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Meeting minutes were approved at the Cultural Advisory Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at the Chicago Cultural Center's 5th Floor Millennium Park Room, 4-5pm.
Cultural Advisory Council ("CAC") Members: Chair Nora Daley, Vice Chair Marj Halperin, Homer H. Bryant, Baraka de Soleil, Sandra Guthman, Ra Joy, Eileen LaCario, Maria Pinto, Rebeccah Sanders, Michael Patrick Thornton, Ernest C. Wong, and Angel Ysaguirre.
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ("DCASE") Staff: Commissioner Michelle T. Boone, Susan Friel, Tracie Hall, David Kennedy, Jamey Lundblad, David McDermott, Kenya Merritt, Daniel Schulman, and Sue Vopicka.
Other: Rob Rejman, Director of Planning and Construction, Chicago Park District, and Nichole Sheehan, Project Manager, Planning & Construction, Chicago Park District.
Nora Daley called the meeting to order and recognized new CAC member Maria Pinto, Founder and Creative Director of M2057 by Maria Pinto; and re-engaged CAC member Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities Council. She recognized special guests from the Chicago Park District Rob Rejman, Director of Planning and Construction; and Nichole Sheehan, Project Manager, Planning & Construction.
Nora Daley motioned for the approval of minutes from the September 9, 2014, and the minutes were unanimously approved.
Commissioner Boone stated that there were two additional new CAC members who were unable to attend the meeting: Carolina Garcia Jayaram – CEO, United States Artists; and Chay Yew - Artistic Director, Victory Gardens. She welcomed Angel Ysaguirre back to the CAC and stated that it was very exciting to have Maria Pinto join the CAC representing the fashion industry, especially as the City and DCASE prepare to beef up the Creative Industries.
Commissioner Boone stated that each CAC member would receive a copy of the newly released 2013 DCASE Annual Report, and she thanked Jamey Lundblad, Director of Marketing and Communications, and his team for their hard work on the project.
She said that many of the CAC members were in attendance at the inaugural Fifth Star Awards on September 17, 2014. Sandra Guthman said that she was in attendance, and that every Chicagoan should have been there to see it. Commissioner Boone said that one of the five worthy awardees was Richard Hunt, whose retrospective Richard Hunt: Sixty Years of Sculpture was to open at the Chicago Cultural Center with a preview reception on Friday, December 5. The video introduction of Richard Hunt from the Fifth Star Awards was played, and then Danny Schulman, Program Director of Visual Arts, talked more about the new exhibition.
Danny Schulman said that Richard Hunt: Sixty Years of Sculpture celebrates the career of the respected and prolific Chicago sculptor on the eve of his 80th birthday. He stated that in 1971, Richard Hunt was only the second African-American artist, along with Romare Bearden, to be honored with a one-person exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Since that time, he has worked in the same Chicago studio, producing over 125 commissions of public sculpture for cities across the U.S. Danny said that the exhibition features 60 objects dating from 1954 to 2014, drawn mostly from the artist’s own collection and is the only real retrospective since 1971, as Richard Hunt is largely a private artist. Mr. Schulman said that there hasn’t been a need for a retrospective because Richard Hunt has more public commissions than any other artist in the country and his art is out in the public eye, and he is extraordinarily modest. He said that Mr. Hunt does not have a dealer; therefore, he has executive control over his work and everything he does. He stated that this retrospective brings to life Mr. Hunt’s working method and compares and contrasts his early career versus his later career. Mr. Schulman concluded by saying Richard Hunt was very excited about the show and was working on a piece that would be ready for delivery by the opening of the show on Friday.
Commissioner Boone stated that last month, DCASE and The Joyce Foundation announced the inaugural recipients of the 2014-2015 DCASE Studio Artist and Curatorial Residency Awards. Following a competitive review of over 200 qualified applicants, a panel of esteemed jurors selected six Studio Artists in Residence and two Curatorial Fellows. She said that each recipient will be awarded a stipend to develop their proposed creative project and engage with the public. Additionally, the Artists in Residence will be provided with three months of studio space, either private or public, at the Cultural Center, where they will engage visitors in public programs and talks to be announced. She then introduced Susan Friel from the Visual Arts staff to talk more about the inaugural class.
Susan Friel stated that these awards are provided through a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation to support underrepresented artists and curators who demonstrate a strong level of commitment to diversity and community and whose work shows promise or is on the brink of advancement.
She said that Public Studio Artists in Residence would each receive a $6,000 stipend and a dedicated studio space on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center in the Garland Gallery, a hub of creative activity, which provides ongoing opportunities for artists and the public to interact over the course of three months. Susan said that the first artist residency would go to Alexandria Eregbu, an interdisciplinary artist, curator and arts administrator whose concerns lie primarily in performance and community engagement. She said that Eregbu’s artwork focuses on institutionalized and public visibility of black bodies through a contemporary art lens, and she plans to engage with the public through workshops on traditional Nigerian textiles, paper-making and collage building.
Susan said that the second artist residency would go to Faheem Majeed and collaborator Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, who share a background in sculpture that has evolved into performance, installation and structural interventions. She said that the Garland Studio will become a laboratory, test site and play space for the development of a large-scale multifaceted project titled “Floating Museum” that promises to engage a wide variety of community partners. Sandra Guthman said that Faheem and Jeremiah’s project would be featured on “Chicago Tonight” that evening.
