Artist Davis McCarty’s proposal for a Rogers Park “entry point” artistic sculpture received strong support from community residents who attended a recent meeting I hosted on the proposal.
“Quantum Dee” is a 20-foot stainless steel and dichroic plexiglass sculpture in the shape of a spire. The proposed sculpture is intended for one of the Sheridan Road entry points to Rogers Park–either the north entry at Juneway Beach Park (see rendering at right) or the south entry at the Devon-Sheridan triangle (see rendering below).
I asked Davis to describe the sculpture in his own words. Here’s what he wrote:
“The sculpture’s vibrant colors are representative of the diverse community in Rogers Park, and it will reflect the natural beauty of the surrounding park and lakefront. Participants will discover that the dichroic plexiglass changes color as they walk up to it. I hope this moment of discovery will elicit joy and excitement for the Rogers Park and Chicago community for generations to come.”
At the base of the spire is a polished stainless steel sphere, reminiscent of “Cloud Gate,” the large reflective sculpture, also known as “the Bean,” that serves as the centerpiece for downtown’s Millennium Park.
Davis provided a PowerPoint presentation at the community meeting, explaining his proposal in more detail:
The proposed sculpture would receive funding from the “50 X 50 Neighborhood Arts Project,” a program sponsored by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) that has as its goal the placement of at least two pieces of public art in each of Chicago’s 50 wards.
DCASE asked aldermen to contribute $10,000 from their “Aldermanic Menu” (the $1.3 million that aldermen receive annually to spend on capital improvements in their wards). The department provided a $10,000 matching grant to each ward that participated, for a total of $20,000. Forty-five of the 50 aldermen, including me, agreed to participate in this program.
As you know, I turn over $1 million of my menu money to a Participatory Budgeting process where the community votes on how to spend the money. I reserve the remaining $300,000 for special projects, emergencies and any unanticipated cost overruns that might arise from the PB projects. My $10,000 pledge to the 50 X 50 Neighborhood Arts program comes from the $300,000 that remains within my discretion.
I appointed a panel of five artists from the community to work with DCASE to select an artist for our ward’s arts project. The panel included Matt Runfola, Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center; Kathleen Paluch, Greenleaf Art Center; Ana Bermudez, Rogers Park Business Alliance; David Kogan, DKP Image & Media Inc.; and artist Tanya Marquez.
After an extensive review of 40 prequalified applicants, the panel commissioned Davis to design the sculpture.
Though the 50 X 50 Arts Project envisions two sculptures in each ward, Davis’ proposed sculpture costs $20,000, which is our ward’s entire budgetary allotment. A detailed budget for the sculpture is found on page 30 of Davis’ PowerPoint presentation.
Those attending the community meeting agreed that the sculpture should appear at one of the Sheridan Road entry points to the community, but were divided on exactly which entry point. The artist himself was conflicted. On the one hand, the sculpture would be seen by more people at the south entry point at Devon and Sheridan triangle, as it is a more prominent and highly trafficked location.
On the other hand, the triangle island is not particularly pedestrian friendly and locating the sculpture at the Juneway Beach Park entry point would allow more people to approach the sculpture up close, an important consideration, given the reflective sphere at the sculpture’s base.
The prevailing opinion of those attending the community meeting supported the use of an additional $20,000 from my aldermanic menu to create a second sculpture that was either identical or very similar to the first, so that both Sheridan Road entry points featured a sculpture. Though I certainly give great weight to the opinions of those who took the time to attend the meeting, I would like to hear from others in the community, as well.
Do you support the proposed sculpture and, if so, where would you like it located? At the Sheridan Road north entry point, the south entry point or somewhere else? And would you support the allocation of an additional $20,000 from our ward’s discretionary fund to subsidize the creation of a second sculpture? Do you believe it should be identical to the first or something different?
Please email your thoughts to my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to view a model of the sculpture up close and personal, it is located in the lobby of my 49th Ward Service Office, 7356 N. Greenview (at Jarvis). My office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day this week to accommodate early voters in this week’s Participatory Budgeting Election. Come take a look at the sculpture and vote in the PB Election!