Year of Public Art in Chicago: What's ahead for 2017

Year of Public Art in Chicago: What's ahead for 2017

Art is alive and well in Chicago with a host of art and creative events on tap for 2017--the year Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have declared  the “Year of Public Art.”

In addition, to the outstanding exhibitions at our museums, we can look forward to some blockbuster happenings citywide including the 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial, a new look at the Wall of Respect and, would you believe, the 50th Anniversary of the Picasso (sculpture).

Here are some of the events you may want to put on your arts calendar.

Year of Public Art in Chicago

January–December 2017, throughout the city

Art is everywhere in Chicago from the neighborhoods, libraries and parks to the Mag Mile and the CTA. In 2017, Art in Chicago gets an even bigger boost with a $1.5 million investment in artist-led community projects.

A public art display by David Lee Csicsko inside the Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line CTA station.

A public art display by David Lee Csicsko inside the Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line CTA station.

Highlights for 2017 include a new 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project; the creation of a Public Art Youth Corps; a new Public Art Festival; exhibitions, performances, tours and more.

Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College

January 21–June 25, 2017, Chicago Cultural Centerdoorsexhibit

The Eugene Eda Door's  exhibition reunites all 32 doors painted in 1917 by Eugene Eda for the stairwells of the original, now demolished Malcolm X College. The Exhibition includes other portable artworks in the MXC collection as well as documentation that will shed light on this important and turbulent period in Chicago history. Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery (78 E. Washington St.)

50 x 50 Invitational / The Subject is Chicago

February 11–April 9, 2017, Chicago Cultural Center

The Subject is Chicago features works by 50 artists who are representing each of the 50 city wards--offering an exhibition opportunity to artists who may be underrepresented. Chicago Cultural Center, Exhibit Hall (78 E. Washington St.)

3rd Annual Lake FX Summit + Expo

April 21–22, 2017, various locations

Come April the two-day Lake FX Summit + Expo--the region’s largest free conference for artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs-- brings thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations to the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington)  and other city locations.

Wall of Respect

February 25–July 30, 2017, various venues and locationswallofrespect

The Wall of Respect, guest curated by Romi Crawford, Abdul Alkalimat and Rebecca Zorach will be the subject of many events and exhibitions throughout Chicago and Evanston.

The original wall–-a collection of 14 designers, photographers, painters and others--resulted in a seminal mural for and within Chicago’s Black South Side communities. The wall featuring the images of leading black icons ranging from Sara Vaughn and John Coltrane to Marcus Garvey and Ossie Davis, received national critical acclaim when it was unveiled in 1967 on the side of a building at 43rd St. and Langley Ave.

It was ultimately painted over and virtually forgotten after damage by a fire in 1971.

Today, however, the wall has reemerged as one of the most significant projects in Chicago’s storied public art history.

Exhibitions and events are scheduled at Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms (78 E. Washington St.); Block Museum of Art in Evanston, the Art Institute of Chicago and more.

Candida Alvarez

April 29–August 6, 2017, Chicago Cultural Center

The first major career survey of the work of Chicago-based artist Candida Alvarez, guest curated by Terry Myers, will focus primarily on the artist’s painting, from 1975 to the present. Chicago Cultural Center, Exhibit Hall (78 E. Washington St.)

2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial

September 16–December 31, 2017, various locations

Press conference announcement of Chicago's 2nd Architectural Bienniel

Press conference announcement of Chicago's 2nd Architectural Biennial

The 2nd edition of the successful Chicago Architecture Biennial will be the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America. The 1st Chicago Biennial in 2015 drew more than a half-million visitors to free exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and elsewhere that showcased the cutting-edge ideas of 120 architects and firms from more than 30 countries, including many from Chicago. Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and other locations.

Events to put on your radar…

A special commemoration the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the iconic Picasso sculpture will take place at a date, TBA, in August on Daley Plaza.

A symposium for public art practitioners—along with a Public Art Festival featuring dozens of free events and activities is on tap for fall 2017 with dates and events, TBA.

In October, the National Museum of Mexican art will celebrate 20 years of providing free youth programming to the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods with special events and activities.

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