Pride and Inspiration at Nettlehorst School

Total Shots taken 59
Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %) 3 (5.1 %)


From time to time, I revisit past photography excursions to see if I can resurrect images  where I previously did not identify 5* selections.  Sometimes, I have a greater appreciation for the individual images, and I see a quality I didn’t see before.  Other times, I edit the images more heavily, making adjustments to improve the image, and experimenting to “find the magic” I may have missed.  This time, i was just convinced that it was too unique a photo excursion NOT to share, and I needed to find those 5* images.

Quite honestly, I didn’t feel as if I did  justice to the whimsically decorated school yard at Nettlehorst School in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood.  There was an old bike decorated profusely with mosaic tiles, complementing the rustic surface; the mirrored balls hanging from a beribboned tree; a bright red horse created from picture frame corners, and the colorful fabric ribbons streaming from the fence around the school.

The decorations were the public display of David Fite’s Eagle Scout community project to take on the (then) anti-gay stance of the Boy Scouts.  David was committed to being part of the solution — his project included a letter writing campaign, speaking in public forums, and speaking with Boy Scout and community leaders.

I just happened to be in the neighborhood, having brunch with a friend.  I spotted the fence thru the restaurant window.  I knew there had to be a story behind it, and these are the 5* images coming from that exploration.



  • Pride and Inspiration (2) – The highlight of the Nettlehorst school is the fence surrounding school. David had painstaking tied strips of fabric around the fence posts, creating the unmistakable rainbow symbol.    These school is on the parade route for the were decorated in time to coincide with the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, which goes right past the school.


  • Party On! – Nothing says a party like the mirrored disco ball, of which this is a reminder for me.  Even on this overcast day, the mirrored ball lit up the area, reflecting all the colors around it, and the ribbon trailing up the tree trunk.


  • Red Steed – I love the creativity that finds its home in human hearts. This statue of a horse, created from picture frame edges, is certainly evidence of that.  I love the stylized mane, created from fabric strips, an echo of the fabric strips adorning the fence.

Congratulations to David for his Eagle Scout qualification project.  Along with his direct community impact (the national Boy Scouts organization relaxed their rules against openly gay leaders), the project made for a wonderfully captivating public art installation.  I hope you enjoy these here are my 5* selections to prove it!

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