See The New Public Art Commissions at O'Hare Airport

Jina Valentine, a murmuration,  600 wall-mounted convex aluminum discs of varying sizes on display in the Passenger Level Concourse. More info

By CGN Staff via PR

Chicago has built an international reputation as a center for public art over the course of several decades, from Picasso's sculpture in Daley Plaza to Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Recently the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced that several works by more than 20 Chicago artists have been installed in Terminal 5 (the international terminal). The $3.5 million public art commission is the City’s largest single acquisition of works by Chicago artists in the last 30 years, and the visual investment is a significant way to introduce visitors to the city's collection as well as a reminder for those traveling home to Chicago of all that is right here. It doesn't hurt that much like "O'Hare itself, the art on view is large-scale, varied and seems to go on forever. 

“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. 


Bernard Williams, "Buffalo Chart at O'Hare". More info


“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.”


Mayumi Lake, Shinsekai Yori (新世界より) | From the New World. Terminal 5 - International Arrivals Corridor. More info


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.


  • …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.



Nick Cave, Palimpsest, Installed in the Multi-Modal Facility - South Escalator Hall
​A dimensional tapestry is constructed of hand-strung, beaded shoelaces, woven with memory-steeped iconography and patterns, through a nylon fishing net base layer. Palimpsest represents travel to understanding, the web of humanity, and future memories. Its colors come directly from Chicago’s unique skyline and is a continuation of the images taken in through an airplane window upon descent in Chicago. ​


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.


Yvette Mayorga, "Pilgrimage to the Isle of Pink". More info.


View the entire O’Hare International Airport Public Art collection at


For more information on the City’s Public Art Collection, visit