It Took A Village | Letters | Chicago Reader

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It Took A Village



To the editors:

Because of several omissions, the article on the mosaic project in Neighborhood News [August 23] gave the impression that it was initiated by Truman College. In fact, this project was a collaboration between a number of organizations and individuals which need mention to enlarge the context and to assert an exciting model for the realization of public-art projects. Included are Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG), through which Mirtes Zwierzynski and I directed the mosaic, Alderman Shiller, the community groups and individuals who live in the neighborhood of the mall, and the city of Chicago's Department of Transportation (C-DOT), which is overseeing the renovation.

Monique Barwicki, C-DOT's architect, was visionary in her responsiveness, not only to include a public-art conception in the plans but to work with CPAG in partnership. Alderman Shiller's support was paramount and she understood the project to be a way to address some of the needs of marginalized youth to create a deep sense of belonging in their neighborhood. Through numerous community meetings during which site plans were presented as works-in-progress and open-forum discussion followed, all issues were identified and resolved, giving strength to the participatory model of art and design.

Patricia Murphy was instrumental in the coordinating of the site (Truman College), involving both the dean of students and the new college president in our progress. She pulled the Gallery 37 artist trainees, MET-sponsored teens, and many related administrative details together. Additionally, at a festival cosponsored by Shiller, Truman, and Beacon Street Gallery, over 100 neighborhood children and adults made tiles that will be included in the finished art. Our understanding is that we will begin installation as soon as the city's convention responsibilities allow our contractor to do so. It's all part of that "village" philosophy. . .

Ginny Sykes


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