Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rhythm and Views mural



Rhythm and Views mural, 2001
Tracy van Duinen with Chicago Public Art Group and After School Matters          
Belmont Avenue underpass at Lake Shore Drive

Completed in 1940 as part of the WPA extension of Lake Shore Drive between the years of 1937-42, the Belmont Avenue Bridge was created in Art Deco style. In 1971, a group of artists formed the Chicago Mural Group (later renamed the Chicago Public Art Group). Through the efforts of the CPAG, unattractive spaces, such as the underpass for this bridge, were transformed into public art projects with a high level of artistic quality. For more than 40 years CPAG has worked with communities to introduce creative skills, train and educate artists and enable them to create public art. This was the case with the Rhythm and Views mural project. In addition to funding the approximately $100,000 cost, paid with aldermanic money as well as donations from community groups, residents were able to make hands-on contributions. An online announcement from 44th Ward service website inspired neighbors to get their photos taken at a local elementary school. Those images, along with some historical photos of the neighborhood are incorporated into the bricolage tile. Volunteers and students in the city's After School Matters program helped hand place the tiles. Regarding the underpass transformation, CPAG Director Jon Pounds noted during an interview with WBBM-TV, “It’s part of the world we all live in and they’re ugly. When you’re looking at them you think, ‘Wait a minute, what else could this be?’”


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