You’ve most likely noticed the five new artistic additions to Logan Boulevard, and you’ve also probably wondered where they came from and why these statues now ornament the boulevard.
Most residents, and even some aldermen, were left in the dark upon the initial placement of the sculptures, but a few days after their appearance, Chicago Park District (@ChicagoParks) issued a press release regarding the sculptures.
The pieces are part of the city’s Sculpture on the Boulevards. This initiative, made in a cooperation between the park district, Mayor Rahm Emanuel (@ChicagosMayor), the Chicago Department of Transportation (@ChicagoDOT) and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (@ChicagoDCASE), is taking place on five Chicago boulevards and will last until next fall.
The “Sculpture on the Boulevards” initiative aims to bring Chicago’s art and culture scene to different neighborhoods of the city by showcasing work of local artists.
Terrance Karpowicz (@KarpowiczSculpt), sculptor of Bouquet, located near Logan and Mozart, has seen his sculpture in three Chicago locations: Garfield Park Conservatory, Lake Shore Drive and Logan Boulevard.
“With each new location, the sculpture takes on a different sense. In Logan Square, it is much more intimate, I think it is almost romantic as it sits among the trees along the boulevard,” says Karpowicz. “When it was on the lakefront, the sculpture seemed to me to take on a ‘heroic’ posture, presenting a gift to the joggers and tourists that walk the shoreline.”
Karpowicz explains that Bouquet, made of granite and steel, finds its inspiration in a love story. His wife, Lee Kelley, enjoys flowers that come not from recognition of birthdays and anniversaries, but in celebration of a random day.
“What better gift to my wife then making her a bouquet that weighs in excess of 1,000 pounds,” says Karpowicz. “It’s my hope that the residents of Logan Boulevard will see Bouquet for what it is: an offering with each day to enjoy, smile and smell the roses!”
Fern Temple IV
Chicago native Austin Collins’ Fern Temple IV stands tall at Logan and Washtenaw and is actually part of a larger series the artist has been working on for 15 years that includes 45 pieces. Additional pieces of Collins’ series can be found in Salem, Mass., Hastings, Mich., and Michigan’s Fernwood Botanical Garden.
Collins was present at the Oct. 18 installation of Fern Temple IV and says residents of Logan Square were welcoming of the art.
“There were several individuals who came out during installation to talk to us and find out more about the artists,” says Collins. “It could not have been a nicer experience.”
Collins enjoys taking part in his art’s installation and checking out his sculptures’ new settings.
“Logan Boulevard is a beautiful location for my work. The Chicago boulevards really lend themselves to large-scale sculpture,” says Collins.
Bringing Sculpture to Logan Boulevard, Chicago
Logan Boulevard resident Byron Calvillo was at first confused by the sculptures’ arrival, but is glad to see them in the neighborhood.
“The sculptures add a different dimension to the boulevard. I liked them when I first saw them,” says Calvillo. “I thought they were pretty eye-catching.”
In the city’s press release, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “Chicago has a thriving arts scene and this project gives communities across the City a chance to enjoy these creative and innovative sculptures. These sculptures are part of the Cultural Plan, which identifies ways the arts can build community, stimulate economic development, create jobs, attract visitors and foster innovation for years to come.”
Karpowicz agrees that the art scene in Chicago is flourishing, and sees promoting the arts as a citywide effort.
“From the mayor on down to the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the city is once again supporting the efforts of its artists in bringing their works to the residents of Chicago through their various programs.”