public art


Millenium Park Signage and Decorations

for Family Fun Festival

I was asked to design signs, hanging decorations, a stage backdrop and a reading area for the family tent put up by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and now by the Chicago Office of Tourism. Everything had to be indestructible in all weather, store easily during the winter and installed easily again each summer, and it all had to be red and white, as specified by Target, our sponsor. We wanted a whimsical, story-book quality. We were assisted in fabrication by Redbox Workshop and by Ravenswood Studios. The tent is in Millenium Park between the Pritzker Pavillion and The Cloud sculpture, and is absolutely teaming with children during June, July and August.

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Mural panels/photo backdrops

for Maxwell Street Foundation

The Maxwell Street Foundation is a non-profit foundation with a mission of preserving, archiving and educating people about the rich history of Maxwell Street in Chicago. I was asked to do three panels showing different musical traditions found on Maxwell Street, which people could interact with and have their pictures taken. These panels were set up in downtown Chicago at the annual Blues Fest.

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Chicago’s 175th Birthday Photo Backdrop for

Chicago Office of Tourism

The assignment was to come up with an interactive photo backdrop celebrating the City of Chicago’s 175th birthday. It was set up in a corner of the Family Festival tent in Millenium Park, so it was mainly used by small children and the adults who come with them. I wanted to have a lower level for smaller people and a higher level for adults. I wanted to be able to accommodate one person or a whole group of people. The piece had to be self-supporting, weather and damage resistant, and light enough to not be dangerous in any way.

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Installation for Chrysanthemum Show

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago Park District

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago Park District
I was asked to propose an idea for an installation in the Garfield Park Conservatory Chrysanthemum show that takes place around Halloween. I had the idea to do pieces carved out of styrofoam to look like stone. They were inspired by architectural grotesqerie such as gargoyles, but instead of being on buildings, they would be kind of hanging around cemetery monuments. A poem by Thomas Hardy, The Last Chrysanthemum, was inscribed on the monuments, so as you walked around the exhibit you read the poem a verse at a time.
We also arranged some good-quality artificial skeletons to look like gardeners at work.
Why should this flower delay so long
To show its tremulous plumes?
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
When flowers are in their tombs.
Through the slow summer, when the sun
Called to each frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
Why did it not uncurl?
It must have felt that fervid call
Although it took no heed,
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
And saps all retrocede.
Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
The season’s shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
In tempests turbulent.
Had it a reason for delay,
Dreaming in witlessness
That for a bloom so delicately gay
Winter would stay its stress?
I talk as if the thing were born
With sense to work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
By the Great Face behind.

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Giant Paint-By-Number Folding Screen

Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival
Evanston, IL

The Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival is an annual event at the Evanston lake shore with a drop-in arts and crafts area. The giant paint-by-number is something I have done several times. It appeals to people of all ages. It is fun to watch people see it develop from a distance, and they always smile when they get closer and realize that it is an old-fashioned paint-by-number picture. When people take a moment to work on it they relax and talk to each other. It’s like magic. I think this would be great at lots of different kinds of events such as corporate retreats, family reunions, etc.

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