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Chicago planning big celebration for the Daley Center Picasso’s 50th birthday

The popular public art piece was unveiled by Mayor Richard J. Daley 50 years ago this year

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Ben Campney

On August 8, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and hundreds of Chicago residents will convene at Daley Plaza to celebrate the 50th birthday of the city’s famous Picasso sculpture. Dubbed “Everyone’s Picasso,” the event is organized by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and will feature performances by the Chicago Children's Choir and the After School Matters Orchestra.

Dedicated by Mayor Richard J. Daley on August 15, 1967, the untitled sculpture was received by a perplexed—if not skeptical—public. However, despite its initial lukewarm reception, the 50-foot-tall artwork has become a beloved symbol of downtown Chicago and has made numerous cameos in popular films including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Fugitive. At the time of its dedication, Daley famously remarked “what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.”

The Picasso’s big birthday party runs from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8 at Daley Plaza. Admission is free to the public.