West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

“Tree Towers” Mosaic Sculpture Greets Nature Preserve Visitors

Mosaic Sculpture Community Celebration

A “Tree Towers” mosaic sculpture now rises from the ground just beyond our nature preserve’s entrance gate. Three colorful towers, featuring depictions of native species, invite visitors to enter and explore.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Saturday, October 23, 2017 with Alderman Patrick O’Connor and County Commissioner Bridget Gainer presiding. Also present was Green Star Movement’s Executive Director, Kamelia Hristeva. Her group created the sculpture as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Year of Public Art and an inclusive 40th Ward selection process.


At the ceremony, the Alderman and Commissioner made a surprise announcement. Their joint effort will result in a new DIVVY station across the street from the preserve along with a mosaic origami heron sculpture, created by Green Star Movement.

Two artists from Art Side Out Studio & Mask Shop, new neighbors on Western Avenue, pranced about in large fish and heron masks. They helped draw people into the preserve and added joy to the celebration.

See Tree Towers Sculpture Photos for a pictorial description of erecting and celebrating the sculpture.

 

How Our Nature Preserve Gained a Mosaic Sculpture

The invitation from Alderman Patrick O’Conner to send PAC representatives to his 50/50 Arts Project meetings came in Spring, 2017. While we obligingly participated, we barely dared hope that our nature preserve might be the site of the 40th Ward’s public art work.

And then the announcement came at the July meeting. The Alderman and neighborhood group representatives had coalesced around our preserve as the chosen site!


The way this came about was through the representatives meeting to discuss and debate the merits of various sites, types of art and possible themes. They then interviewed artists from an approved list. Ultimately, they selected the Green Star Movement, a collective of artists who specialize in mosaic projects and involve the community in some of the work.

Representatives strongly suggested a sculpture that would draw attention to our entrance, citing difficulty in spotting it when driving by. Kamelia Hristeva, CEO of Green Star Movement, discussed form, placement and themes with group members. The Alderman reinforced our concern that the sculpture should reflect the PAC’s mission.

Finally, the Green Star Movement submitted two designs for community voting. The winner was a cluster of three Tree Towers. Green Star then had to scramble to meet a short October deadline.  Green Star Movement then created and installed installed the sculpture with community members helping with the grouting and cleaning.
The long-anticipated mosaic sculpture became a reality with the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 21. 2017.  Alderman Patrick O'Connor and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer presided over the ceremony.

The 50/50 Arts Project is a major part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Year of Public Art. In honor of the 50th birthday of the Picasso statue, the city is celebrating by sponsoring art works in all 50 wards. The sculpture is Alderman O’Connor’s 40th Ward contribution to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Year of Public Art.