Latitude: 41.884431 Longitude -87.624501.
Chicago is a great city for public art, as I discovered in the summer of 2004 when visiting the newly opened Millennium Park. There are several terrific pieces of public sculpture, including a bridge and amphitheater by Frank Geary, a “fountain” by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and this piece by the British artist Anish Kapoor. The sculpture is large and has been likened to a bean or cloud. It provides 360 degree reflections of the park, the people, the sky and the skyline of Chicago. In the summer months, the space below is an open air café, in the winter it doubles as an ice skating rink. I was so taken with this piece and the serene perspective it provided on an otherwise bustling city that I sat for hours in the café watching the skyline turn from afternoon to dusk to night. In between, I was able to get a sense of the people who enjoy the park--not just tourists and business people rushing through, but a good number of local residents, of all backgrounds.
There are so many things to enjoy about this park--on an aesthetic level, they’ve created a place of creativity, amusement, and beauty; but as a project of a modern city, it was inspiring to see the commitment from the local government and also the corporate underwriting that was garnered to make the park happen. I hope it serves as inspiration for my own city of Boston as we undertake the massive redesign of the land formerly in the shadow of the elevated Central Artery.