In 1971, a group of artists concerned with the relationship of art to society formed the Chicago Mural Group, later renamed the Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG). The founding mission was to establish creative partnerships between artists and communities in an effort to transform and enhance the lives of residents in urban Chicago neighborhoods. Over three decades, what began as a mural-based cooperative broadened to include mosaics, sculpture, landscape design, and sponsorship of workshops and symposia.
Chicago Public Art Group's Board of Directors set policy and oversee its implementation. 20 Core Artists form a subcommittee of the Board to guide artistic development and to mentor new artists. The Senior Artist Circle of CPAG advises the Executive Director on decisions regarding program development, project implementation, personnel, and funding.
Chicago Public Art Group has produced public art projects with neighborhood groups, community development organizations, churches, schools, and social service agencies. Cosponsors have also included the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, and the Chicago Park District.
Chicago Public Art Group has produced hundreds of public art projects in Chicago area neighborhoods. CPAG projects combine legibility, accessibility, craftsmanship, and artistry to create monuments to local history, identity, values, and concerns. CPAG works responsively with planners, designers, organizers, youth, and adult residents to produce projects that are long lasting and beautiful. CPAG grounds planning in the social and spiritual needs of the community and in the physical world of appropriate materials, ease of maintenance, and functional design.