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Year of Public Art



Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have declared 2017 as the "Year of Public Art" in Chicago with a new 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project, the creation of a Public Art Youth Corps, a new Public Art Festival, exhibitions, performances, tours and more. The citywide celebration commemorates the 50th anniversary of two of our most seminal public artworks - the Picasso in Daley Plaza and the Wall of Respect which once stood at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue on the South Side - and highlights the important role that public art has played in Chicago's history.


  • Chicago Cultural Center exhibit 50x50 Invitational, featuring works by 50 artists representing all 50 wards (February - April)
  • Chicago Cultural Center exhibit The Wall of Respect, chronicling how 14 artists designed and produced the seminal mural for and within Chicago's black South Side communities in 1967 (March - July)
  • DCASE murals exhibit highlighting the murals of Pilsen, Little Village and other vibrant Latino communities in Chicago
  • DuSable Museum of African American History's Project RESPECT, exploring its impact on Chicago's history and the Black Arts Movement and will culminate with the creation of a mural by several local artists (February - October)
  • Out of Site Chicago will present a series of performances in neighborhoods throughout the city, activating public spaces with dance and movement (April)
  • South Side Community Art Center will host a day of art-making, biking and public art (May)
  • Special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the iconic Picasso sculpture on Daley Plaza (August)
  • 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 (October)
  • A symposium for public art practitioners is being planned - and a new Public Art Festival will offer dozens of free activities for families and public art aficionados (Fall)

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