THE LOOP — The Chicago Pedway leg that runs underground next to Macy's got a little brighter this week with the installation of 22 American Victorian stained glass window displays.
Backlit glass artwork — created between 1880 and 1910 for homes and public buildings in Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere across the U.S. — will be permanently displayed in the stretch of pedway below Randolph Street between Wabash Avenue and State Street.
Wrigleyville Sports and Macy's subterranean Starbucks have a clear view of the exhibit, which is also next to Infield's, the pub on the store's lower level.
The showcase is the result of a joint effort between Macy's, the Chicago Cultural Mile Association and Navy Pier's Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
Construction crews working on the windows Friday morning said installation would be complete by the end of the day. A news conference is planned for Monday
"This exhibit is pioneering because the profound originality of American Victorian nonreligious stained glass windows has not been recognized by art scholars or the public,'' a sign near the display reads.
Rolf Achilles, curator of the Smith Museum, said the exhibit also showcases an art form that was open to women, something unsual at the turn of the century.
“Socially, American stained glass studios were among the first to be progressive in the advancement of women," Achilles said in a written statement. "Numerous women had significant careers in late 19th and early 20th century American stained glass. This early leadership is only now beginning to be understood.”
Cheryl Jenkins, 46, a hospital contractor who works in the Loop and uses the pedway to commute during the winter, said the windows reminded her of the Navy Pier museum and were a welcome addition to the tunnels.
"This whole area has been the same for the past few years," she said. "It's kind of nice to have a change."
The windows complement the 6,000-square-foot mosaic ceiling inside Macy's that was installed by Victorian American stained glass pioneer Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1892.