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$100,000 In New Public Art To Be Installed In 48th Ward In 2017

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Southside’s Wall of Respect

The City of Chicago has officially declared 2017 the “Year of Public Art.” Area communities will see many new initiatives including a new 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project, the creation of a Public Art Youth Corps, a new Public Art Festival, exhibitions, performances, tours and more.

Throughout 2017, the artist-led community projects will represent a $1.5 million investment in creative resources. Alderman Harry Osterman’s office announced that the 48th Ward will see a $100,000 permanent public art investment in the community this year.

According to the City of Chicago, Aldermen may dedicate up to $10,000 of their menu funds to finance permanent public art installations in their wards. Those funds will be matched dollar for dollar to provide up to $1 million for new public art projects across all 50 wards.

Osterman is planning to invest even more into the initiative. He said, “I have also brought together the SSAs of Uptown, Andersonville and Edgewater, and collectively we will invest close to $100,000 throughout the neighborhood on public art.”

The Alderman’s office has started to assemble a small committee of people to help decide where the public art will go and what types of artwork will be displayed. With the area’s various streets, schools and lakefront, there is a lot of opportunity for public art to be spread throughout the community. We will most likley see the artwork popping up this Summer and Fall.

“I look at this program as a continuation of what has been done in the community in recent years,” said Osterman. “We think it is the perfect opportunity to help enhance and showcase our neighborhood. It is also a way to engage local artists to take advantage of the program and produce new public art.”

The “Year of Public Art” project was inspired by the 50th anniversary of two Chicago art landmarks, Daley Plaza’s Picasso and the lesser known Wall Of Respect which was a mural painted on the side of a building at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue on the South Side. That mural, which depicted black heroes of the civil rights movement, was destroyed by fire in 1971 but remains a strong influence on community mural movements throughout the country.

Though the deadline for Chicago-based organizations to submit their projects for the first half of 2017 ended last October, the application for projects happening July-December 2017 will be available this spring. According to the city, possible programs include, but are not limited to, site-specific visual art, performance (theater, dance, music, etc.), social practice, new media, happenings and events; creative place-making projects that enhance the quality of life in Chicago’s communities; the reimagining or reinterpretation of existing or historic public artworks; and educational programs, tours and guides that document or engage the City’s public art collection.

Alderman Osterman’s office said they will update residents as new information becomes available. Guidelines for artists who are interested in applying will be available in January 2017 at cityofchicago.org/dcase.


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