Kid Meets Art in Downtown Chicago

by Jessica on October 20, 2011

One of the great things about big cities is that they have become storehouse for large scale art installations.  This is especially welcome news for traveling families, because while most art experience are don't touch, don't breathe, don't you dare get too close, this type of art is  often designed for interaction.   Children walking the streets of downtown Chicago will be thrilled to find a trio of art experiences that are designed for multi-sensory, full scale kid meets art connections.


Cloud Gate

Although this polished sculpture by Indian born British artist Anish Kapoor is known as Cloud Gate, locals simply refer to it as "The Bean."  The shiny bean shaped mirror is said to have been inspired by the fluid movement of liquid mercury and treats visitors to a distorted and angled view of the city skyline. 


For a kid, this is a most exceptional fun house mirror where you can explore under, around, and through to find the reflection angle that produces the most giggles.



Crown Fountain

Crown Fountain is a video sculpture composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between twin glass brick towers.  Images of actual residents of Chicago are projected onto the towers with the added whimsy of each picture periodically spurting water on the participants below. 


In the summer, hundreds of kids and kids at heart flock to the pool to splash in the water and playfully wait for the giant splash of water to cascade from above.




An army of 106 headless and armless rusted iron sculptures mill around like wandering crowd of people in Grant Park.   The installation was designed by Polish artist Magdelena Abakanowicz, who grew up during WWII and drew on her fear of crowds for her inspiration.  Visitors are meant to wander through the sculptures and contemplate the meaning of the art. 


For kids, contemplation often comes in the form of a raucous game of hide seek, the larger than life legs making perfect places to duck and hide.

~This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby and Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom.


Nekky October 21, 2011 at 12:29 am

This was definitely tons of fun. Very nice and historic place. I love arts.

Tracy October 21, 2011 at 1:03 am

All of those look fantastic. I love the water comes out of the mouth of the faces on that fountain! We were in Adelaide, Australia earlier this year and stumbled across a park that had sculptures of things you might find in your backyard only giant sized. It was a bugs eye view of the world. The kids had the best time climbing on it all and still talk about what the world would like like to ants and beetles.

Amy October 21, 2011 at 2:32 am

Love the photos.  Today, I spent the day in Adelaide after months in the outback … I am so stressed and worked up after a day in the city with kids.  Hats off to you coping in a city and travelling.

Steve October 21, 2011 at 5:48 am

Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain look like a blast! Agora seems kind of creepy though. It actually looks like the back of one of those hollow bunnis that you used to get for Easter. Glad to see the kids still knew how to have fun though.

Becca@R We There Yet Mom? October 21, 2011 at 7:21 am

I LOVE the Bean & Crown Fountain – we spent a whole afternoon there – the kids had so much fun!  It is a must do for Chicago!!
Thanks for linking up today!

Lisa October 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

My kids loved Cloud Gate as well.  Haven't seen the others – will have to check them out the next time we are in Chicago. 

walkingontravels October 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

I remember when the face fountain went up. It was kind of creepy, but cool at the same time. It's even weirder if you just drive by it on your way home at night. All the sudden faces are flashing at you. I don't remember Agora, but what a fantastic Hide and Go Seek spot! Your boys had the right idea. Wonder if I could squeeze myself into a leg and hide too. Only one way to find out! time to head back to Chicago!

Connie @ Young and Relentless October 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I have always wanted to visit Chicago!  Looks like my kids would love it.

Elizabeth Owens October 23, 2011 at 9:08 am

The Agora is so neat! I actually only live three hours from Chicago and have never been there somehow. I am a new follower from Say Hi Sunday :) I hope you can return the follow love

Sophie October 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

I love interactive art – things you can walk between, dance around, jump on… makes it public property that way, everybody owns it. The Opera House here in Oslo is like that as well. Can't very well maintain opera is just for the elite, when everyone can jump all over the building :)

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