PRO TIP: If you don’t read any further than this, take my advice and BRING HEADPHONES (more on that later).
Art on the Mart is a permanent public art experience along the Riverwalk in Chicago. Lights and pictures are projected onto the entire south side of the Merchandise Mart. Introduced in September of 2018, the art installation is presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theaters.
theMART (formerly the Merchandise Mart), located in the River North neighborhood between Wells and Orleans streets, is the world’s largest commercial building and design center. It spans two whole city blocks and is 25 stories tall. theMART has been an icon in Chicago’s architectural city since it was built in the 1930s.
On May 13, 2019, Art on the Mart expanded its projections to seven days a week for the summer. Projections begin about 15 minutes after sunset. Approximate sunset times are listed on their website calendar. This summer program will run through September 29, 2019.
I would recommend getting there at least a half hour early. There really isn’t “seating” available, except on the edges of some landscape ledges.
Before the show starts, there is a projection instructing you to visit the website for audio. They do not play this publicly, so if you don’t have headphones with you, you are out of luck. Trying to play it through the speaker on your phone didn’t work that well. Some of the light projections are set to music and some of the projections were performances from theater performers, visual artists and puppeteers.
The display is visible for 2 hours. I’m not sure if it repeats at some point. We didn’t stay that long. If you are feeling adventurous, we saw a good number of kayakers enjoying the visual display on the river during that night.
If you are in the city, this is definitely worth fitting into your agenda. This is also a FREE activity so that is always a bonus. Just make sure you have headphones.