After spending a year or so in lockdown, Chicagoans are ready to resurface by visiting newly opened venues, from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry. But when it comes to mixing art and science, nothing beats “Astrographics” — especially for those who really want to get away.

Art on theMART’s world premiere projection provides the ultimate escape as the 16-minute journey transports viewers to other planets, stars, and deeper realms. Developed in collaboration with the Adler Planetarium and presented in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, “Astrographics” explores the ways humans have envisioned the universe over time to artistically highlight both historic and current perceptions of space.

The visuals in “Astrographics” are based on data from the Adler’s collections, which include pictures of a black hole that were first recorded in 2019. “Advances in space exploration have provided many exciting images which are scientifically important and also visually beautiful,” says Dr. Andrew K. Johnston, the Adler’s vice president of Museum Experience and Collections.

“We are excited for this opportunity to showcase the connections between science and the visual art,” continues Johnston. “It provides the Adler Planetarium a unique opportunity to remind the public of these connections, blending art and science to introduce new audiences to discover the wonders of the cosmos.”

“Astrographics” is broken into four movements — Earth, Other Worlds, Stars and Beyond — which are linked together by music from the Sun Ra Arkestra archives via the Experimental Sound Studio.

“As a significant public art platform, Art on theMART amplifies the work of our key cultural collaborators like the Adler Planetarium and builds upon our strong partnership track record,” adds Cynthia Noble, executive director for Art on theMART.

A projected exhibition entitled “Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021” featuring graphics by graduating Chicago Public Schools (CPS) seniors will accompany “Astrographics” from May 20 through July 4.

“We are thrilled by this opportunity for our students to have their artwork exhibited as a part of this highly-regarded public art program,” says Julia deBettencourt, executive director of Arts Education for Chicago Public Schools.

Featured students include Henry De Luca (Disney II Magnet High School), Emily Diaz (Insituto Health Science Career Academy), Jason Acevedo (Aspira Early College), Kendall Rasco (Little Black Pearl High School), Yoselin Mata (Schurz High School), Elijah Roberson (Morgan Park High School) and Victoria Mak (Ogden International School).

“We are so impressed by these talented young artists and we are honored to showcase their work. This partnership with CPS has been a joy and we are so excited to see it flourish,” notes Noble.

In total, the free program features 30 minutes of projections, and is shown nightly at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. at Art on theMART. The show can best be experienced from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street, where accompanying audio is available. Current social distancing practices, based on recommendations from the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, must be observed.


Top image: “Astrographics” from The Adler Planetarium, courtesy of Art on theMART.

Middle Image:“Dance to Survive” by Emily Diaz of Insituto Health Science Career Academy, courtesy of Art on theMART.

Ms. Arvia is a Rebellious columnist and movie critic; entertainment ghostwriter; award-winning artist; and grant-winning filmmaker.