The Runners, a 16-foot sculpture by Dr. Theodoros Papagiannis, was accepted into the Chicago Public Art Collection in a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at O’Hare International Airport. Donated by the Athens Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and supported by Chicago’s large Greek-American community, the work depicts five runners emerging from antiquity into the modern world. Installation began in March 2011 near the airport’s International Terminal.
The sculpture project is part of the International Sculpture Exchange Program, a collaboration among the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture; Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI); Chicago Gateway Green, a non-profit civic organization with the purpose of enhancing Chicago’s expressways, gateways, and neighborhoods,
in cooperation with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).
“This gift represents the large Greek population here in Chicago and demonstrates the long history of friendship, goodwill, and exchange shared between Chicago and its Sister City of Athens,” said Demetrios Kozonis, Chair of the Athens Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. “This is the largest and most expensive project undertaken by a Sister City’s committee, and we’ve been so impressed by the Greek community’s dedication to and passion for this project.”
City of Chicago Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and Special Events Michelle T. Boone said, “This striking sculpture welcomes visitors to Chicago from around the world and demonstrates the strong relationship between Chicago and the Greek-American community.”
CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino stated, ”This compelling new sculpture helps promote Chicago as a world-class city and is a welcome addition to O’Hare’s remarkable artwork collection.”
Veteran newsman Bill Kurtis of CBS2 led the dedication ceremony.
Sculptor Theodoros Papagiannis is a professor at the prestigious School of Fine Arts in Athens. His work is found in many public buildings and places, both in Greece and abroad, as well as in public and private collections, museums, and galleries, including the National Art Gallery, the Vorre Museum, the Pieridis Art Gallery, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Collection of the Cultural Institute of the National Bank, the Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes, the Zurich Opera, among others. He has been awarded numerous prizes for his work.
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