Art Highlights of 2023 Chicago Riverwalk: Leonard Suryajaya and Derrick Adams
Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announce a slate of engaging summer arts and recreational programming taking place on the Chicago Riverwalk on the south bank of the Chicago River. The award-winning, pedestrian-friendly Chicago Riverwalk stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street offering restaurants, wineries and bars, live music and performances, public art, urban recreation and more.
A new Riverwalk Banner activates the latest series of five large-scale paintings near Michigan Avenue later this summer. Kin Link by Leonard Suryajaya is a vision of an immigrant’s experience to the city through a queer lens that offers and creates space for differing patterns and identities to exist in cohesion. It considers the overlapping of family with kinship, and the knotty relationship between home and diaspora spanning from Indonesia to the United States.
Art on theMART (AOTM)
On view twice nightly
June 8 - September 13: 9pm & 10:30pm
September 14 - December 30: 7:30pm & 8:30pm
The Jetty (between Wells and Franklin Streets)
Art on theMART is the world's largest digital public art projection, displaying original video works across the 2.5-acre riverside façade of theMART in downtown Chicago every night from April – December. With a yearly program of site-specific commissions, AOTM lends visibility and recognition to a wide variety of artists locally, nationally and internationally.
This spring's programming launched with a new commission by internationally renowned artist Derrick Adams. Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides Through Four Seasons builds upon Adams’s famed Funtime Unicorn project celebrating Black joy, love and play. The animation–realized in collaboration with The Channel–unfolds across the four seasons and begins with Ruby in a playground before she embarks on adventures through joyful dreamscapes. Projections are on view nightly through July 5, 2023.
Art on theMART introduces two new commissions for the summer season. One, of which kicked off on June 8 with the projection, Building Light, by Gensler, the largest global design and architecture firm. The launch of the reimagining of THE MART, also spearheaded by Gensler, will coincide with this latest commission. Beginning July 6, The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, an organization celebrating and archiving Black dance, will feature ten diverse local dance companies in a new commission titled The Big Bang: Movement Theory + the Black Dancing Body that will run through September 13. Details at artonthemart.com.
The Riverwalk banner exhibition launched in 2017 as a bi-yearly program and will welcome a new installation Kin Link by Leonard Suryajaya in summer of 2023. Past artists include Candida Alvarez (2017-2019), Ebony G. Patterson (2019-2021), and Andrea Carlson (2021-2023).
Other public art installations on display at the Chicago Riverwalk include Echo Hecho Fresco by Alberto Aguilar at the Columbus underbridge, The People in Your Neighborhood by Dont Fret at The Confluence, The Radiance of Being mural by Kate Lynn Lewis at the Community Marketplace, as well as the Riverwalk Gateway by Ellen Lanyon, Allium by Carolyn Ottmers, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.