O’Hare Terminal 5 Public Art Project Nears Completion
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DCASE and CDA unveil first look at newly installed public art works at O’Hare—$3.5 million commission is the City’s largest single acquisition by Chicago artists
DCASE announces additional public art works in neighborhoods citywide— New projects by Chicago artists Luftwerk, Bob Faust, Edra Soto, and more
CHICAGO – This month visitors arriving and departing from O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 (T5) will begin to see an extraordinary new public art collection as several works by more than 20 Chicago artists finish installation. The $3.5 million public art commission, led by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), is the City’s largest single acquisition of works by Chicago artists in the last 30 years.
“Public art tells the story of our city—its beauty, its resilience, the soul of Chicago,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “We’re proud to share Chicago’s story and the power of the arts with visitors from across the globe—at O’Hare and in diverse communities across this great city. This is the kind of innovative and unique opportunity that can help continue to bolster and support our public arts scene in Chicago and beyond.”
A dedication event with the artists and City officials will take place in the coming months, and airport professionals are enjoying tours of the extensive commission this week as Chicago plays host to the annual Arts in the Airport conference organized by the American Association of Airport Executives.
“For millions of passengers, Terminal 5 is their first impression of not only Chicago, but our entire country — and there is no better way to showcase the essence, the diversity, and the beauty of Chicago than through the arts,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “I thank Mayor Johnson, Commissioner Harkey and the diverse and creative artists for their dedication to this commission, and I look forward to building upon this successful public art program as work begins on our core passenger facilities through O’Hare 21.”
“The recently completed artworks at O'Hare reflect the immense talent and creativity present in Chicago's artists and cultural communities,” shared DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “The public art in Terminal 5 joins recently completed artworks in the airport’s Multi-Modal Facility and adds to Chicago’s more than 500-piece Public Art Collection on display throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods.”
“DCASE’s collaboration with CDA on the $3.5 million public art commission is one of more than 60 new art projects and collaborations currently taking place in neighborhoods throughout Chicago,” shared DCASE Director of Public Art Jimmy Castillo. “Community engagement is the cornerstone of the City’s public art program, which enriches the lives of all Chicagoans and is a critical investment in Chicago’s creative economy.”
This fall, DCASE also announces a number of transformative public art projects citywide—from a light installation Woven Together by Luftwerk and Gloria Talamantes inspired by residents of the Back of the Yards neighborhood, to the recently completed Wayfindings at Austin’s Joint Public Safety Training Campus by acclaimed artist Bob Faust who engaged Community Policing officers and youth to incorporate their images of Austin into the artwork’s final design.
O’Hare International Airport New Terminal 5 (T5) Commissions
- The exhibition Del Otro Lado / The Other Side featuring 17 original works curated by Behar X Schachman is now on view throughout the International Arrivals Corridor. Access the list of artists.
- …a murmuration by jina valentine consists of 600 wall-mounted convex aluminum discs of varying sizes on display in the Passenger Level Concourse.
- The final commission Immigrant Owned by Jonathan Michael Castillo will finish installation in 2024 in the Baggage Claim of Terminal 5.
The new projects at T5 join recently completed projects at the O’Hare Multi-Modal Facility (MMF):
- Installed in April 2023, REACH is a large-scale sculpture by New York-based artists Hank Willis Thomas and Coby Kennedy consisting of two arms, approx. 27 and 31 feet long, suspended between nine and 34 feet off the ground in the North Escalator Hall of the MMF.
- Palimpsest by Chicago’s own Nick Cave was installed in 2019 in MMF. The multi-story beaded and bustled tapestry is made of plastic pony beads, shoelaces, and nylon fishing net, with patterns and colors meant to emphasize the collective power of connectedness.
- Horizon Light by New York-based James Carpenter Design Associates, installed in 2019, consists of 196 color-anodized ellipses with subtle variations in color temperature and integrated LED lighting programmed to run light sequences along the length of the sculpture.
- Field Lines by Los Angeles-based artist Rob Ley, installed in 2018, consists of painted aluminum strips along the wall above the rental car counters in the MMF’s main hall. The piece is sculpted to evoke the steady flow of a breeze through a field, inspired by the dynamic air currents that shape wind and weather patterns across the globe.
View the entire O’Hare International Airport Public Art collection at flychicago.com/ArtORD.
