Millennium Park

‘The Bean' finally reopens after nearly year-long construction project

Construction began in Aug. 2023 and included a rebuild of the entire platform around the sculpture

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After 10 months of construction, Chicago’s iconic “Bean” sculpture has officially reopened in Millennium Park, the city announced Sunday.

According to officials, the area around “The Bean,” which is officially known as “Cloud Gate,” was reopened to the public Sunday morning after a lengthy construction project that began in August 2023.

“Our team applauds 2FM, the Millennium Park Foundation and everyone else involved in the reopening of this iconic public sculpture that has become a symbol of Chicago across the U.S. and around the world,” Clinée Hedspeth, the commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in a statement.

According to the city, the massive project included a complete rebuild of the podium around the sculpture, with new stairs, accessible ramps and brand new pavers installed around the site. A new waterproofing system was also installed, according to a press release.

Construction around the sculpture began in Aug. 2023, with fencing installed complete with photos of the structure. Originally slated to reopen in April, construction continued as the summer began, with city officials finally revealing earlier this month that they were aiming to reopen “The Bean” to the public by the end of June.

That date has finally arrived, and just in time for a celebration next month of Millennium Park’s 20th anniversary. The four-day event will begin on July 18, and will include concerts, outdoor workout programs and fireworks among other events, according to DCASE officials.

“The Bean” was unveiled to the public in 2004, and a variety of finishing touches were finally installed before the sculpture was formally dedicated in 2006.

According to Anish Kapoor, the sculptor whose design was chosen during the construction of Millenium Park, the design was inspired by liquid mercury. It’s unique shape provides for reflections of the city skyline and also casts altered reflections and even multiple reflections of individuals walking next to and underneath it.

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