Chicago Works of Public Art Can Literally Speak to You

Dorothy and Toto statue, Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois.
"Dorothy and Toto" statue, W. Webster Ave. (near 700 W.), Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois.
“Dorothy and Toto” statue, W. Webster Ave. (near 700 W.), Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Katerina Papathanasiou / The Vale Magazine

All across the “Windy City,” history is coming to life for culture lovers, tourists, and Chicago residents of all ages. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation in partnership with the City of Chicago and Chicago Park District have created “Statue Stories Chicago” –┬áturning some of the city’s most notable art displays into interactive experiences.

Visitors can scan a QR code or visit a URL linked to one of over thirty statues across Chicago. Within seconds, they will receive a call on their smartphone from the person, animal, or landmark represented by the statue. Through the delivery of cleverly crafted scripts, visitors to each of the landmarks will be treated to a dramatic (and often humorous) interpretation of the statue’s history and significance to the world.

Statue Stories Chicago sign depicting which statue is talking where, Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois.
“Statue Stories Chicago” sign depicting which statue is talking where, Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Katerina Papathanasiou / The Vale Magazine

Local theater and production companies including Lookingglass Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and The Second City have donated their time and talent to match each statue’s script to its unique persona. Once scripted, famous Chicagoans like Steve Carrell and John C. Reilly bring the stories to life through the interactive smartphone experience.

"Statue Stories Chicago" sign, Oz Park.
Visit “Dorothy and Toto” statue in Oz Park, Chicago and look for the “Statue Stories Chicago” sign. Using your smartphone, you can either scan your QR code or go to the URL listed on the sign (speak2.com/Dot). Answer your phone – Dorothy is calling you! Photo by Katerina Papathanasiou / The Vale Magazine

There is no charge for the service besides regular network rates, and visitors can interact with statues all over the city. From William Shakespeare in Lincoln Park to Nicolaus Copernicus at the Adler Planetarium, history will come to life through each phone call. Even Millennium Park’s famous Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”) has a story to tell – narrated by actor David Schwimmer, who is a 1988 Northwestern University graduate.

"Tin Man" statue, W. Webster Ave. at N. Larrabee St., Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois.
“Tin Man” statue, W. Webster Ave. at N. Larrabee St., Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Katerina Papathanasiou / The Vale Magazine

Visitors have until August of 2020 to participate in “Statue Stories Chicago” before the world-famous landmarks will be seen, but no longer heard.

"The Cowardly Lion" statue, N. Larrabee St. at W. Dickens Ave., Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois.
“The Cowardly Lion” statue, N. Larrabee St. at W. Dickens Ave., Oz Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Katerina Papathanasiou / The Vale Magazine