|Total Shots taken||73|
|Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %)||10 (13.7 %)|
In the late evening sunlight, sudden splashes of color along the road caught my attention on the bus ride home. What was THAT? I was a surprised to see the flash of colors amidst what was typically a sea of greenery, and I couldn’t really tell what it was. This happened a few more times before I was able to pinpoint the location, and identify a colorful object emerging from the forest-like roadside growth. I saw it from the bus, or the car, but each time, I was moving too fast (or driving) to see it as clearly as I wanted.
The breakthrough came when I used the 43rd Street overpass to cross from the lakefront bike path to the other side of Lake Shore Drive. From the overpass, I could see a Chicago Tree Project installation emerging (for more information on this, http://www.chicagotreeproject.org). But there was more! I could also see there was a walking trail leading to the tree and beyond. Again, what was all this?
Boy was I excited! While I could see tree and the trail, which I guessed was a path to 47th Street, I could also see that I couldn’t get to that tree or walking path from where I was. So I set out on Sunday to find that path AND that tree. After some wandering, I did find it. Hope you enjoy these 5* images from my excursion.
- The Approach – The first part of the walking path was narrow (in fact, a Park District employee had to show me the trail head, because I had walked past it three times!). As I made my way through, I could hear the birds, and see the native grasses and flowers. The path was barely wide enough for one person to walk through. As I neared the opening of the gathering space, the path widened, and finally, I could see the open space ahead, and the emerging art installation. In the background of this image, you can see Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). This was my first glimpse from the ground level. The limbs on the ground seem to support and surround the structure — it will be good to see how this comes together in the finished project.
- Sankofa for the Earth – Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as “Go back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol represented either by a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back, or as a stylized heart shape (source: Wikipedia). What I had seen from the bus and the car was the light reflecting off the colorful mosaic tiles used to create this fabulously colorful bird. I love how the eyes of Dr. Burroughs are on the Sankofa.
- History Makers – The image on the ground side of the tree features notable African-Americans including John H. Johnson (publisher), Gwendolyn Brooks (poet), Dr. Margaret Burroughs (artist), Bessie Coleman (aviator) and Ida B. Wells (Journalist and civil rights activist). Very colorful images of those upon whose shoulders we stand.
- I’m With Candace and Arthur – They stopped by on May 23, according to this note, and left a calling card that said it all. Beautiful work!
- Details, details, details — These green and brown glass tiles, especially with the contrasting white cowrie shells, adorn the bottom stem of the stand, reflecting the earth tones of the surrounding greenery, browns in the wood chip trail and the surrounding soil, and the bark of the tree. Wow — this is why I love the work of artists — there are so many nuances that can be considered and the artists that worked to create this special place seemed to have captured many of them.
- Gathering Spaces – This walking trail is a feature of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor, which also includes five gathering spaces. Of course, I was there before the grand opening (Saturday June 18), sponsored by Roots & Routes, so I found only one of the gathering spaces (which I loved!). I am looking forward to joining the grand opening and seeing the other spaces. In the meantime, this one featuring curved, painted benches and tree trunk benches nestled among the wild flowers was captivating.
Over the last couple of years, I remember seeing this space in the making, but had no idea what was happening. From my seat on the bus, I had seen controlled burning, selective clearing of the roadside forestry, and people clearing the area. Little did I know that I was watching a gathering space and walking trail in the making.
The grand opening for this urban gathering space under the tagline “weaving culture & nature in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor” Is Saturday June 18, 2016. Join them if you can. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these 5* selections!
 Artists participating in this installation: Arty Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas, BK Ellison, Kendall Glover, and South Side Community Arts Center (SSCAC)