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Take a look at Kerry James Marshall’s gigantic new mural at the Chicago Cultural Center

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Chicago's Year of Public Art is coming to a close at the end of December, but the city is ending the celebration on a high note with the help of local artist and MacArthur Fellow, Kerry James Marshall. Completed over the weekend, Marshall's 132-foot by 100-foot mural "RUSH MORE" was painted on the side of the Chicago Cultural Center on Garland Court, between Washington and Randolph Streets. The work depicts and pays tribute to 20 women who have been instrumental parts of Chicago's art and culture scene, ranging from talk show host Oprah Winfrey to Goodman Theatre cofounder Cheryl Lynn Bruce (who happens to be Marshall's wife).

Marshall charged the city just $1 to create the mural, though the rest of the project was funded by Murals of Acceptance, an organization founded by Chicagoan Kevin McCarthy that seeks to install art in public settings. 

"When I was asked to design a mural for narrow Garland Court, it was immediately clear to me that the site had to be ‘opened up’ in some way," Marshall said in a statement. "My solution was a park-like view with a bright sun and stand of trees to bring light and green space to the location."

Take a look at some photos of the mural being painted below and see if you can spot the following women depicted on the side of the Chicago Cultural Center:

• Suzanne Ghez, director and chief curator for nearly 40 years, The Renaissance Society

• Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• Jacqueline Russell, founder and artistic director, Chicago Children’s Theatre

• Ruth Page, dancer, choreographer and founder, Ruth Page Center for the Arts

• Lois Weisberg, longest-serving commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

• Maggie Daley, longest-serving first lady of the City of Chicago

• Jackie Taylor, founder and CEO, Black Ensemble Theater

• Monica Haslip, founder and executive director, Little Black Pearl

• Abena Joan Brown, founder, eta Creative Arts Foundation

• Margaret Burroughs, founder, DuSable Museum of African American History

• Harriet Monroe, founder, Poetry Magazine

• Cheryl Lynn Bruce, co-founder, Goodman Theatre/Dearborn Homes Youth Drama Workshop

• Sandra Delgado, founding ensemble member, Collaboraction

• Jane Saks, founding director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute and Project&

• Barbara Jones-Hogu, founding member, AfriCobra

• Gwendolyn Brooks, literary icon

• Sandra Cisneros, literary icon

• Achy Obejas, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist

• Oprah Winfrey, cultural icon

• Joan Gray, dancer and longtime president of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

Kerry James Marshall mural in-progress

Photograph: Patrick Pyszka

Kerry James Marshall mural in-progress

Photograph: Patrick Pyszka

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