For immediate release
Chicago, IL - February 13, 2023
Join WTTW’s award-winning host and producer Geoffrey Baer on an adventure to explore THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN CHICAGO premiering Tuesday, March 7 at 7:00 pm on WTTW and streaming on wttw.com/beautifulplaces and the PBS app. Meet the creators and enthusiasts who tell the stories of how these innovative and uniquely magnificent spaces and places across the many neighborhoods of Chicago came to be, why they are meaningful to the people who live and work nearby, and why we should all know their histories.
- Architect Jeanne Gang reveals the origins of her stunning St. Regis Chicago tower, and Geoffrey tours its highest residential unit in the city;
- Landscape architect Ernie Wong takes us to Bridgeport’s Palmisano Park, formerly the site of a quarry; and then to Chinatown’s Ping Tom Park where Wong explored his own roots;
- Architect Juan Gabriel Moreno proudly shows us his dramatic “El Centro” alongside the Kennedy Expressway in Avondale, which offers a college education to immigrants
- We marvel at the vast, ever-changing “Art on theMART” digital installation, and renowned artist Nick Cave reveals the sobering story behind his playful “soundsuits” that were displayed on the Merchandise Mart;
- “Guerilla” artist and former steel worker Roman Villarreal displays the sculpture he created to remind us of the vanished steel mill once so meaningful to his neighborhood;
- Tribune Tower lobby greeter Melissa Hubert-Daigre shares inspiring quotes about free speech etched into the Tower’s “Hall of Inscriptions”;
- We discover the world’s largest Tiffany mosaic, high above the cosmetics counters in the downtown Macy’s store, once Marshall Field’s;
- Geoffrey explores the often-overlooked ornament on skyscrapers, including the Manhattan Building’s ghoulish gargoyles and Louis Sullivan’s entryway to the former Carson Pirie Scott State Street store;
- We venture to the Rookery building’s Light Court in Chicago’s Loop, and learn about its connection with Frank Lloyd Wright;
- We visit the South Shore Cultural Center, where Barack and Michelle Obama held their wedding reception;
- And travel to sacred spaces including the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett and Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Unity Temple in Oak Park.
“This show is unlike any I’ve done before," said Geoffrey Baer. “I thought I was after visual beauty alone. But meeting the people connected with these places and hearing their stories took the beauty to a deeper, emotional level – capturing this for our viewers was unforgettable.”
“As it extends our mission to produce and present trusted, best-in-class content fueled by a distinctly Chicago sensibility, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN CHICAGO reintroduces us to the treasures in the many neighborhoods of our city by sharing the history and meaning behind them,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, President and CEO of WTTW.
The companion website (wttw.com/beautifulplaces) includes a colorful photo collage of more than 25 places – architectural marvels, parks, sacred spaces, public art, and more – with capsule descriptions and fun facts about each; Geoffrey’s exclusive audio tour of some of his favorite beautiful places, customizable for anyone who wants to join him; a web-extra video where viewers can meet Chicago’s mermaid sculpture and the artist behind its once-mysterious origins; and a place for viewers to submit their own picks for most beautiful places.
Geoffrey Baer is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning public television writer, producer, and program host. Known for feature-length programs about the architecture and history of Chicago, including most recently Chicago by ‘L’, The Great Chicago Quiz Show, and Beyond Chicago from the Air, he also hosted the PBS series 10 that Changed America about the built environment across the country. Geoffrey has been a docent for the Chicago Architecture Center since 1987 and has been honored by the American Institute of Architects Chicago, the Society of Architectural Historians, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Chicago Headline Club.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN CHICAGO is produced by Bridget Sarno and hosted and written by Geoffrey Baer. Director of Photography: Oral Berat User. Editor: Jeff Landsman. Executive Producer: Geoffrey Baer. The website is produced by Meredith Francis; designed and developed by Justin Henderson; and executive produced by Anne Gleason.
Lead support for THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN CHICAGO is provided by The Negaunee Foundation. Lead corporate support is provided by BMO. Major support is provided by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation; the Sue Ling Gin Foundation Trust Fund; Matt and Joyce Walsh; the Susan and Stephen Baird Family Foundation; ITW; and Strategic Growth; Transformation Partners, LLC; and other generous sponsors. (As of 2/13/23)
WTTW is the PBS member station in Chicago, committed to creating and presenting unique media content across distinct television and digital channels – WTTW, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create, WTTW World, WTTW PBS Kids 24/7, wttw.com, and the PBS/WTTW video app. Recognized for award-winning journalism and local productions – such as CHICAGO TONIGHT, BLACK AND LATINO VOICES, CHICAGO STORIES, FIRSTHAND, BEYOND CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, and CHICAGO BY ‘L – WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s public media content. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.