In August 2015, Statue Stories Chicago, a public arts project that gave voice to 30 famous statues across the city, received its US premiere. Project partners recently announced that the free, city-wide arts exhibition will continue through September 2017.
Chicago's most celebrated writers, actors and comedians were commissioned to create monologues for some of the city's famous statues. Pass a talking statue, look for the nearby sign, and use your smartphone to scan the sign's QR Code or type the text in your web browser, and presto-you get a call back from John C. Reilly as Abraham Lincoln, Shonda Rhymes as Miró's Chicago or Steve Carell as a man clutching a giant fish by the Shedd Aquarium. Each has a story to tell. Together they tell Chicago's story.
Statue Stories Chicago is produced by UK arts organization Sing London and delivered with Chicago's leading theaters, cultural institutions and the Chicago Park District. To date, the statues have spoken with nearly 60,000 people. The biggest talkers are some of the city's favorites: Cloud Gate, Bob Newhart and the lions guarding the Art Institute of Chicago. But veer slightly off the beaten track and you can hear from the likes of Renée Fleming as the Spirit of Music, Elizabeth McGovern as the Goddess Hebe, or from The Tin Man and Dorothy in Oz Park.
"There's something a little bit magical about having a statue call you by phone' said project producer Colette Hiller. "Chicago's statues have been voiced by an extraordinary, stellar line-up of writers and actors. The result brings new meaning to 'Street Theater.'
For more information, including a map of statue locations, and self-guided tour information, visit www.statuestorieschicago.com.
The famed statue, Abraham Lincoln: The Man in Chicago's Lincoln Park is brought to life via recordings voiced by John C. Reilly through the popular Statue Stories Chicago public arts project.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts