Flight of Butterflies


Introducing the Flight of Butterflies! This city-wide exhibit merges nature, art, and story telling, creating a memorable experience for all in Chicago. Local artists adorn butterfly sculptures with original designs, expressing their unique connections to nature.

Each butterfly is a testament to the artist, their journey, and their connection to nature, and this project uniquely intertwines artistic expression with a call to action for wildlife conservation.

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Time of Year
April 2024 – September 2025
Through July - On Nature Museum Grounds

We’re creating a platform to inspire, support, and amplify nature champions across our city, and it all begins with the Flight of Butterflies. Be sure to stop by the Nature Museum to be inspired by these incredible pieces. The kaleidoscope of breathtaking structures have “landed” at the Nature Museum before dispersing to locations across the city this summer, including The Magnificent Mile® and the Chicago Park District Natural Areas

This project amplifies our institutional mission to create positive connections between people and nature, and illuminates our vital conservation stories. We support global conservation of tropical butterfly habitats through partnerships with butterfly farms through the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. We're also conservation leaders working with locally imperiled butterfly species and locally imperiled reptiles and amphibians within our walls. We are proud leaders in multiple community science initiatives, including the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network, the Illinois Odonate Survey, and the Calling Frog Survey. As proud stewards of our environment and local communities, we invite you to join us as nature champions driven by inspiration, action, and curiosity.

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Check out the map to see where each butterfly will land beginning this summer!

Meet the Artists

Alice Hargrave Headshot SM Alice Hargrave

Alice Hargrave is a photo based artist who incorporates sound, video, and photographic imagery within layered site specific installations addressing impermanence: environmental insecurity, habitat loss, and species extinctions. The Canary in the Lake exhibition and monograph revisualizes climate related data from lakes on all seven continents. Hargrave collaborated with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to create her widely-exhibited project Last Calls, which features portraits of threatened birds using sound wave patterns of their vocalizations in the wild. In addition, the bird call patterns are translated into “Haute Couture” garments by Dovima Paris where profits directly benefit the birds. Hargrave is pursuing conservation work and climate activism through her artwork — putting the work to work is her modus operandi.

Ariee LVL3 Info

Ariée (also known as Aria Carter) has a singular vision for fashion and passion! Her artwork is rife with haute couture references interspersed with youthful, pop culture iconography. Her compositions construct narratives around this unexpected juxtaposition of high and low-brow cultural fixtures. Ariée skillfully balances compositions, exercising restraint to preserve and craft thoughtful negative space that accentuates her designs. An undeniable playfulness manifests in vivid colors and functionally counterbalances the seductiveness of her imagery. In 2018, Ariée joined Arts of Life, a nonprofit that advances the creative arts community by providing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities a collective space to expand their practice and strengthen their leadership.

IMG 20230603 215535 401 Azadeh Hussaini

Azadeh Hussaini is an interdisciplinary artist and art educator based in Chicago, with Iranian-American roots. She holds an MFA in Non-figurative Painting from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a BFA in Painting from Azad Art University in Tehran. Her art encompasses various disciplines such as drawing, sculpture, installation, painting, and sound. Her work delves into her emotional responses to personal experiences while simultaneously exploring fundamental primal desires within the human condition. Hussaini's aspiration is to unearth commonalities among individuals while creating platforms for social discourse and empowerment.

Candace garden pic Candace Hunter

Candace Hunter (chlee) is a Chicago-based artist who creates collage, paintings, installations and performance art. She tells stories. Through the use of appropriated materials from magazines, vintage maps, cloth, and a variety of re-used materials, she offers this new landscape back to the viewer with a glimpse of history and admiration of the beautiful. Most recently, chlee has created a large-scale immersive exhibition at the Hyde Park Art center titled, “The Alien-nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler”, combining collage, large scale painting, a sculptural element, reading room and video. A highly respected artist in the Midwest, chlee has received multiple awards and was a featured speaker at the Midwest Women in Ecology Conference in 2019.

IMG 6205 Cydney Lewis

Cydney Lewis is a Chicago-based multimedia artist with a distinguished multidisciplinary background. She began in architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, where she received a BS in Architectural Studies; she also attended the L’École D’architecture de Versailles, France. The fluidity of her ability to transform materials reflects her mastery of ballet as well as her endeavors in film. Her art is held in private collections around the world and has been exhibited widely. She has received various honors, among them a residency with Chicago Public Schools, as well as various awards, including the Black Creativity/Green Art Award from the Museum of Science and Industry.