Susan stated that third Public Studio Artist in Residence would be Cheryl Pope, who is deeply engaged in issues of gun violence and its impact on teens and works with youth to develop new ways to break the silence through public events and performances that incorporate video, sculpture and installation. Susan said that Cheryl Pope will collaborate with curator Ionit Behar and young Chicago poet Shaquita Reed as a researcher and production assistant to design participatory interactions, conversations and tours that invite the public behind the scenes of performances that develop a deeper understanding of issues in order make the invisible visible.
Ms. Friel said that Private Studio Artists in Residence will each receive a $6,000 stipend and a dedicated studio space in an area of the Chicago Cultural Center that is not accessible to the public. Artists in Residence will have access to the studio for a period of three months during which time they will have at least three opportunities for engagement with the public.
She said that artist Mahwish Chishty trained as a miniature painter at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and that recent trips to Pakistan have revived her interest in an unlikely pairing of two images – the omnipresent and colorful truck art and the not-so-visible presence of drones in the region. The artist plans to explore this subject matter through different materials and to expand to a larger scale.
Susan said that artist Adebukola Bodunrin uses film, video and installation to explore the intersections of race, language, culture and media and is fascinated with culturally shared media experiences and the way in which the moving image is intrinsically narrative. The private studio space will allow the artist to create 3D models and focus on her installations.
Susan stated that artist Cecil McDonald focuses on the intersections of masculinity, familial relations and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of black culture through the lens of photography, video and performance. He plans to dedicate his private studio time to photographing spaces and people in the Chicago Cultural Center, collage and working on a short film.
Susan stated that Curatorial Fellows are awarded $2,500 to support the research and development of a curatorial project, with the focus on supporting local emerging artists and providing a platform for underrepresented artists.
She said that Allison Glenn is a curator, writer and Director of Monique Meloche Gallery whose passion for developing a space for artists and ideas to thrive is evident in her work as former Program Manager and Exhibitions Curator at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park as well as in her proposal for this residency. Allison will develop a public art project in multiple locations that usurps the space of advertising and replaces it with visual images by Chicago-based artists.
She stated that Ross Jordan is an art historian and curator with an artist’s perspective who is interested in how artistic production and objects define or shape power. His curatorial project will invite artists to engage in the issues pertaining to the Obama Presidency and its legacy.
Ra Joy asked if the Curatorial Fellows would have a public engagement requirement. Susan replied that they would be required to participate in at least one event per month, such as a gallery talk. She said that all events would be posted on the DCASE website. Susan concluded by recognizing Angel Ysaguirre, who had the original idea for this project.
Commissioner Boone said that she is very proud of the work of the Visual Arts team, and that Danny Schulman is working on a very exciting exhibition for the spring - Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, the first retrospective of the American artist’s paintings in two decades.
Commissioner Boone then introduced Chicago Park District staff Rob Rejman, Director of Planning and Construction, and Nichole Sheehan, Project Manager, Planning & Construction, who gave an overview of Maggie Daley Park.
Nichole Sheehan stated that the new park is owned by the Chicago Park District and was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. She said that the sections of Grant Park commonly known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza, Cancer Survivors Garden, and Peanut Park together make up Maggie Daley Park, bordered on the west by Columbus Drive, the north by Randolph Street, the south by Monroe Drive, and the east by Lake Shore Drive and is connected to Millennium Park by the BP Bridge. She said that the project began partly out of necessity, as the Millennium Lakeside parking garage (formerly known as the East Monroe Garage) was in need of extensive renovations, including replacement of the roof’s waterproofing membrane. While the work necessitated the complete removal of the park above, it also provided the opportunity to totally reconsider the design and function of the park.
Nicole said that public feedback provided important input into the design principles and programming ambitions, and public opinions were solicited during the design process through public meetings, focus group and a park programming survey that yielded nearly 1,500 responses. She said that community-inspired principles guided the design of the new park and revealed a desire for neighborhood-based programs, better connections with the surrounding context, and different types of landscape experiences. The landscape spaces encountered through the park will vary in character, scale, and seasonal attributes, creating a progression that unfolds in space and time, and as visitors follow major pathways through the park, they will be introduced to a range of multisensory landscape experiences which are interspersed with views of the lake, the city, and the rest of Grant Park.
She stated that the three main features of the park are the Lawn Valley, the Skating Ribbon and Climbing Park, and the Play Garden. She said that the skating ribbon will be dramatically different from typical ice rinks, offering an experientially rich multisensory activity that is integrated into the landscape, and in the summer, the paved surface of the ribbon can host multiple types of activities including scooters, in-line skating and bikes. A supervised climbing facility located in the center of the ribbon will draw expert and amateur climbers throughout the year. The nearly three-acre play landscape is envisioned as a creative environment that stimulates the mind and body while supporting varied opportunities for social interaction and will provide children of all ages diverse opportunities for fun, adventure, exploration, and learning. Nichole stated that the Play Garden consists of five separate areas: the Lagoon, the Enchanted Forest, the Wave Lawn, the Towers & Bridge, and the Sea.
Ms. Sheehan concluded by stating that the Skating Ribbon and the majority of the Play Garden would open to the public on December 13, with the remainder opening in the spring of 2015, and asked if there were any questions.
Eileen LaCario asked if the portions of the park that open in the winter would remain open through the spring. Nichole replied that the portions that open will not close again, and that opening the skating ribbon was the first priority.
Ernie Wong asked the total acreage of the park. Nichole replied that the total acreage is just over 25.2 acres.
There were no further questions, and Nora Daley opened the floor for CAC member announcements. As there were no announcements, Nora Daley adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Sue Vopicka