New Public Artworks in Neighborhoods Across Chicago
- A new Riverwalk Banner Kin Link by Leonard Suryajaya recently completed its installation of five large-scale paintings along Michigan Avenue near Lower Wacker Drive. Kin Link is a vision of an immigrant’s experience to the city through a queer lens that offers and creates space for differing patterns and identities to exist in cohesion. It considers the overlapping of family with kinship, and the knotty relationship between home and diaspora spanning from Indonesia to the United States. A public dedication event will take place Wednesday, October 18 from 10–11:30am with live music and dance performances on the Riverwalk.
- Woven Together by Luftwerk in collaboration with Gloria Talamantes will transform the 49th and Ashland Viaduct at 4900 S. Ashland Avenue into a mural of light. This mural illuminates the pedestrian thoroughfare with a design directly inspired by colors and patterns created by the residents of the neighborhood. Woven Together celebrates the rich history and diverse community of Back of the Yards and will be completed in October 2023.
- Wayfindings by Bob Faust, located at the Joint Public Safety Training Campus in the Austin neighborhood (4443 W. Chicago Ave.) consists of three sculptural pieces, a mural panel and metal plates on bollards. The project, which finished installation in September 2023, highlights the intention of the campus as a new neighborhood icon and a visual representation of bridge building between youth, first responders, and the community. Faust worked with Community Policing officers and youth from the new, adjacent Boys & Girls Club, incorporating their images of Austin into the artwork's design.
- Also, to be installed at the Joint Public Safety Training Campus in Austin is the large-scale mural titled Everyday Pledge by artist Edra Soto. Soto will be working with local artists to create the installation, slated to open in summer 2024.
- The Conservation Center, in partnership with DCASE and the CTA, recently completed a vital preservation project at the Harlem (O'Hare Branch) Blue Line CTA station. This project involved the restoration and conservation of the iconic artwork Harlem Station, 1984 by renowned artist Alex Katz, an enamel on aluminum mural that is part of the City of Chicago Public Art Collection. Alex Katz, known primarily for his portraits, created Harlem Station as one of only eight public art projects attributed to him and the sole one located in the Midwest. The mural is a free-standing masterpiece painted on both sides of cut-out aluminum panels, allowing viewers to appreciate it from both inside the station and the street.
- In partnership with Chicago Public Library (CPL), three artists were selected to produce new artworks at neighborhood CPL branch locations as part of the City’s antiviolence programming efforts. These public art commissions will create artworks designed to embrace and uplift community healing and cohesion through community engagement.
- Dorian Sylvain at Uptown Branch, 929 W. Buena Ave.
- James Jankowiak at West Lawn Branch, 4020 W. 63rd St.
- Aram Han Sifuentes at Brighton Park Branch, 4314 S. Archer Ave.
- At the Uptown Neighborhood Health Center (845 W. Wilson Ave.) is home to the recently completed Uptown Harmony: A Cultural Tapestry by artists Andy Bellomo and Sandra Antongiorgi. The artwork’s circular panels and murals depict the vibrant community as well as the health center.
- Learning to Fly by artist Hector Duarte is recently completed large-scale mural located in the reading garden at the Budlong Woods Library (5630 N. Lincoln Ave.) created with hand-made mosaic pieces. Members of the community participated in creating the mosaic pieces for the mural.
- Artists Jeff Zimmerman and Christophe Gausparro have recently completed Circle of Life at the Northeast (Levy) Senior Center (2019 W. Lawrence Ave). This multi-layered collage directly reflects the rich diversity found in the Lincoln Square community that the Levy Center serves.
- A ribbon-cutting was recently held for the newly restored Builders of the Cultural Present Mural at 71st and Jeffery in the South Shore neighborhood. Originally painted by artists Mitchell Caton and Calvin Jones in 1981, DCASE funded the mural restoration led by Dorian Sylvain with the South Shore Chamber as fiscal agents. Sylvain worked with artists Bernard Williams and Damon Lamar Reed to restore the mural.
For more information on the City’s Public Art Collection, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city—to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city—serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.
About the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) owns and operates one of the world's busiest airport systems, comprised of O'Hare and Midway International Airports. Chicago's airports offer service to more than 250 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 47 foreign countries, combined. Together, Chicago's airports serve more than 105 million passengers each year and generate approximately $70 billion in annual economic activity for the region. The CDA is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at either airport. For more information, visit flychicago.com.
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