Frigid temperatures notwithstanding, West Chicago is embracing 2019 with sights set on celebrating the beauty and wonder of a small winged creature which will shortly be waking from its months-long hibernation in warmer climates and begin its journey to the western suburbs.
The Monarch butterfly’s wondrous migration and subsequent transformation has become something of a metaphor for the diverse community of West Chicago itself, which will be celebrating The Year of the Butterfly through an exciting calendar of programs and events. Thanks to the support of the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, the West Chicago America in Bloom committee, and the many community partners including the West Chicago Garden Club, People Made Visible, the Green Disciples of the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, Community High School District 94, the DuPage Monarch Project, Community School District 33, residents and Master Naturalists Michael and Judith Horsley, and many others, the City will provide education, art and greater awareness for Monarch conservation.
The cross-pollination of these group efforts will yield the following for the enjoyment of everyone in the community and beyond:
• A free public screening of The Guardians, a Spanish-language documentary film with English subtitles, will be available on Friday, May 17,
• Blooming Fest, scheduled on Saturday, May 18, 2019 in downtown West Chicago from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., will feature several opportunities to learn more about the Monarch from various environmental groups which will have booth spaces. Also, a special craft for children to create their own paper butterfly will be available at the City table on Main Street, and people of all ages will delight in becoming the center of larger-than-life butterfly wings. The photo opportunities of these interactive activities will provide great memories of The Year of the Butterfly.
• The opening of a citywide public art project that celebrates the Monarch also takes place in May. Its chosen title, The Butterfly Effect, is a reference to chaos theory and the phenomenon which occurs when a minute localized change in a complex system has large effects elsewhere. The concept holds a special significance for the Cultural Arts Commission, which sees a strong symbolic connection between Monarch migration and the migration of diverse immigrant populations that traveled to West Chicago, adding beauty, value and history to the community. Through a collaborative effort between the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, the West Chicago Garden Club, People Made Visible and the West Chicago America in Bloom Committee, 36 artfully designed wooden butterflies will be installed in public gardens throughout the City, with an additional seven at the Kruse House Gardens. The butterflies, approximately three-feet high by four-feet wide, will be designed by local artists and members of the Garden Club. An interactive map will be designed for use in locating each installation, making it easy for residents and visitors to spend a delightful afternoon visiting each site from May through the month of September.
• Community arts not-for-profit People Made Visible will be coordinating a residential component of The Butterfly Effect for those wishing to create their own artful butterfly for use in the home garden. Smaller templates, priced at a reasonable cost, will be available for purchase at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street during normal hours of operation, Thursdays from noon – 6:00 p.m.; Fridays from noon – 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; and Sundays from noon – 4:00 p.m.
• A new exhibit titled Home, which is scheduled to debut at the City Museum, 132 Main Street, on Saturday, May 18, 2019 and run through Saturday, April 18, 2020, will focus on an exploration of community, specifically as told through histories of people who currently call, or who have at one time called, West Chicago home. Additionally, select artifacts from the Museum’s collections will be incorporated in the exhibit. Chosen artists will work with Museum Director Sara Phalen and exhibit co-curator Anni Holm to create compelling original artwork that will be inspired by the stories of those journeys to and in the community. Like the indelible imprint of the Monarch population to the West Chicago environmental landscape, the unique stories of people who made a home in West Chicago will illustrate the profound ways in which they have contributed to the cultural landscape.
For more information about any of West Chicago’s The Year of the Butterfly events, programs, or activities, please contact Rosemary Mackey at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (630) 293-2200 x139.