CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT ENDORSES PUBLIC ART DISPLAY OF OVER-SIZED FIRE HYDRANTS TO BENEFIT FALLEN POLICE & FIREFIGHTERS
City-Wide Program To Launch September 11th for Two-Month Display of 5-Foot Fire Hydrants in Downtown Businesses, Parks and Tourism Destinations Before Auction Benefitting the 100 Club of Chicago
August 8, 2013 (CHICAGO)—At a press conference today, officers of the Chicago Fire Department, members of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, and dozens of corporate sponsors and artists gathered to officially announce Chicago’s newest public art display, which will launch on September 11th.
The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants, presented by Wintrust, is a public art exhibition that will celebrate the heroism of Chicago’s firefighters. Scores of artists will decorate 5-foot tall fiberglass fire hydrants sponsored by local businesses. Organizers plan to install 101 hydrants—one for each Chicago firehouse—at private businesses, parks, plazas and tourism destinations from September 11th until November 11th. Following the public exhibition the hydrants will be auctioned to benefit the 100 Club of Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the families of fallen police and firefighters.
Artists representing all skill levels from students to some of the most acclaimed artists in the world are participating. From 12 years of age to 87, each artist is bringing a unique perspective to this city-wide art campaign celebrating “Chicago’s Bravest.” Notable artists include:
- Paul Collins, an internationally renowned artist, who has painted Presidential portraits and designed the Martin Luther King Peace Medal
- Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famers, Sammy Hagar and REO Speedwagon, each of whom have commissioned hydrants
- Bella Quintas, a 12-year old self-taught artist who has twice been a finalist in Google’s national Doodle competition, and who taught herself to paint while her mother was enduring cancer treatment
- Musicians for Lollapalooza who autographed a hydrant backstage during Chicago’s largest concert fest
“Fire hydrants and the water mains to which they are connected are literally the backbone of any city’s fire safety and emergency response system,” says Chicago Fire Department Commissioner, Jose Santiago. “But because they are everywhere, they are easy to over-look. This is a really innovative program that showcases how firefighters work to protect our communities and that it benefits such a great cause as the 100 Club is a great tribute to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for Chicago.”
The program has already secured over 60 sponsors of the over-sized fire hydrants and is expecting more sponsors to sign-up in coming weeks. Wintrust Financial Corporation is the presenting sponsor of the program: “Our sponsorship of The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants campaign is a reflection of our commitment to the communities that we serve and particularly to the heroes who have dedicated their lives to the public service and protection of those communities. If we can help to raise awareness about fire safety for families, we absolutely want to be a part of that,” says Edward Wehmer, CEO of Wintrust Financial Corporation
The 100 Club of Chicago, who recently mourned the death of spokesman and former Chicago Police Officer Dennis Farina, will be the beneficiary of the auction of hydrants hosted by the Hyatt Regency of Chicago. “The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants campaign is going to get people talking,” says Joe Ahern, CEO of the 100 Club of Chicago. “When you see these 5-foot tall monuments to public safety, you are going to instantly think of fire fighters and their dedication to our communities. Sometimes it is easy to forget the sacrifices that these heroes make for us, but I hope these artistic expressions will serve as testament to everyone in our community of how valued our firefighters are to all of us. We are truly honored to be a beneficiary of this program.”
ABOUT THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE HYDRANTS
The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants campaign was created in partnership between Agency 360, LLC and Innovation Ovation, Inc. to raise awareness and funds for fire-related charities and to showcase public arts. For more information, including artist biographies and display locations visit: www.GreatChicagoFireHydrants.com or www.Facebook.com/GreatChicagoFireHydrants.