Englewood Arts Collective is a group of artists with deep roots to the Greater Englewood, Chicago neighborhood. They are passionate about representing, amplifying, and supporting other artists and creative engagements that uplift the Greater Englewood area and other communities demographically similar to it. EAC works to represent the multi-dimensional artistry, talent and pool of ready-to-work-and-uplift creatives, especially Black creatives, that exist on the South Side of Chicago. EAC uses the Arts as a conduit for transformation and healing. EAC is the only arts organization composed entirely of people who are from Englewood and still work with entities in and from that community. EAC also serves to counter negative impressions of the community by representing their roots to Englewood in all their individual efforts and accomplishments.

Alisa head shot 9 22 Alisa Singer

Alisa Singer is the creator of Environmental Graphiti – The Art of Climate Change, a collection of over 100 digital paintings, each of which is derived from a graph, chart, map, word or number reflecting a key aspect of climate science. Her work arises from the intersection of art and science, with art serving as a gateway to entice people into the room - first to see the art and then to explore the science. She believes art can be a unique and powerful tool to enhance the public’s understanding of the science of climate change. Singer’s art raises questions scientific, political, and ethical in nature, including issues such as climate injustice and invites people of all backgrounds into the conversation to begin the critical discussion about what is happening to our planet, and to the plant and animal species that share it with us. Her art has been extensively exhibited in the US and other parts of the world and has been featured on the covers of three recent major UN climate reports.

Duarte headshot credit luis huerta hernandez 1 HECTOR DUARTE

Hector Duarte was born in Caurio, Michoacán, Mexico, and studied mural painting at the workshop of David Alfaro Siqueiros. Since moving to Chicago in 1985, Duarte has participated in the creation of more than 50 murals. He has exhibited his paintings and prints in solo and collective shows at such venues as the National Museum of Mexican Art, and participated in the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as an invited muralist. Duarte has received a number of awards, including a 2008 Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council, and the Artistic Production Award from the Secretary of Culture of the state of Michoacán in 2005 and 2007.

Ignite logo

"At Ignite Studios in Chicago, we believe glass has the power to inspire and transform a room, a person, a community."

Ignite Glass Studios is a state of the art glass facility and event space located in Chicago's West Loop. They specialize in one of a kind artwork created by our glassblowers, high quality custom glassware for restaurants and distinctive installations for homes and businesses. We also offer interactive and educational glassblowing experiences and memorable events. We support a thriving glass community where artists can create and collaborate, novices can experiment and learn, and young people's lives are transformed by the power of this dynamic art form.

Headshot 7 Isaac Couch

Originally from Western Kentucky, where corn is farmed and coal is mined, Isaac Couch has brought his southern perspective to the northern city of Chicago where he lives and works. After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Merchandising Apparel and Textiles in 2019 from the University of Kentucky, he went on to earn his Master’s of Design at SAIC in 2021. He is currently the 2023-24 Arts Club of Chicago Fellow. He has shown work with the Weinberg Newton Gallery, the Lexington Art League, the Comfort Station, and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Using the most effective techniques and strategies he’s learned from his own college experience, he's been keeping himself busy and informed through the fashion course he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Headshot 1 James Jankowiak

James Jankowiak is a Chicago-born artist and educator. His current paintings and installation focuses on the role of color and familiar form as a means of communication in our day to day environment. His emotive abstract paintings and public artworks explore the intersections between color perception, visual rhythm, spirituality, and music. Jankowiak has utilized his painting practice as a vehicle for social engagement with Chicago communities as a teaching artist embedded in Chicago Public Schools. Jankowiak integrates contemporary art into a social and emotional learning model for students and teachers alike, using accessible, collaborative art practices, focusing on the process of making public works in public spaces.

Martins headshot jordan Martins

Jordan Martins is a Chicago based visual artist, curator, and educator. He received his MFA in visual arts from the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) in Salvador, Brazil in 2007, and is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and North Park University. He is the executive director of Comfort Station, a multi-disciplinary art space in Chicago. Martins’ visual work is based in collage processes, including painting, photography, video and installation, and he has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has been featured in exhibitions at Goldfinch, The Mission, Evanston Art Center, LVL3, The Franklin, The Museu de Arte da Bahia, Zeitgeist, and Experimental Sound Studio.

DSC 1272 Kahari Blackburn

Kahari Blackburn is a Chicago-born and based visual artist and educator who loves both analog and digital visual mediums. He works with paper collage and simple flat round children's book style illustration. He is part of the Mural Moves Paint crew, which has designed and installed many large scale murals all over Chicago, and an active part of Natty Bwoy Bikes & Boards, a free weekly youth program that leads and teaches skateboarding and basic bicycle mechanics to kids on the South Side.

Leo Headshot 2023 Leonard Suryajaya

Leonard Suryajaya uses his work to test the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family. He uses photography, video, performance, and installation to show how the everyday is layered with histories, meanings and potential. He received his BFA from California State University, Fullerton, and his MFA, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in various venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago. In addition, his work is included in collections across the country and has received multiple awards, including the DCASE Esteemed Artist Award.

Headshot 2 1 Liz Flores Art

Liz Flores is a Chicago-based painter and muralist deeply influenced by the everyday human experience, storytelling, and the female body. Working primarily with acrylic paint on canvas, her work is a representation of the human condition through lines, shapes, and abstract figures. It’s a reaction to life, an emotion, or a memory and is driven by her interests in community, womanhood, and Latinidad. While the women in her paintings are influenced by her experiences, they remain ambiguous in face and form, giving the viewer the opportunity to see themselves. Painting has always been her way of understanding herself; and for viewers, she hopes that her work can spark self-reflection in their own life.

IMG 1077 Luis De La Torre

Luis DeLaTorre is a visual artist living, working, and raising his brilliantly creative daughter in Chicago. He attended the American Academy of Art where he studied painting under Irving Shapiro. His work is concerned with patterns both on and off the canvas and celebrates the ephemeral nature of our existence. He has participated in exhibitions throughout the United States and Mexico, and has participated in the various architectural restoration projects including decorated ceiling murals in the Illinois state capitol building. DeLaTorre has committed to conveying his many skills and experiences to the youth of his community by leading visual art workshops and residencies within CPS through various organizations, including ElevArte.

DSC2794 Maria Burundarena

Maria Burundarena was born in Paris, France, and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Currently based in Chicago, Burundarena is a visual artist and educator who has developed work as a textile designer and photographer printing different narratives in diverse objects and environments, such as garments, sculptures, installations, and LED screens. Her work has been exhibited across the US and is currently focused on installations using large scale printed images, light projection, and reflective materials. Maria received her BFA in Fashion Design from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently a Lecturer in the Contemporary Practices Department.

Martha Osornio Ruiz Kimeco Roberson

Based in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Marwen exists to educate and inspire young people to nurture their growth and build their futures through art and community. The Lab Residency is a year-long program (running September-December and January-May) that fosters a community of young artists developing independently-driven projects. In every course, a group of Chicago artists in 10th through 12th grade meet weekly with a team of mentor artists, culminating in a public exhibition within their galleries to celebrate not only the student, but also their process and unique expression as an artist.

Mayumi Lake headshot Mayumi Lake

Born in Osaka, Japan, Mayumi Lake is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, whose work explores the ideas of time, memory, and floating between the real and imaginary. She incorporates photography, sculpture, sound, moving images, and installation to expand her narrative into more complex layers. Mayumi has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Art Institute of Chicago, Asia Society, DCASE/City of Chicago, Video Art World, Joy of Giving Something Foundation, and Facebook. She has published two monographs, “Poo-Chi” and “Ex Post Facto,” from Nazraeli Press. Mayumi received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

6 F89509 D 515 F 4 BD6 835 C 8304 C90894 C4 Melanie Vazquez

Melanie Vazquez is a Mexican-American artist from Posen, Illinois. Through her work, Melanie practices the preservation of Mexican identity by painting what she knows. She explores themes of belonging, identity, and nostalgia within Mexican-American culture. Vibrant colors, symbolism, personal experiences, and Mexican imagery are often used in her work.

Moises Salazar Gracias a la Vida 6 moises salazar

Moises Salazar Tlatenchi is a non-binary artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Tlatenchi holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at WOAW Gallery and the Chicago Cultural Center. Tlatenchi has been focused on conceptual and installation-based work. Their presentation Let’s get Physical facilitated by Filo Sofi Arts was included in HEARSAY:HERESY Spring Break Art Show to much critical acclaim. Most recently, Tlatenchi has been named one of the 2023 Breakout Artists : Chicago’s Next Generation of Image Makers.

IMG 8888 Negwes White

Negwes White enjoys sharing his indigenous culture and its values with the world. His art is his medicine and is how he heals personally. By sharing his gifts, he also helps others. He loves fine art and trying all different types of mediums. White is also a storyteller and does spoken word poetry.

IMG 3676 Nnenna Okore

Nnenna Okore (PhD) is a Professor at Chicago’s North Park University. Straddling art, research, and teaching, Okore engages ecological problems through her arts-based participatory practice. As an internationally acclaimed artist, Okore has been involved in numerous environmental art projects and exhibitions designed to produce research, dialogue, and artmaking about current waste issues. Largely deriving inspiration from her natural surroundings, Okore creates delicate works of art using biodegradable materials like bioplastics to engender awareness about sustainable practices in the art field. Okore has a BA from the University of Nigeria, MA and MFA from the University of Iowa, and a PhD from Monash University, and has received numerous national and international awards.

Olya Salimova Feb2024 10 cut Olga Salimova

Olya Salimova is a Russian-American artist working in Chicago. She creates sculpture, painting, and performance. Her work engages with beeswax and circles around bee metaphors and observations – a bee as a laborer, a bee as a member of a hive society, a bee as a living organism whose body is her own tool. Material combinations and manipulations, their reuse, experimentation and transformation describe the techniques and approaches of her art making. She is inspired by abandoned practices – crafts and (hi)stories such as wild-hive beekeeping, wax-working, folklore and rituals; but also her personal history that defines her as a woman, an immigrant, and a very resourceful person.

121057727 10158678095737744 633652323507631996 n Rahmaan Statik

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, surrounded by urban art and public murals, Rahmaan Statik became inspired to be involved with the subculture of Street Art. A consequent arrest for “vandalism” put him on a mission to legitimize the production of aerosol murals. This became the main focus of his work: public murals that fuse the graffiti aesthetic with a classical training received from the American Academy of Art. Statik has produced over 400 murals, and also creates art for gallery exhibitions using oil, acrylic, graphite, pen & ink, pastels, mosaic tile, found objects, spray paint and digital media. Through the Chicago Public Art Group, as well as After School Matters, he has instructed children in mural painting techniques, as well as mentored young artists in their craft. In addition to his mural and teaching career, Statik.

Red L Ine Service new logo 1 Most recent Rhoda Rosen

Led by people with a lived experience of homelessness, Red Line Service wields art world resources to build community, generating the sense of belonging and mutual care essential to securing and retaining housing. They collaborate with artists and cultural institutions to expand access to the art world, avowing that art can break the bonds of ingrained social roles and structures and forge new realities in which all can flourish.

Gitwit bw Rubén Aguirre

Born in Chicago, Rubén Aguirre is driven by drawing attention to underutilized infrastructure as a potential substrate. He has produced a number of murals in the Chicago area, across the US, and abroad. Aguirre's work is an intersection of graffiti, abstraction, formalism, and muralism. With forms inspired by typography, geographical terrain, and the human body, Rubén's compositions organically build a visual language often referencing the socio-historical background of each site location. He has exhibited at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, and in 2022 was awarded the Helen and Tim Meier Foundation achievement award. His work has been covered by Art News and the Atlantic. Aguirre’s public works have been commissioned for clients such as the City of Chicago, Google, Adidas, LinkedIn, Starbucks, and others.

Andrade Headshot Salvador Andrade

Salvador Andrade Arévalo was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in the Chicagoland area. He is a trained printmaker that works primarily in painting, drawing, and installation. He received both his BA and MFA from Yale University in Painting & Printmaking. He has held residencies and fellowships with Fulbright (Mexico City), SOMA Summer, Yale University Art Gallery, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Spudnik Press, and Chicago Artists Coalition (BOLT). In addition, he has been commissioned by JP Morgan Chase for a large-scale public art project in NYC; and his artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Willis Tower and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Headshot2022 william estrada 1

William Estrada grew up in California, Mexico, and Chicago. His teaching and art-making practice focus on addressing inequity, migration, historical passivity, and cultural recognition in historically marginalized communities. He documents and engages experiences in public spaces to transform, question, and make connections to established and organic systems through discussion, creation, and amplification of stories through creativity already present. His art and teaching are a collaborative discourse of existing images, text, and politics that appoints the audience to critically re-examine public and private spaces. As a teacher, artist, and cultural worker, Estrada’s current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces to collectively imagine just futures.

Yvette Mayorga 20220927 038 copy Yvette Mayorga

Yvette Mayorga is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Her work links feminized labor and the aesthetics of celebration to colonial art history and racialized oppression through the guise of using pink as a weapon of mass destruction. Mayorga holds an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mayorga's work has been exhibited at the Momentary, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Currently, Mayorga is working on a large-scale installation for the City of Chicago’s permanent public art collection at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5.

We gratefully acknowledge and thank:

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Flight of Butterflies is made possible by generous support from

Tullman Community Ventures

thanks to flight of butterflies location partners

Chicago Park District
Magnificent Mile Association

Additional thanks to

CNL Projects
Ignite Glass Studios
ChiLab Studio
Sydney Gush, Syd G. Art LLC

Additional support for this website provided by

The Brinson Foundation

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Mag mile

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