Among the Butterflies in the City

Moises Salazar Tlatenchi – "'In Your Light' highlights how nature is a safe space for LGBTOIA + members. As many queer people may feel unsafe or anxious in public city spaces, nature and green spaces will always be a haven for the LGBTQIA+ community."



When my children were very young we spent many hours at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. It was a wonderful destination for busy little people where we could engage their senses and put them in touch with nature in the middle of the city. A favorite spot in the museum was always the Butterfly Haven, where my daughter could stand still and just wait for a butterfly to land on her for a few moments. 

During a walk around Lincoln Park one morning last week I came across the Flight of Butterflies exhibition on the grounds near the Museum. On view through fall 2025 the exhibition stars nearly 2 dozen works around the museum and the surrounding park plus another 10 or so placed downtown. These works, like the natural creatures that inspired them, will not stay put for long. Soon they will migrate around the city.  A map on the museum's website shows where each work will end up so you can follow their journey

This city-wide exhibit merges nature, art, and storytelling as a call to action for wildlife conservation. Local artists adorn butterfly sculptures with original designs, expressing their unique connections to nature.


Leonard Surajaya – "This sculpture is adorned with the eyes of my family and friends in both Indonesia and Chicago. Connecting communities in mv hometown and mv new found home, I set forth a vision of diversity and pride in belonging to our home on earth."


The list of artists who have collaborated on this exhibition, creating uniquely beautiful creatures that stay put for more than a moment, features many familiar Chicago names, from Candace Hunter, to Leonard Surajaya, Rubén Aguirre, Yvette Mayorga and CGN's spring 2024 cover artist Salvador Andrade Arévalo, as well as many others. 

The Nature Museum supports global conservation of tropical butterfly habitats through partnerships with butterfly farms through the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. The museum says that this project amplifies their institutional mission to create positive connections between people and nature, and illuminates their vital conservation stories, and Flight of Butterflies brings the delight of art and nature to the public.


April 2024 – September 2025

Through July 2024: On Nature Museum Grounds + Michigan Avenue



Ariée Carter – "My nature is wonderful. lt's comfortable like my dresses. I created Junona. She is inspired by Christian Dior. She is friendly, courageous, kind, and gentle. When people see her, I want them to think about flowers and the sparkles in the water." 


Melanie Vazquez – "This sculpture pays tribute to Mexican culture and honors my roots through nature's interconnectedness.Inspired by papel picado, each delicate cut-out symbolizes nature's essence, evoking growth, vitality, and spiritual harmony. Through this piece, I celebrate life's beauty, reflecting on nature's enduring spirit in my origins and heritage."


Liz Flores – "My butterfly is an exploration of home and bow we all search for a place to exist. Each part of the butterfly wing contains a figurative element, bridging nature and people. It celebrates the act of migration. the search for something better, and nature's quest to not only survive but thrive."