Chicago Public Art Plan

On October 26-27, 2017, members of the Greektown Arts & Space Committee attended the Public Art Symposium held at the Chicago Cultural Center. This 2-day event opened with welcoming remarks by Commissioner Mark Kelly from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).

The sessions were diverse in scope and raised interesting questions, e.g., how do people talk about a space when it is gone? We considered both major historic art, i.e, the Wall of Respect, and current movements evolving in Chicago and in other cities. We were introduced to interactive art designs, concepts of creative justice, and the rightness of expanding the definition of public art beyond sculpture and mural. Diversity, community, equity and inclusion were powerful themes. We heard the strong voices of individual artists and delighted in knowing funders appreciate that communities are made better by the arts. Altogether, this symposium was a deeply rich experience. And in the process, it generated a host of new ideas for Greektown.

But, the highlight of the event was the preview of the Chicago Public Art Plan – authored by DCASE and dedicated to “enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy.” The Plan is both an inspired and inspiring document. In his letter introduction, Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes clear that: “art is vital to a neighborhood’s spirit and the quality of life for its residents.” (Plan page 3). And, he challenges us to do more.

The Greektown SSA# 16 is on board. Back in 2006, we engaged 39 artists to each decorate a fabricated urn for the street art exhibit known as “A Celebration of the Grecian Urn.” This year, we turned to local artists and youth-serving organizations for their artistic interpretations of “The Amazing Greektown Dinghies” that are featured along Halsted Street. Quotes from Greek philosopher Aristotle hang beside the poster art created by distinguished and upcoming Chicago artists. Soon, we will showcase the work of artists in an community display of Greek Christmas Boats (a tradition in Greece). And, there is more to come.

The Greektown Arts & Space Committee is excited about the Chicago Public Art Plan and equally inspired by the wealth of information shared at the Public Art Symposium. We aim to grow a diverse membership, expand the scope of our work, and ignite a host of new artistic possibilities in the Greektown community. Join us!

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Art in Greektown