The Chicago Picasso Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Aug. 15 marks the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Picasso’s debut, and Tuesday, the city celebrated the iconic sculpture with a public ceremony.

When former Mayor Richard J. Daley spoke at the statue’s unveiling he said, “We dedicate this celebrated work this morning with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday said the first appearance of the 50-foot tall Picasso represented “a critical inflection point in Chicago’s story.”

“It was the spark that ignited five decades and more than 1,400 pieces of public art throughout our city,” he said. “They call this piece ‘Everyone’s Picasso’ because it belongs to all of us.”

Since it first hit the town, the sculpture has appeared in movies, impressed tourists, and overseen public gatherings of all kinds.

Patricia Balton Stratton, author of “The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure,” joins host Phil Ponce to discuss the sculpture.


Collaborative arts programming is made possible by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Artistic Collaboration Fund.


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