2015: One Fine Day Chicago Statues Began Telling Their Stories..

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One Fine Day Chicago Statues Started Telling Their Stories.. And All You Need Is A Smart Phone To Listen!  Beginning August 6, 2015, some of the most prominent statues in Chicago, 31 of them, have started telling their stories, as the city plays host to “Statue Stories Chicago”. In fact, Chicago is the first US city to host this extraordinary public art exhibition. The free, city-wide arts project gives voice to some of Chicago’s most prominent statues and sculptures, from Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Park, to the lions guarding the Art Institute, to the iconic Picasso at Daley Plaza!

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Statue Stories Chicago

Statue Stories Chicago

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Above Image: At the press launch of Statue Stories Chicago, at Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Park. From left Michelle T. Boone [Commissioner of the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events [DCASE]], Colette Hiller [Producer, Artistic Director at Sing, London], Bill Curtis [Television journalist, producer, narrator, and news anchor and host to a number of documentary shows], Kim Coventry [Executive Director of Richard H. Driehaus Foundation] and Julia Bachrach [Art Historian at Chicago Park District].

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Statue Stories Chicago

  When: August 2015 to August 2016.

  Produced by: Sing London with cultural partners from Chicago.

 Funded by: The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Images in this post are from the press launch on August 6,2015 at Lincoln Memorial.

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If statues could talk what stories would they tell? The statues speak for themselves. British arts producer Sing London, have worked with Chicago Park District [CPD],  and Chicago’s leading theaters and many other cultural partners, to create monologues for a range of Chicago’s statues. They are situated across the city and its parks from Lincoln Park on the north side, to Dunbar Park on the south side, and from the Museum Campus on the lakefront, to Humboldt Park on the west side.

“Most of us hardly notice the statues around us. Statue Stories Chicago seeks to change this. We’ve engaged a stellar line up of Chicago’s finest writers and actors, ready to put themselves in the shoes – or in some cases the paws – of Chicago statues!
– Producer Colette Hiller of Sing London.

To hear the statues speak, all one needs to do is to swipe the smartphone on a nearby sign and get a “call back” from the statue.  These  monologues are very interesting. Some historic, some fictional and some comical!  Its an attempt to persuade people to look at Chicago’s public artworks with new eyes… and ears!

Chicago’s celebrated actors and writers unite to give voice to statues across the city. Participants include Geoffrey Baer, Steve Carell, Bob Newhart, John C. Reilly, Shonda Rhimes and David Schwimmer.

“Chicago is home to an extraordinary collection of public art. In fact, the parks are a sort of outdoor museum. The foundation is pleased to provide a free and interactive opportunity to learn more about the city’s rich history and to discover a new dimension of our public parks through their often overlooked statues, memorials and sculptures.”
– Kim Coventry, executive director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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Statue Stories Chicago

Statue Stories Chicago

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Above Image: The writers and actors who brought the statues to life. Back row: Mickle Maher, Amy Morton, Lydia R. Diamond, Bill Kurtis and Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago (WTTW). Front row: Colette Hiller of Sing London, Julia Bachrach of Chicago Park District, actress Deanna Dunagan and Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune.

 

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Statue Stories Chicago

Colette Hiller, Producer and Artistic Director of Statue Stories Chicago

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Statue Stories Chicago is produced by Sing, London, a non-profit UK based arts organization whose projects “aspire to lift the public’s spirit”. Sing London’s work strives to connect people to the public spaces we all share. Past Projects include London’s Pianos Project and Ping! Most recently they produced Talking Statues London. For more on Sing London.. click here..

The city wide art exhibition is funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The foundation seeks to improve Chicago’s built environment, to enhance the city through arts, to use investigative reporting to strengthen democracy, and to ameliorate the effects of low wages on the working poor. For more.. click here..

