Public Art and Public Life in Chicago (In Person)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - Wednesday, August 17, 2022

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Ten Sessions


The registration period has closed for this event.

Seminar Description

This seminar will explore Chicago’s riches in the realm of public art, including murals, commemorative statues, architectural sculpture, and commercial decorations. Our introductory session at the Newberry will draw upon the library’s collection of art periodicals and newspapers to trace the public responses to these works of art at the time of their production and installation. The remaining sessions will consist of walking tours, enabling us to study the works of art first hand. We will pay special attention to the role of public art in shaping identities. For example, how has the city’s strong tradition of public art influenced Chicago’s larger civic identity and reputation? How have artworks helped solidify ethnic identities in Chicago’s neighborhoods? How have war memorials inflected the identities of veterans? What has been the impact of recent social movements and protests on public art? We will also consider the role of public art in promoting tourism, commerce, and politics

Ten sessions. $330/$300.

Led by Diane Dillon.

We're continuing to closely monitor health and safety conditions related to COVID-19 in Chicago. Click here to check our visitor policy before you arrive.

In compliance with an emergency travel order issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health, some visitors arriving from outside Illinois must take certain safety measures before visiting the Newberry.


Diane Dillon is a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry. She holds a PhD in the history of art from Yale University and specializes in Chicago art and culture.

Registration Fees

Registration fee is $330

We offer a 10% discount for seniors, students, and Associate members (at the Author level and above) of the Newberry.

Contact Us

The Adult Education Seminars Program team is available Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. To reach the seminars program, email is the best form of contact: You can also reach us by phone at 312-255-3700. Please allow 24-48 business hours for a response.


Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Click here for directions