Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), joined aldermen and cultural leaders today at the National Museum of Mexican Art to announce the artists participating in the 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project. The City of Chicago has commissioned dozens of local artists to create new sculptures, murals and other public artworks in all 50 wards this summer and fall—representing a $1 million investment in artist-led community projects. 50x50 is part of the Year of Public Art, a citywide initiative involving DCASE, the Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Transit Authority and other departments to bring more art into public spaces.
“The Year of Public Art is a celebration of the lasting contributions the arts make to communities across Chicago” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “In every neighborhood in Chicago there are talented artists, working across all mediums, who can add to the cultural fabric of their communities. The 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project is a $1 million investment in Chicago's neighborhoods, building on Chicago's legacy of public art and enabling local artists to share their work with the world."
Additionally, DCASE, in collaboration with the Department of Family and Support Services, have also set aside opportunities for a Public Art Youth Corps paid internship program as part of One Summer Chicago. New in 2017, youth and young adults are being matched with community organizations to work on public art projects in neighborhoods across the city.
“The 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project was initiated to enhance the quality of life throughout Chicago—and to celebrate the legacy and future of Chicago’s public art,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “Every neighborhood has talented painters, photographers and sculptors whose work could brighten and enhance our City—and funding from both the Mayor and our Aldermen will make that possible this year, the Year of Public Art.”
Participating 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project artists (and groups of artists)—selected by participating aldermen and the communities they serve—include:
New artworks completed as part of the 50x50 and Public Art Youth Corps initiatives will be dedicated—and Chicago’s iconic artworks will be highlighted—at a citywide Public Art Festival from October 1-31, including a series of neighborhood programs and events.
Managed by DCASE, the 50x50 initiative was inspired by Chicago’s 50 wards and the 50th anniversary of two 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.
The Year of Public Art is guided by the Mayor’s Chicago Cultural Plan, a citywide vision for art and culture that has incorporated public art into projects at many City departments. There are several upcoming free installations, exhibits and events that will continue throughout the year. These range from installations on the Chicago Riverwalk this summer, to Flying Creatures created by Chicago Public Library YOUmedia teens installed in the fall, to the addition of 15 new Cultural Center Sculptures at each of the Chicago Park District Cultural Centers this winter. CTA will partner with DCASE to install illuminated light boxes later this year at select rail stations. This will expand on CTA’s current collection of public art, which has nearly doubled under the Mayor’s leadership and now includes more than 60 mosaics, art glass and sculptures on all eight rail lines. For more details, please visit cityofchicago.org/yopa.
The Chicago Public Art Collection includes more than 500 works of art exhibited in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries, and CTA stations. The Collection provides the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment and enhances city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists. DCASE also administers the City’s Percent-for-Art Ordinance established in 1978, which stipulates that 1.33% of the cost of constructing or renovating public buildings will be used for public art.
Grant support for the Year of Public Art is provided by Allstate Insurance Company and Terra Foundation for American Art.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.