Doctoral candidate selected to curate public art project at O’Hare International Airport

Ionit Behar
Ionit Behar

UIC doctoral candidate Ionit Behar has been selected as one of the curators of the Terminal 5 Expansion public art project at O’Hare International Airport — the City of Chicago’s largest single acquisition of works by Chicago artists in the last 30 years.

The project will offer a unique environment for Chicago artists and creative professionals while also providing international visitors a dynamic and welcoming first impression of the city. The terminal is currently under construction, but the project will be opening in phases throughout next year.

“I’ve been living in Chicago for 10 years, closely involved and working with the local arts community, so I feel very honored to be organizing this project, which is really about welcoming people to Chicago, but as an immigrant myself, the airport brings a whole number of emotions, and my hope is to create a space where people will feel seen, embraced and recognized,” said Behar, a Ph.D. candidate in art history.

“I’m happy that now after 10 years of being in the city, I can call this city my home. Part of making this city my home was UIC.”

The project includes a curatorial/design team of Behar and Andrew Schachman, and new large-scale commissions by artists Nelly Agassi, Jonathan Michael Castillo, Assaf Evron, Krista Franklin, Wills Glasspiegel and The Era Footwork Crew, Jenny Kendler, Mayumi Lake, Yvette Mayorga, Cecil McDonald Jr., Ebony G. Patterson, Faheem Majeed, Huong Ngo, Chris Pappan, Cheryl Pope, Edra Soto, Leonard Suryajaya, Selina Trepp, Jina Valentine and Bernard Williams.

“I’m just half of the team, the second part of the team is Andrew Schachman, my dear friend and collaborator for the past few years, and I’m grateful to be working with him in developing this project as well as the incredible Chicago artists that we have selected,” Behar said. “I want to have as many voices presented as possible.”


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