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Public Art

Explore Chicago's Art Scene At Navy Pier

Our eclectic array of public art and exhibitions reflects both our physical space and our philosophical mission.

As the nonprofit stewards of a large, public place, we commit to present iconic, contemporary art installations and exhibitions that attract, excite and inspire our guests. We offer art that is free and accessible to all.

We consider public art to be a valuable part of any visit to Navy Pier. Guests get to explore the sounds, shapes, colors and creations surrounded by green spaces and blue waters. Some of the creative, artistic expressions you’ll find at Navy Pier are permanent installations. Others are special art events, temporary installations or seasonal displays.

Art on Display at Navy Pier

In partnership with the Design Museum of Chicago and The Vintage House Show Collective

Chicago: Home of House Exhibit

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of House music, this one-of-a-kind exhibit will pay homage to the energy, music, and dance of Black and Latino youth on Chicago’s south and west sides that laid the critical foundation for Chicago House music. Presented in partnership with the Design Museum of Chicago and The Vintage House Show Collective, the exhibit will explore the history of the artists, clubs, and labels that built the style of House pioneers and practitioners.

Navy Pier Home of House Interior Photo

Eddie Martinez

Half Stepping Hot Stepper and Untitled

In partnership with EXPO Chicago presented by Navy Pier 

Two sculptures by American artist Eddie Martinez will be installed outside at Navy Pier. Known primarily for his large canvases, Martinez has been making sculptures for over a decade. As with his paintings, Martinez’s sculptures are dynamic, colorful and bold explorations of abstract shape, line and form. The eclectic range of materials he employs in his ‘assemblages’ such as plaster, wood, plastic and rubber (not to mention lobster traps, buoys, and a swimming pool ladder) reach their apotheosis in exquisitely cast bronzes. Half Stepping Hot Stepper, enamel and spray paint on bronze, and Untitled, oil paint and enamel on bronze, are at once energetic and exuberant, and equally filled with a sense of melancholy and nostalgia.

Navy Pier Outdoor Artwork Photo Close-Up

Murals and Mosaics: An Exhibition by the Chicago Sun-Times

Explore this unique showcase of public art displaying up to 50 photos of Chicago neighborhoods and the stories behind them that’ve been highlighted by the Chicago Sun-Times weekly Mural and Mosaic series. This free exhibit is located at the entrance one lobby.

Murals and Mosaics Exhibition at Navy Pier

'Made In Chicago' Mural: A Fusion of Creativity and Community

Nestled within Navy Pier, the “Made In Chicago” mural by Filipina artist Cookie Kwan is a testament to the city’s vibrant culture. The mural’s monochromatic Chicago skyline draws attention with its meticulous linework, while beneath the lamp post, vibrant colors symbolize the thriving community of artists and artisans who breathe life into the city’s rich cultural tapestry.

Visit Navy Pier and have your photo taken with Cookie Kwan’s ‘Made In Chicago’ mural! It’s more than just paint on a wall; it’s a story of Chicago’s past, present, and the vibrant kaleidoscope of its future. Don’t miss out on this masterpiece that beautifully marries art, community, and the soul of Chicago.

Made In Chicago Mural by Cookie Kwan

Hebru Brantley’s Iconic ‘flyboy’

Titled The Great Debate, this 16-foot ‘flyboy’, stands at the South Dock entrance of the Chicago Children’s Museum door of the Pier. Created by Hebru Brantley, a world-renowned Chicago artist known for his iconic characters, Flyboy and Little Mama. The statue looks upward and southward in a heroic stance summoning all to contemplate the notion of dreaming the impossible.

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"Reach" by Chris Daze Ellis

New York City creative Chris Daze Ellis remains one of the few artists of his generation to make the successful transition from painting NYC subway cars to the studio. His numerous notable exhibitions are recognized internationally. On loan from ART WITH ME, this sensational sculpture — “Reach” can be found in Pier Park near the carousel.

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Permanent Installations

Meet Me at The "P"

The Polk family—siblings Sol, Morris, Goldie, Sam, David and Harry—changed the course of American retail, the face of Chicago’s neighborhoods, and the everyday lives of Chicago’s working families. The Meet Me at the “P” sculpture at Navy Pier, designed by Kym Abrams, commemorates their impact and celebrates the changes they made.

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Bob Newhart Statue

Created by Studio EIS in New York, this life-sized Bob Newhart statue was commissioned by nostalgia cable channel TV Land and unveiled to the City of Chicago on July 27, 2004 by the company’s president Larry W. Jones. In November 2004, the statue was moved to Navy Pier. The statue was designed for guest participation and is best enjoyed by interacting with the famous TV psychologist Bob Hartley in bronze.

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Captain on the Helm

The Captain On The Helm bronze statue is located just south the Navy Pier entrance. The statue was a gift from the Chicago Lodge of Shipmasters International and sculpted by Michael Martino. Dedicated on May 19, 2000, the plaque acknowledges: “To those courageous mariners who guided their ships through perilous waters, carrying cargo and people. Their contributions have been so much a part of our history. May they never be forgotten.” The statue has engraved brickwork with the names of many legendary Captains and contributors to the project.

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Crack the Whip

Created by world-renowned sculptor J. Seward Johnson, Jr., Crack the Whip was installed at Navy Pier in 1996. This whimsical depiction of eight children at play shows them holding hands and running in a semi-circle. A girl on one end appears to be falling down but is held up by the support of the others, who all lean back. Another girl has lost her shoe.

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U.S.S. Chicago Anchor

This 8-ton anchor installed on Navy Pier in 1995 was from the U.S.S. Chicago, the third ship to bear the name Chicago. Funded by the citizens of Chicago and completed in 1945, U.S.S. Chicago was classified as a heavy cruiser and later converted to a guided missile cruiser. She saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and received several commendations before she was dismantled in 1984. In August 2012, former sailors who served aboard the U.S.S. Chicago came to the Pier to restore the ship’s anchor back to its original color.

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Illuminated Legacy Exhibit

Discover a curated selection of ten Tiffany windows from Richard H. Driehaus’s extensive collection of over 1,500 Tiffany objects. As a passionate collector and philanthropist, Mr. Driehaus acquired the historic Nickerson Mansion in 2003, overseeing its meticulous five-year restoration. Today, the Driehaus Museum, situated near Michigan Avenue, serves as a hub for global conversations on art, architecture, and design. The museum’s collection, shaped by Mr. Driehaus’s vision, includes exquisite Tiffany lamps and glassware.

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