The Chicago Cultural Center, located on Washington Street across from Millennium Park, houses an array of art pieces that capture the liveliness of the city. “The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities” is its latest exhibit showcasing work from artists all over the city.
Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events invited artists who live within the city limits to submit work for the exhibit. More than 250 artists submitted their work demonstrating a wide range of perspectives on life in Chicago through photographs, displays and other medias.
During 2017, the city of Chicago is dedicating its efforts to a year-long program collaborating with artists and audiences alike in public art projects. Much of the artwork displayed throughout the exhibit represents the minority population of Chicago and its struggles throughout history.
One piece by Paola Aguirre and Sara Pooley focuses on the closing of Chicago Public Schools since 2013 due to budget cuts, under-enrollment and low-performance. It’s a series of folded boxes featuring photos of the schools, ground plans, school names and written descriptions. Another piece, by Jenny Lam, features post cards sent in by the public with the prompt, “Tell me one thing you dream of doing before you die.”
Visitor Jasper Huerto said the artwork is more impressive than the Museum of Contemporary Art because the art is from the people of Chicago.
“The art is more wholesome,” Huerto said. “[The artists] are struggling Chicago people who make art because they love art.”
Anne Fort has the same appreciation for the art, and it has pushed her to visit the Chicago Cultural Center despite no longer living in Chicago. She said she’s been visiting since the center was just a library.
“It’s breathtaking, impressive, beautiful and very educational. You see the context from which it sprung,” she said.
Fort’s appreciation doesn’t stop at the art. She said it’s also important to recognize the history behind it if the city is going to pull together as a whole.
“What we don’t know, we tend to fear,” Fort said.
The exhibit is free and open to the public daily through April 9.