Sentrock: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly

September 9 – January 15, 2023

Group and school tours available again this fall. Learn more.

For an artist-designed coloring page, press links, and more visit our Museum from Home page.

As featured on WTTW, CBS, WGN, NBC, and more (see all press links below) our 25th Anniversary year will culminate in the Fall with the first solo museum show of Pilsen-based street artist Sentrock, who seeks to uplift and empower youth through his murals and educational projects. The multimedia exhibition will feature new work by the rising artist that reveals for the first time the origin story of his distinctive Bird City Saint character, which appears in over 20 prominent murals in Chicago and other cities.

Joseph Perez, best known as “Sentrock,” is a self-taught street artist who creates large-scale, colorful public mural works. He views street art as a gesture of compassion for his community and a powerful form of expression that encapsulates his Mexican American background, upbringing, and history. He developed his work from graffiti writing to his now highly stylized and recognized street art featuring the Bird City Saint character that wears a bird mask. He describes this signature mask as a means of an individual’s personal expression, strength, and hope.

For this exhibition, Sentrock presents a new signature mural in the galleries as well as animated video projections, a ten-foot-tall sculpture, a life-size birdhouse installation, paintings, and works on paper that reveal narratives about the Bird City Saint character, and its origins in the artist’s biography. The exhibition, across numerous galleries, will explore the dreams of a little boy living in an urban environment, the importance of his Mexican-American community, and why the boy has a bird mask.

Sentrock gives back to the Latinx community through various educational and mentor projects with local youth, food, and clothing drives in his neighborhood, and more. His recent projects include collaborations such as a summer youth workshop with Apple, collaborations with the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, plus brand ambassadorships with Chicago Fire, Footlocker, and more. His murals have been commissioned by the City of Chicago, Chicago Design Museum, Chicago Public Libraries, National Geographic, Chicago Fire, and others. More than 20 of his murals appear throughout Chicago, and in other cities such as Detroit, Miami, New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

Dedicated programming will accompany the Sentrock exhibition, including a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, family day workshops, a conversation with the artist, and a special pop-up shop with Sentrock’s limited-edition merchandise. Visit this page for announcements about these events and special Member offers.

Generously sponsored by Wintrust and the Museum’s Development and Programming Committees.