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“Another Time’s Voice Remembers My Passion’s Humanity” mural at 3947 S. Michigan Ave.

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Chicago mural must-sees: Check out these 12 great examples of the city’s public art scene

This suggested grand tour should give you a taste of the visual variety that’s become a staple of neighborhoods all over the city.

“Another Time’s Voice Remembers My Passion’s Humanity” mural at 3947 S. Michigan Ave.
| Leslie Adkins / Sun-Times

Spend some time walking around Chicago, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a mural or two. The city is dotted with public art, some well-known, much of it less so but often still a joy to happen on.

To help you hone your eye for spotting them, here’s a sampling of 12 standouts around the city to look for.

1651 W. North Ave.

Painted by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra in 2017, this mural draws the eye with the combination of a black-and-white background and colorful subject. The portrait of the late Chicago photographer Vivian Maier spans the entire outside wall of a Wicker Park home. At first sight, it might seem relatively basic. But note Maier’s gaze and the shadow of someone behind her.

This mural at 1651 W. North Ave. features an image of the late Chicago photographer Vivian Maier.
This mural at 1651 W. North Ave. features an image of the late Chicago photographer Vivian Maier.
Annie Costabile / Sun-Times

79th Street / East End Avenue

Max Sansing’s South Side mural depicts five people against a sprawling purple background. Meant to communicate the importance of family, the mural includes symbols like a key and a stack of books.

Max Sansing’s mural, at 1706 E. 79th St., represents family relationships.
Max Sansing’s mural, at 1706 E. 79th St., represents family relationships.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

Concord Place / Damen Avenue

Featuring Chicago artist Hebru Brantley’s signature Flyboy and other characters in motion, the “Nike Running” mural lacks a background, almost as if they’re running alongside passersby in Wicker Park.

One of Hebru Brantley’s many murals featuring his trademark Flyboy character,
One of Hebru Brantley’s many murals featuring his trademark Flyboy character,
Annie Costabile / Sun-Times

Farwell Avenue / Glenwood Avenue

Rogers Park is home to numerous murals, many of them part of the “Mile of Murals” project. With its rainbow progression and geometric figures holding what appear to be eyeballs, Mear One’s “Sacred Gardens” piece can’t be missed even if it might puzzle viewers.

Mear One painted “Sacred Gardens” as part of the “Mile of Murals” project in Rogers Park.
Mear One painted “Sacred Gardens” as part of the “Mile of Murals” project in Rogers Park.
Annie Costabile / Sun-Times

16th Street / Blue Island Avenue

Just one of many iconic murals on 16th street in Pilsen, “Galeria del Barrio” was created in 1976. Recently retouched by Chicago artist Sam Kirk, the eye-catching piece features faces that reflect a range of emotions.

Painted in 1976, this is one of the eye-catching murals that line 16th Street in Pilsen.
Painted in 1976, this is one of the eye-catching murals that line 16th Street in Pilsen.
Rick Majewski | Sun-Times

Harrison Street / Wabash Avenue

Lady Lucx and Sarah Stewart painted this piece in 2016, part of the Wabash Arts Corridor’s and Columbia College Chicago’s Big Walls effort. Painted on several panels, it can seem overwhelming. The beast in the mural reflects the intersection of tranquil neighborhood life and bustling downtown Chicago. This mural represents different aspects of city life.

This work, by Lady Lucx and Sarah Stewart, represents different parts of life in Chicago.
This work, by Lady Lucx and Sarah Stewart, represents different parts of life in Chicago.
Rich Hein / Sun-Times

383 E. 47th St.

“Wall of Daydreaming, Man’s Inhumanity to Man” was painted in 1975. While many murals painted around that time have vanished or been destroyed, Mitchell Caton and William Walker’s two-part piece remains. It’s a hodgepodge of figures, symbols and scenes, begging passersby to stop and try to understand it. The Chicago Public Art Group says the mural aimed to express “people’s needs, social ills and community grievances.” Between the standoff between two people with guns and the backwards dollar sign, conflict is central.

This two-part mural by Mitchell Caton and William Walker was installed in 1975.
This two-part mural by Mitchell Caton and William Walker was installed in 1975.
Rich Hein / Sun-Times

1813 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Chicago artist Jeff Zimmermann might have outdone himself with his 2016 mural overlooking The 606 trail. Seemingly disconnected and uncoordinated, Zimmermann wanted this mural to inspire people to “use their imagination and get thinking.” Like many Chicago murals, it plays on neighborhood origins — Zimmermann says the goat at upper left represents Bucktown’s roots, when many residents owned goats.

Jeff Zimmermann’s mural at 1813 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Jeff Zimmermann’s mural at 1813 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Annie Costabile / Sun-Times

140 S. Dearborn St.

Intricate designs and brilliant colors define the mosaics in the lobby of Chicago’s historic Marquette Building in the heart of downtown. The mosaics reflect on the city’s history and the life and death of the Rev. Jacques Marquette, a French priest who explored North America in the 17th century, according to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which owns the building.

The lobby of the Marquette Building is decorated with historic mosaics.
The lobby of the Marquette Building is decorated with historic mosaics.
MacArthur Foundation

4017 N. Sheridan Rd.

Though Matthew Hoffman’s “You Are Beautiful” murals are the artist’s best known, this Uptown mural, “Do More With Less,” shouldn’t be overlooked. It might not draw the eye the way a brightly colored mural does, but it will make you think, communicating a message of making do with what you have.

Matthew Hoffman, well known for his “You Are Beautiful” murals, also did this one, titled “Do More With Less,” at 4017 N. Sheridan Rd.
Matthew Hoffman, well known for his “You Are Beautiful” murals, also did this one, titled “Do More With Less,” at 4017 N. Sheridan Rd.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

1914 W. Chicago Ave.

Artist Ouizi’s technique makes it appear as if the sky-high flowers in “West Town in Bloom” are blooming right off the wall.

Mural called “West Town in Bloom” was painted at 1914 W. Chicago Ave. by the artist who goes by Ouizi.
Mural called “West Town in Bloom” was painted at 1914 W. Chicago Ave. by the artist who goes by Ouizi.
Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

3947 S. Michigan Ave.

Installed in 1979 and restored in 2018, the spectacle of “Another Time’s Voice Remembers My Passion’s Humanity” was painted by Mitchell Caton and Calvin Jones, with luminous hues and understated shadows that define the piece.

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago-area murals

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