Artist Ginny Sykes guided a group of community members on a tour of art in Uptown on Saturday, October 6, 2012. This is a synopsis of the walk.
Stockton School Mosaics "Over the Rainbow"
4425 North Beacon Street
One hundred-ninety square feet of mosaic adorn exterior facades of Stockton School. Located around entryways on the south and east sides, the mosaics are composed hand-made ceramic tiles created by students, faculty, and staff of the school. Artists Corinne Peterson and Ginny Sykes facilitated the mosaic projects over a six-year period, 1995-2001. With the help of the artists, the students created the composition, design, and imagery in each of the panels. The project was funded by individual donors, the Illinois Arts Council, Beacon Street Gallery, the Chicago Public Art Group, Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
Beacon and Sunnyside
Artist: John Kearney
Kearney (b. 1924) is a Chicago cculptor and co-founded the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago
in 1949. The workshop was a highly regard non-profit Chicago institution, exhibiting young emerging artists and
providing affordable studio spaces for artists for the past 60 years. Kearney is known for using chrome automobile bumpers on display here.
Following a long term of deterioration, the Sunnyside Mall was redeveloped in 1996. Following an intensive community planning process, the city added new planters, lighting, and artwork in response to citizens concerns about safety and beauty of the neighborhood.
West Entrance (Beacon and Sunnyside)
Neighbors of the west end of the Sunnyside Mall felt that the mall should take on the character of a front yard. The west end's design was intended to be more formal in character. The brick entrance pillars echo the architecture of the multi-family buildings flanking the mall and demarcate the west end entrance.
East Entrance (Magnolia and Sunnyside)
East end neighbors felt the mall functioned as their backyard space. In response, the artists Ginny Sykes and Mires Zwierzynski assisted teenagers in the neighborhood in creating an informal design titled. Titled "From Many Paths We Come" the work traces the path of the young artists from diverse backgrounds including Chinese, Cambodian, African, and Latino to Chicago. While the small mural areas in the sidewalk were originally intended to be much larger, the sculptural plaza anchors the east end. Beacon Street Gallery, Chicago Public Art Group, Gallery 37, Chicago Department of Transportation, and former 46th Ward Alderman, Helen Shiller, helped to bring the artwork to a formerly blighted corner.
Tromp l'oeil Mural
Artist: Richard Hass
Kenmore and Wilson Avenues
Californian Richard Haas painted this mural, one of four in Chicago, in the early 1990s. The "fool the eye" style of painting depicts a Renaissance era Italian garden scene. The illusionary scene dresses up an otherwise blank wall overlooking a parking lot. The building is featured in the American Institute of Architects' guide to Chicago. Now a bank the building originally held a theater.
Artist: Gregory King
Sponsored by Uptown Baptist Church, Uptown, Chicago, IL
4445 N Sheridan Rd Chicago, IL 60640
The Reconciliation Mural was originally a dedication to slain gang members of the Uptown neighborhood. Today it offers a message of faith intended to reduce crime in the area. Completed in 1995, Gregory King worked for weeks with high school students on the design. The mural symbolically depicts Godā creation of the earth, Manā and sin. The mural was restored in 2001 after it was covered with graffiti. A coat of polyurethane was applied as a protective layer allowing an easier clean up should the mural be graffitied again.
Clarendon Park Field House
4501 N. Clarendon Ave.
Lead Artist: Patricia Murphy
Directed by Julia Sowles-Barlow, Assisted by Ginny Sykes and Gallery 37 Youth; Installed 2000
This mural was uses a unique mosaic style. The orientation of individual tesserae (small tiles which compose the panel) are not random, but intentional. In background areas the tiles create gradations of color. In foreground spaces they demarcate outlines and fill in spaces of flat color. The effect, especially seen from a short distance, creates the sense of a water color painting that is quite different from the broad expanses of flat color in other mosaics in Uptown.
Uplift School- Wilson and Hazel Aves.
900 West Wilson Avenue Chicago
Designed and fabricated by Green Star Movement
This bricolage mosaic, which covers multiple exterior walls of the school, was created over six weeks one summer
by, After School Matters, students involved in the Green Star Movementā and the Uplift Bricolage Mural Program.
According to the teens, the mural represents a message of hope and excitement to the community and focuses on
such themes as community, social justice, history and education. The Bricolage style uses flat expanses of color, heavy outlines, use of words and texts, and a variety of different materials (ceramic tiles, mirror glass, photo-transfer process on tile, etc).
4730 N Sheridan, Alternatives: A youth and family agency
Artist: Tracy Van Duinen Assistant Artist: Todd Osbourne
The images in the mosaic depict aspects of the agency's work. This includes psychiatric assistance,
social work, hip-hop workshops, tech center, art and circus acrobatics programs. The images are taken from tracings made from
photographs from agency programs. The supporting text surrounding the imagery narrate the mosaic. The words were collected from the agency's staff and participants at every level including board members and youth. The words also complete the title of the mural, i.e., I will... mentor, choose, grow, create, respect, inspire, etc.
Cultural Center Mural
Lawrence & Sheridan
The Institute for Cultural Affairs sponsored this mural. It depicts the Uptown neighborhood & history with light-hearted humor.
Margate Park Field House
Ainslie Street & Marine Drive
Ginny Sykes & Julia Sowles-Barlow, artists
The 50 sq ft mosaic was done and dedicated in December 2003. The mosaic was done in 5 weeks with teens and sponsored by
Alternatives Agency Inc. The teens, who came from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, took the subject of racial profiling literally by including their profiles in silhouette. Aspects of the design depict other elements of their journey to Chicago.
Children's park behind Margate Park Field House, Ainslie Street & Marine Drive
Installed in 2004
Jim Brenner, Roman Villareal, Ginny Sykes, Corinne Peterson, and Sonata Kazimieratiene, Chicago Public Art Group, and Smith Group, JJR (Landscape Architects)
The Chicago Park District hired Smith Group JJR landscape architects and the Chicago Public Art Group to create
this unique custom-designed play environment for Lincoln Park just east of the Margate Park field house. A team
of four artists and one assistant produced an array of sculptures, mosaics, and interactive artworks that enliven the
space. Completed in 2004, the 1400-square foot playground is enjoyable for both children and parents.
With Lake Michigan as the backdrop, animal and plant forms relating to water life became the theme. Jim Brenner
created a series of stainless steel sculptural bugs including bees, dragonflies, and butterflies mounted
overhead, which often create interesting shadows on the ground level. Roman Villareal sculpted four limestone animals (fish, frog, snail, and turtle) as climbable sculptures for younger children. Community members, including children, collaborated with artists Ginny Sykes and Corinne Peterson on ceramic tile work and a ceramic mural
that are incorporated into planters and retaining walls.