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Many are familiar with the Art Institute of Chicago that houses a vast collection of Old World masterpieces blended with modern works. But, the Windy City also has a Public Art Collection that contains more than 500 pieces on display in more than 150 locations. Some of the works are outdoors, while others are situated in various indoor public destinations.

The Picasso
The bird-like Picasso stands in Daley Plaza at a height of 50 feet and weighs more than 160 tons. When first unveiled, the structure created controversy. Some loved the work of art created by the famous artist. Others deemed the metal bird unsightly. But, over the years, the sculpture has become one of the most well-known in the city and remains a beloved icon of Chicago.

Buckingham Fountain
The exquisite French Baroque styled fountain stands in Grant Park. Architects Edward H. Bennett and Daniel Burnham created the masterpiece, which was dedicated in 1927. The base holds 1.5 million gallons of water. The fountain has four tiers starting with the 280-foot base, the 103 foot lower basin, the 60-foot middle basin, and the 24-foot upper basin. Every hour, three pumps eject over 14,000 gallons of water per minute to include a 150-foot spray into the air. The show lasts for 20 minutes. By night, 820 lights perform a dazzling display by illuminating each region of the fountain with an array of changing color combinations.

The Sounding Sculpture
Harry Bertoia created the unique exhibit that stands in front of the Aon Center on Randolph Avenue. The brass, copper and granite compilation was inspired by seeing wheat swaying in the wind combined with the Aeolian harp of mythology. Sixteen-foot rods stand upon granite bases in six arrays. When the wind blows, the metal vibrates at different frequencies to create sounds reminiscent of bells and wind chimes.

Art on theMart
In 2018, multiple sides of the city’s Merchandise Mart served as a 2.5-acre canvas to unveil a unique and colorful digital light show. A specially designed room houses the 34 projectors broadcast the colorful display that represents the images created by various artists. The images play in coordination with an audio program. The nightly shows draw crowds to the Riverwalk situated between Lake and Wells streets.