How Do We Connect Two Separate Communities and Begin to Connect a Common Identity Using Public Art as the Bridge?
Site-specific plan, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, exterior view for anticipated mosaic facing 111th Street and South Pulaski Avenue. Most easily seen exterior wall of CHSAS. (Project led by Teacher Mary Rossi and Teaching Artist Mirtes Zwierzynski.)
The bee represents the connection of all ideas
Because bees are kept and create honey at CHSAS, something the public community can relate to along with the Celtic knot (large Irish population in the neighborhood community) symbolizing and connecting the neighborhood community with the school.
There will be a mosaic bee with a honeycomb… containing symbols of the 6 pathways, one of which each Agriculture student must choose as their focus during their 11th and 12th year of study. This provides the neighborhood community with knowledge about what happens in the school. A seventh honeycomb will represent the special cluster population of diverse learners who are a large part of the student body at our school.
Identifying Community Needs and Concerns
Students interviewed community members to assess the needs and wishes for their neighborhood.
The following is a collection of responses from the various people students surveyed. Some responses have been edited for clarity and legibility.
Safety: safer environment for citizens, reduction in crime, fairness.
Local Business: a more convenient selection of stores, wants more local businesses such as stores and restaurants, more diverse outdoor events, increased property value.
Community: unity, people getting along/harmony, support for schools, open minded neighbors, greater community resources, more community events, more uplifting art.
Local Government: representative local officials and community leaders, Improving infrastructure, greater diversity.
Schooling: understanding staff, smaller classes, help keep kids in school, More classes, Teach things more useful in life, funding, better teachers/staff.
On Public Art
Student: Public art adds value to community, needs art to be established in community, need to have more/wants to beautify area so public can understand the history of the area
Mother: art has power to change world and influence millions, wants more street art and chalk based drawings, semi permanent
Teacher: public action, more art within the community, influencing the opinion of people through public inspiration, need for art to be advanced and more modern so holds significant role
Student: being more visually and physically accessible in the community
The project was postponed because of the global pandemic, but we have a strong start.
We learned how incredibly important community is especially when experiencing such extreme isolation during the global pandemic. Another question is how can isolation make you appreciate and recognize things you take for granted the ability to be with others.