Grab a Chair: Chicago Cubs Centennial Seats

If you’ve spent any time on Michigan Avenue this summer, you’ve seen these chairs.

There are 50 in total, relics of 100 years of Chicago history, captured creativity by 47 local nonprofit art groups, celebrities and professional artists.

Cubs Charities launched its Centennial Seats project last month, lining Magnificent Mile with these colorful, custom-made Wrigley Field seats to commemorate the stadium’s 100th birthday.

“All of us in the front office were planning what might take place to celebrate Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday,” says Connie Falcone, Vice President of Development for Cubs Charities. “One of the things we realized is that the history of Wrigley Field is really diverse. People assume it’s Cubs baseball history, but so much more has happened there.”

Each Centennial Seat has been painted to celebrate a specific moment in time at the Friendly Confines, from Babe Ruth’s called shot to the iconic scoreboard installation to the filming of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“Installation of Marquee” by The Maryville Children’s Healthcare Center & Crisis Nursery

“The one that I love is the Sam Snead golf-ball shot,” says Falcone. “No baseball player has ever been able to hit the center field score board—the iconic score board installed in 1937. The only person to ever hit that scoreboard was Sam Snead, the golfer, when he took a shot off of home plate. I think that’s a really fun, great trivia question, something completely historic and unique that happened at Wrigley. And the chair (designed by ElevArte Community Studio) is pretty cool, too.”

And for any Cubs fan—art buffs, sports fanatics, history geeks and lifelong Chicagoans alike—Cubs Charities has made it easy to own a piece of the stadium’s storied past. These unique works of art are on auction through August 10, and all proceeds from their sale go to support nonprofit efforts throughout Chicago. For Centennial Seats created in partnership with a local nonprofit, proceeds will be split evenly between Cubs Charities and the designing nonprofit; for those created by celebrities and professional artists, 100 percent of the proceeds goes to Cubs Charities outreach and grant efforts.

Wrigley remains a Chicago landmark, and her birthday celebration has drawn participation from some of Chicago’s most beloved natives and nonprofit organizations. From actors Vince Vaughn and Gary Sinise and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to BUILD Chicago and Advocate Children’s Hospital, the designing artists represent Chicago in 2014, a terrific way to honor a millennium of history.

“Fergie Jenkins Number Retirement” by La Rabida Children’s Hospital. 

“A lot of the artists are kids from all over the city,” Falcone says. “To see the pride they have in seeing their artwork on Michigan Avenue, and the pure joy they have in seeing people interact with their projects—it really authenticates the hard work they’ve been doing.”

Proceeds from the chairs will benefit, in part, Cubs Charities to fund both their current projects and the grants they make to nearly 40 different nonprofits throughout the city. Cubs Charities’ current projects include the Cubs Scholars program, which supports five high-school juniors annually; the Cubs on the Move Fitness Trolley, which brings fitness into inner city communities in May and July to encourage “Play Every Day”; and the Cubs Charities Diamond Project, a field construction and renovation fund.

“The First Game” by South Chicago Art Center.

Wrigley Field’s Centennial Celebration won’t end August 10, when the online auction for the seats closes. Until the end of the season, every day at the stadium is a celebration; each homestand reflects a different decade, with promotional items, food and Sunday throwback uniforms appropriate to the period.

There are even more ways to give back to Cubs Charities. For a full list of opportunities, including fantasy experiences, marquee and scoreboard messages and even proposal packages, visit the Cubs Charities website.

“Concerts” by Chicago Sculpture Exhibit.

Top right photo: “Chicago Cubs Hall of Famers” by Nicolosi.