The projects cultural partners include : The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Park District [CPD], The Chicago Public Library [CPL], The Chicago Tribune, Choose Chicago, The Cultural Mile, The Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events [DCASE], The Field Museum, The Goodman Theater, Looking Glass Theater Company, The Millennium Park Foundation, The Shedd Aquarium, Steppenwolf Theater Company and the Second City. Support with casting and recording from Audible.com. Statue Stories Chicago are powered by cultural technologies Antenna Lab.

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Statue Stories Chicago

Julia Bachrach giving a small walk tour for Statue Stories Chicago

 

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After the inaugural ceremonies were over, Julia Bachrach [Art Historian at Chicago Park District] took us on a small walking tour and gave us insights into the process of how the monologues were written and recorded and how the whole thing works!

 

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Statue Stories Chicago

Statue Stories Chicago

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Julia Bachrach is showing to us, how it is done, and it is pretty easy. All one needs to do is to swipe the smartphone on a nearby sign and get a “call back” from the statue.  These monologues are fun and some of Chicago’s most celebrated personalities have written script and given voice to the statues. One can hear the voice of David Schwimmer for Cloud Gate, John C. Reilly for Standing Lincoln, Bill Curtis for Montgomery Ward, and Bob Newhart himself for Bob Newhart.

“I could h resist the opportunity to give Bob Newhart Statue something to say for himself.”
– Actor Bob Newhart.

“Chicago Park District is pleased to be part of this imaginative project. As visitors spend time listening to the statues, we hope they will go on to explore the hundreds of artworks in our parks”.
– Mike Kelly, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District.

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Statue Stories Chicago

Statue Stories Chicago

 

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Julia Bachrach has written script for Alexander Von Humboldt’s sidekick, and voice is of actor Sandra Delgado! But who is this sidekick? Visit the staue and find out…

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Alexander Von Humboldt

Alexander Von Humboldt / But who is the sidekick? Learn more, visit with statue with your cell phone ..

 

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Public Writing Competition:
Three statues await the gift of speech. The Goodman Theater is overseeing a public competition to script these pieces. The winning entries will be recorded by prestigious theater members and will speak for Spring of 2016. These statues are:
– Bronze Cow in front of Chicago Cultural Center
– Fountain of Great Lakes at the Art Institute of Chicago, and..
– Brachiosaurus at the Field Museum.

 

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Fountain Girl

Fountain Girl

 

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Teen Writing Competition:
From the Chicago Park District website.. click here..
The Chicago Park District is sponsoring a student writing competition as part of the Statue Stories Chicago project. Students between the ages of 12 and 18 are invited to submit a monologue to “give a voice” to the Fountain Girl statue in Lincoln Park. The monologue should be written in the first person from the statue’s point of view. Monologues can be submitted between Sept. 21 and Oct. 26, 2015. The winning entry will be recorded by a teen actor and become an official part of the Statue Stories Chicago project in the spring of 2016 continuing through August 6, 2016. The monologues should be no longer than 350 words total. Additional information about how you can submit your monologue will be available here in September of 2015.

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For more information on Statue Stories Chicago, go to www.statuestorieschicago.com

 


 

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Some more Images from the day..

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Published by Jyoti Srivastava
Image copyright © Jyoti Srivastava.

 


 

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1 Comment to “2015: One Fine Day Chicago Statues Began Telling Their Stories..”

  1. I saw a segment on the CBS Morning News, Up to the Minute, broadcasted on Aug, 10, 2015. It was about the talking statues year long project in Chicago…..I think this is an amazing tool to teach children and adults the history snot each individual person or object that would bring life to learning, making it more personal, giving it a human touch with the verbal interaction. I had to make a comment here to commend Colette Hiller and all those involved in this awesome project. I live in Phoenix, Az. Have only been to Chicago one time on a business trip, likely never to be able to go there again to see this worth while project, so glad I bad a touch of insomnia this morning and was able to catch bbc this newsworthy segment. I would just like to say thank you.

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