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Kerry James Marshall mural honoring 20 iconic women unveiled at the Chicago Cultural Center
The 132-foot by 100-foot mural is the largest artwork he has ever designed or created. Photo: Patrick Pyszka, City of Chicago.


CHICAGO, IL.- Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, alongside internationally renowned artist and MacArthur Fellow Kerry James Marshall, unveiled his epic, large-scale mural on the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). The mural honors 20 women who have shaped the city’s vibrant arts and culture landscape. The 132-foot by 100-foot mural is the largest artwork he has ever designed or created.

“Chicago is recognized across the country and around the world as an epicenter of innovative art, architecture and design,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Kerry James Marshall’s new mural on the iconic Chicago Cultural Center is not just a celebration of Chicago’s legacy of public art, but it is also a continuation of creativity and culture that continues to inspire us”.

The Chicago Cultural Center is the first and most comprehensive free large-municipal cultural venue in the country. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center, presents hundreds of free international, national, regional and local artists, musicians and performers, providing a showcase where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts. It is currently home to the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which will run through January 7, 2018.

“When I was asked to design a mural for narrow Garland Court, it was immediately clear to me that the site had to be ‘opened up’ in some way,” said Kerry James Marshall. “My solution was a park-like view with a bright sun and stand of trees to bring light and green space to the location while at the same time honoring the mission of the building as the hub of artistic activity in Chicago. My idea was to make of the trees a kind of Forest Rushmore acknowledging the contribution of 20 women who’ve worked to shape the cultural landscape of the city, past and present.”

The mural is funded by Murals of Acceptance, whose goal is to bring art to all people in a free public setting. Murals of Acceptance was founded by Chicago native, Kevin McCarthy and is supported by Marc and Lynne Benioff and by Patricia Arquette and David Arquette. The mural is located on the building’s Garland Court façade, between Washington and Randolph Streets.

"I wanted to collaborate with the finest artists alive today to make monuments that preach acceptance, love, and equality to everyone who sees them, and put them in places where everyone would," said Kevin J. McCarthy Founder, Murals of Acceptance.

“Kerry James Marshall is one of our nation’s most acclaimed and important artists—and this mural for “The People’s Palace” is a true gift to the people of Chicago,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “The City of Chicago was thrilled to celebrate Kerry at the Fifth Star Honors this summer and we look forward to his artwork shaping our cultural landscape for generations to come.





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