23 Aug Chicago’s Year of Public Art & the 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project
Imagine the City without public art. No Picasso statue at Daley Plaza, no Bean at Millennium Park, no Buckingham Fountain, none of those big bronze horses or statues of famous dead people. No murals enlivening our neighborhoods.
In fact, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel says, “There is no question that art is vital to a neighborhood’s spirit and the quality of life for residents.”
Other people have said, Art is not an enhancement; it is a necessity and A city can’t claim to be great without public art and Art is essential to a democracy.
The City of Chicago designated 2017 the Year of Public Art (YOPA) and is investing in artist-led community projects. The 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project is among the more prominent initiatives. It will provide up to $1 million for new public art projects. The name was inspired by Chicago’s 50 wards and 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).
Aldermen may opt in to the program by choosing to dedicate a portion of their 2017 budget allocation to commission public art for their ward. These funds will be matched up to $10,000 by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
Last winter an open call process invited artists, artist teams, and arts organizations to submit their qualifications for the project. DCASE and representatives from Chicago’s cultural community reviewed the applications and created a pool of pre-qualified artists for aldermen to choose from. The selected artists have been working with DCASE, aldermen and residents to develop public artworks.
Northwest Arts Connection is proud to be the 30th Ward’s exclusive art partner for the 50×50 project. Alderman Ariel E. Reboyras is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts.