Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Kansas

The art on display at the Overland Park Convention Center, including 76 pieces from artists all over the Midwest, was collected over a two-year period during which hundreds of works were reviewed based on their ability to welcome and inform out-of-towners.

“The collection purposely provides an immersive cultural experience, offering guests to the convention center a sense of self within the community and the opportunity to learn more about the area without having to go far,” said Britaney Wehrmeister, the venue’s marketing manager.

During a self-guided tour, available via any smartphone or tablet, attendees will see pieces including Kansas Journeys: Both the Practical, and the Impractical, a 12-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture depicting everything from crop dusters to highway travel.

“With outside groups experiencing the art exclusively through tours and clients incorporating teambuilding exercises into their events, the collection has added its own unique selling point to the venue,” Wehrmeister said.

She added the focal point of the convention center, its icon tower, is a community icon that’s consistently used in an artistic way to support in-house events or community successes by changing its color.

“For example, to support one of our clients, the tower is turned pink for breast cancer awareness month,” she said. “The tower is also unique in that its interior is filled with a beautiful, blown glass sculpture titled Growth, adding a dual effect for guests whether they are inside or outside of the building.”

McCormick Place, Chicago

By design, the public art at McCormick Place is noticeable but also camouflaged into the overall aesthetic of the building, which according to General Manager David Causton, allows the venue to serve its primary intended purpose as a flexible event venue.

“The art collection was designed to enhance the overall architecture of the facility and make the experience a bit more welcoming and inspiring to visitors from around the world,” he said. 

The works housed here are by Chicago and Illinois artists as well as renowned names including Magdalena Abakanowicz and Kerry James Marshall.

“Probably one of the most striking and noticeable pieces is dangling in the McCormick Place South Building, a large blown glass on a steel armature interpretation by artist Dale Chihuly,” Causton said.

Planners are encouraged to advise attendees that the art collection here is mapped out in a new app titled MARTY by McCormick Square.   

During a self-guided tour attendees will see various works, including a unique piece that features dangling Chicago souvenirs that’s located in a prefunction space in McCormick Place West. 

“It’s quite a fun and unique experience that adds to the atmosphere as visitors walk down the corridor to reveal this piece,” Causton said.

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia

The Pennsylvania Convention Center recently added to its original $2 million art collection when it unveiled a $1.5 million investment in works created by Pennsylvania artists that were selected through a highly selective juried competition.

“This collection, which debuted earlier this year as part of our building’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, offers conventioneers a refreshing break between their meeting sessions,” said John J. McNichol, the venue’s president and CEO. “I believe this newly installed artwork brings added dimension, life and color to the newest wing of our facility.” 

Because every attendee has a personal schedule when meeting here, some hectic and some relaxed, the convention center offers self-guided tours during which attendees can learn about the artworks via descriptive plaques including artist info and year created.

“These plaques allow for a more personal interaction by our guests on their own schedules,” McNichol said.

Philadelphia-specific pieces in the collection include Schuylkill Reflections #2, a collage, and Coming Home, a 350-square-foot textile installation based on descriptions by Philadelphia residents of their childhood homes.