Over the past winter, the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission invited area artists to submit original artwork for consideration for the 2016 Community Art Banner Project. The entries were anonymously judged by Chicago-based artist and Assistant Professor of Photography at Northeastern Illinois University, Nate Matthews. Seventeen exceptional works, depicting this year’s theme Patterns-Patterns-Patterns, were chosen for a public art display on Main Street which runs through early September.
The display, which was installed on street poles from West Washington Street eastward to the R. Eugene Rennels Bridge, represents an eclectic original body of work that ranges from textiles to watercolors. All works were photographed in high resolution and transferred to 30’ x 60’ vinyl banners. Commission members Uwe Gsdel, Anni Holm, and Sara Phalen worked together to create a banner template that was customized to complement the individual works of art.
“This project has become a highly anticipated installation, with the banners serving as a creative focal point on Main Street,” said Cultural Arts Liaison Rosemary Mackey. “They are one more unique reason to visit, stroll and spend time in historic downtown West Chicago.”
Featured artists this year include: Chris Hodge, Lewis Achenbach, Anni Holm, Mitch Ralph, Kathy Steere, Nancy Reppe, Juan Fernandez, Andrea Alvarez, Anne Frantzen, Judith Horsley, Katherine Houlne, Eden Unluata, Dan Stultz, Audrius Plioplys, Diana Gabriel and Rita Grendze, Natalia Toreeva, and Meg Duguid.
According to Mackey, the Commission’s Walking Tour Map, available at the City Museum, Gallery 200, or online through a mobile device, is a great way to enhance visitors appreciation of the art and learn more about the artists.
“There has been a growing interest among artists to participate in this project,” said Commission Chairperson Anni Holm. “This year we have artists from Aurora, Elgin, Batavia, Wheaton, Northwoods, Yorkville, Carol Stream and Chicago; as well as those from West Chicago, represented. It is very exciting for us to expand our reach, collaborate and connect our creative base with that of other communities. It strengthens the arts for all of us,” she said.
An announcement, made earlier last month, released the 2017 Community Art Banner Project theme, Rails and Trails. The Commission hopes that the early notice will inspire artistic pursuits related to the rails and trails in and around West Chicago this summer, fall and winter. Online submission forms are available here.