Whether Chicagoans are taking a stroll down the trail or riding in the intercampus shuttle down the expressway, they will find Lake Michigan’s shore is home to an array of diverse artwork.
The pieces lining the lake between Loyola’s campuses range from historically significant to personal and creative works. For those hoping to stare out the window to distract themselves from the potholes or want to have a more exciting walk, here are eight works of art along the lakefront.
“Peace and Justice” Sculpture by Margot McMahon
In the center of the Peace Garden at 4200 Lakefront Trail, this sculpture depicts two children leaping for a ball in the air. This work was created in 2010 for Daisaku Ikeda, the former president of the Japanese-Buddhist religious movement Soka Gakkai.
Artist Margot McMahon chose to honor Ikeda because he witnessed a violent act of discrimination against a child in Lincoln Park Oct. 9, 1960, according to the statue’s base. Along with this explanation, the piece includes three quotes attributed to him.
“I promise you that I will build a society truly worthy of your love and pride,” Ikeda said. “We — indeed, all people — are brothers and sisters from the infinite past who share a mission to bring peace and happiness to the world we live in.”
“Kwanusila” Totem Pole by Tony Hunt
Carved primarily from red cedar and standing in south Lincoln Park, this totem pole depicts multiple creatures from Native American imagery: kwanusila the thunderbird, a whale with a man on its back and a sea monster.
Near the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, this piece is an exact replica of a totem pole donated to the city in 1929 by James L. Kraft, the founder of the food manufacturing company, according to the totem’s plaque.
Tony Hunt of the Canadian Kwagulth tribe carved this recreation in 1986 and it has stood across from the tennis courts in Lincoln Park ever since.
“Self-Portrait” Sculpture by Keith Haring
In 1989, Keith Haring founded an organization dedicated to preserving his art and advocating for those struggling with HIV/AIDS. In that same year, he created a four-foot-tall, green sculpture titled “Self-Portrait.”
Thirty years later, a 30-foot-tall recreation was placed next to Belmont Harbor in the center of what will be AIDS Garden Chicago. The errant angles the limbs face create an ambiguous pose. Viewers are left wondering whether he is walking, dancing or just standing strangely.
Haring died from AIDS a year after creating his self-portrait, according to The New York Times, but his art will continue to live along the lakefront.
“The Alarm” Statue by John J. Boyle
The statue depicts a Native American man standing tall and proud, with his wife kneeling beside him, a child in her arms. To the left of the man’s feet, his dog stands ready to defend the family.
The base of the statue is a work of art in itself. The four sides feature a different scene carved into the stone: “The Corn Dance,” “The Peace Pipe,” “The Hunt” and “Forestry.”
Now tarnished green, the man who commissioned the piece in 1884, fur trader Martin Ryerson, wanted the piece to depict the honor of Native Americans rather than perpetuate the stereotyped savagery, according to the Chicago Park District.
“Chevron” Sculpture by John Henry
“Chevron” is the largest piece along Lake Michigan, loaned to Chicago in 2015 by artist John Henry.
From afar, the piece almost looks like a windmill. Up close, passersby have the ability to walk beneath and through the steel slabs.
Looking at the sculpture from the inside creates an entirely different context. Henry described this gap as an “intimate enclosure” on OtoCast, an app that provides audio descriptions and placements of art around America.
“A Signal of Peace” Statue by Cyrus Edwin Dallin
The second Native American-inspired piece along Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Lake Shore Drive was made in 1889.
Utah-born artist Cyrus Edwin Dallin built the piece and had it displayed in Paris in 1890. Dallin became known for depicting indigenous people and historical events, according to the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum.
Below the chieftain on his horse, the plaque states it was a gift from Lambert Tree, an Illinois judge who bought the monument from Dallin in 1893, according to the Chicago Park District.
“Ten Thousand Ripples” Statues by Indira Freitas Johnson
Nine identical Buddha heads rising from the ground can be seen directly next to the expressway. These fiberglass sculptures were designed by artist Indira Freitas Johnson.
When the project began a decade ago, 100 heads were installed around the city in different neighborhoods, such as Pilsen and Uptown. A buddha head can even be seen on Loyola’s campus at the corner of North Sheridan Road and West Albion Avenue.
The Buddha head is meant as a “symbol of peace and self-realization” and is intended to spark conversations in their neighborhood, according to Johnson’s website.
“Charitas” Statue by Ida McClelland Stout
Ida McClelland Stout’s “Charitas” features a woman with one child perched on her shoulder and the other held in her arm.
Stout had won a student contest hosted by the Chicago Daily News which funded her project in 1922, according to the Chicago Park District.
Although the woman’s bronze legs are frozen, her statue has moved many times throughout Lincoln Park over the century. Now, it sits adjacent to West Fullerton Avenue, facing the Theater on the Lake.