Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The Tin Man statue of Oz Park is one of Chicago's iconic statues that has a story to tell thanks to the popular citywide Statue Stories initiative.
The popular Statue Stories Chicago initiative that brings to life Chicago’s iconic public statues with narratives that illuminate their lives and histories and their link to Chicago and its own story will be extended through December 2018. The free, city-wide program, which was produced by UK-based Sing London, premiered in August 2015.
Chicago’s most celebrated writers, actors and comedians were commissioned to create monologues for statues across the city. The statues “speak” when a smartphone scans a QR code (or it is typed into a browser) on a plaque next to the statue. When the phone rings, visitors receive a call back from John C. Reilly as Abraham Lincoln or Steve Carell as a man clutching a giant fish by the Shedd Aquarium. Each statue has a story to tell. Together they tell Chicago’s story.
More than 100,000 listeners have enjoyed the monologues since the statues since the program’s launch.
The biggest talkers to date are: Cloud Gate, Bob Newhart and the lions guarding the Art Institute of Chicago. Statues in parks across the city are also very chatty including Renée Fleming as the Spirit of Music in Grant Park, Elizabeth McGovern as the Goddess Hebe in Grant Park, Lamome Morris as the World’s Fair bison in Humboldt Park, and David Kersnar as The Tin Man in Oz Park.
“There’s something a little bit magical about having a statue call you by phone,” said Colette Hiller, Sing London artistic director. “Chicago’s statues have been voiced by an extraordinary, stellar line-up of writers and actors. The result brings new meaning to ‘Street Theater.’”
In addition to the popularity of the project, the decision to keep the statues taking was to coordinate with the 2017 the Year of Public Art in Chicago and the Terra Foundation’s Art Design Chicago initiative, taking place throughout 2018.
Statue Stories Chicago is made possible through partnerships with Chicago’s leading theatres, cultural institutions, and the Chicago Park District.
For more information, including a map of statue locations, and self-guided tour information, visit www.statuestorieschicago.com.