Aqua Interlude & Reflection, 2011
Maria Gaspar and Mirtes Zwierzynski
Pedestrian underpass of Columbus Drive, just north of Roosevelt Road
A 2011 article in the Chicago Tribune about new mosaics in the city stated: “These fleeting moments with public art are increasingly taking place in some of the grimiest, traditionally unpleasant intersections of our daily lives: underpasses.” Such is the case with "Aqua Interlude & Reflection,” designed by lead artists Maria Gaspar and Mirtes Zwierzynski, and created with the assistance of volunteers and approximately 50 youth artists in the nonprofit program, After School Matters. The 1,600 square foot water-themed mosaic showcasing the relationship between Chicagoans and Lake Michigan has 500,000 glass tiles, all arranged by hand. Gaspar and Zwierzynski are part of the Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG), a nonprofit organization of artists formed in 1971 whose mission was to establish creative partnerships between artists and communities in an effort to enhance the lives of city dwellers. The director of CPAG claims, "This is without question the largest glass tile mosaic in town." Other underpasses by CPAG artists are bricolages, mixed-media mosaics. They are located at Lake Shore Drive at Bryn Mawr Avenue (completed in 2008) and Foster Avenue (completed in 2009).