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A vibrant ongoing display will decorate 2.5 acres of a landmark building’s exterior in front of downtown Chicago’s riverfront promenade.

The Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.25-mile pedestrian stretch along the Chicago River’s south bank, has long offered some of the most striking views in the Windy City. This fall, those views will only shine brighter.

Just after sundown on Saturday, September 29, 2018, a curated display of four contemporary digital art projections will light up the world’s largest commercial building, theMART (formerly known as The Merchandise Mart), in downtown Chicago. Using 34 high-powered projectors, the large-scale projections will stretch across 2.5 acres of theMART’s Chicago River–facing exterior (that’s the equivalent of two football fields). The vibrant outdoor display will be known as Art on theMART

On the last Saturday in September, the section of the Chicago Riverwalk located directly across the Chicago River from theMART will be closed off to traffic for a public viewing of the projections, which will begin around 7:15 p.m. and run for approximately 35 minutes before culminating in a fireworks show above the commercial office and retail space.

Luckily, the riverfront display won’t just be a one-time spectacle—in fact, it’ll be nearly the opposite. The City of Chicago and theMART plan to facilitate this ongoing series of ever-changing digital art for the next 30 years, projecting across theMART’s massive facade for up to two hours a night, five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday), from March through December each year.

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The project, which will be the world’s largest and longest-running digital art projection, is the result of Chicago’s 2017 Public Art Plan to support works of art across the city that can be viewed by all. None of the digital art featured will include advertisements or sponsorship credits—the light programs will serve solely as public displays of innovation and creativity.


Art on theMART’s official launch is one of many notable events commemorating local and international art during EXPO Chicago, a celebration of contemporary art and design this September 27-30 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. For the best places to stay in Chicago during EXPO Chicago and beyond, read more 
here. 

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