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The Picasso is turning 50 and Chicago is throwing it a party

Zach Long

We're still not sure what it's supposed to look like, but one of Chicago's most iconic pieces of public art, the Picasso, is about to turn 50 years old. To celebrate the occasion, the city is holding an event that will recreate the statue's unveiling in 1967. The 50-foot-tall statue was commissioned by Daley Center architec Richard Bennett in 1963—when Picasso accepted the commission, he turned down a $100,000 payment, providing the statue as a gift to the city.

The city's celebration, called Everyone's Picasso, will honor that gift at its home in Daley Plaza, where a shroud (provided by artist Edra Soto) will be draped over the Picasso for its grand re-unveiling. Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Mark Kelly will oversee the ceremony, which will include a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir and the After School Matters Orchestra. Teenage YouMedia program participants will be interviewing attendees while in character as legendary Chicago historian Studs Terkel.

The event will kick off at noon on August 8 in Daley Plaza and admission is free. The ceremony is part of Chicago's Year of Public Art program, which puts the spotlight on public art installations throughout the city. Check out full details of the Picasso event below and keep on trying to figure out what exactly the statue is trying to depict.

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