yollocalli youth over the past 20 years.