Where Have They Gone, Georges?

You’ve been thinking about your Sunday trip to the Art Institute of Chicago all week, dreaming about the calming effects a quiet stroll through the galleries will have on you after another long and hectic work week.

Finally, the day arrives. You know exactly where you’re headed first: Second Floor, Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture collection, Gallery 240. There, directly across from a small set of stairs, hangs the beautiful impressionistic piece, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte– 1884, by the painter Georges Seurat. You aren’t exactly sure what it is about this piece that catches you, but there’s definitely something miraculous in the way it was constructed with so many little dots that blur when you stand close, but form the shapes of people, umbrellas, dogs, the Seine River, from a distance.

You enter the Art Institute and to your confusion discover the painting has been moved. But not only that, something’s off about it. It doesn’t look complete. You move closer. Yes, many of the key figures are missing! You’re not the only one to notice the change. Visitors slowly gather around the painting and the room fills with whispers.

A few minutes later, you’re shocked out of your reverie as a group of costumed people enter the room and burst into song. And then it hits you. You’d heard that the Chicago Shakespeare Theater was bringing the Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning musical to Navy Pier so these must be the missing figures from the painting, migrated from the painting to real life, and soon to the theater!

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 16, this special painting, missing many of its famous faces, will be on display at the Art Institute. In addition to creating buzz about Sunday in the Park with George at Navy Pier, the faux painting is also for a great cause! It will be auctioned off to raise money for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Team Shakespeare, one of the country’s largest arts education programs, serving about 50,000 students and 1,500 educators each year. And never fear, the original painting is safe in storage and will soon rejoin the faithful company of the other occupants in Gallery 240.

Sunday in the Park with George runs September 26- November 4 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,80.

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