Chicago Public Art Celebrates The Art Of Sitting

Chicago Public Art Celebrates The Art Of Sitting
These seats honoring Cubs favorite Ernie Banks are part of the Centennial Seats Celebration

Chicago will be welcoming its tired, poor, huddled masses and others this summer with public art installations made for sitting.

A quick check around town shows some pretty cool seats (perfect for hot days) are popping up in some unlikely places in Chicago this summer.

First the Chicago Cubs kicked off their 100-year celebration of Wrigley Field, last week with "Centennial Seats" located mostly along Michigan Avenue.  The 50-pairs of custom-made ballpark seats designed by artists and celebrities are available for seating and photo ops through August 10 when they will go up for auction through the Chicago Cubs charities.

Now, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Loop Alliance are adding more seats for Chicagoans with the launch of what they call “two new placemaking initiatives in downtown Chicago.”

The first initiative, #CitySeats, invites one and all to sit and interact with each other. The city seats will be active from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday throughout the summer. To find their locations (within the area spanning from Dearborn Street east to Michigan Avenue, and Monroe Street north to Lake Street) go to Twitter using the hashtag #CitySeats.

#CitySeats. Image courtesy of Chicago Loop Alliance

#CitySeats. Image courtesy of Chicago Loop Alliance

The second initiative takes place at Pritzker Park-- the 7-arce green space just north of the Harold Washington Library (State and Van Buren Streets). The park will be receiving colorful tables and chairs along with pop-up programming throughout the summer of 2014.

The kickoff celebration for the Pritzker Park installation will take place on Tuesday, June 10 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. with food trucks and live music from an interactive, punk circus-themed marching band.

The Pritzker Park installation will provide a colorful oasis with seating for 40-50 people from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. each day throughout the summer.

Pritzker Park waiting for its seating installation on Tuesday, June 10

Pritzker Park waiting for its seating installation on Tuesday, June 10

More public outdoor seating will be available at the Gateway public plaza on the State Street median between Wacker Drive and Lake Street. The Gateway features bright red and blue seating for up to 50 people, landscaped flowerboxes, trees and banners that welcome visitors to the Loop.  It will be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. each day throughout the summer.

Gateway public plaza. Photo credit: CLA

Gateway public plaza. Photo credit: CLA

The reason behind all the seating installations according to CLA Executive Director Michael Edwards, is "the continuations of CLA’s efforts to improve the quality of the public realm downtown,” and "to create a distinct sense of place and high-performing experiences within the Loop.”

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