Magdalene, 2005
Dessa Kirk
Congress Plaza
East of South Michigan Avenue at East Congress Parkway

This sculpture was specifically created for and constructed on site. Dessa Kirk produced this work after the success of three earlier sculptures that were part of the Chicago Park District’s 2004 Art in the Garden exhibit in Grant Park. During the spring and summer months, flowers grow at the figure’s feet and vine up to form the skirt. Kirk grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, where her grandfather, who worked in a mining village, encouraged and worked along with her as she experimented with welding and metal works. After graduating from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, where she had received a scholarship, she gained recognition for her many public works. According to a 2012 San Diego newspaper, fame did not sit well with the artist who claimed, “I wanted to get away from being anybody.”  She left Chicago for San Diego and traded welding tools for surfboard designing. Kirk’s other public metal works can be viewed in Columbus, Indiana; Three Oaks, Michigan; and Anchorage, Alaska.

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