Monday, June 8, 2009

Foster Avenue Bricolage

We went past the Foster Avenue underpass over the weekend to check out how the new Native American-themed bricolage is coming along. The designs on both sides of the bridge have been traced in, and it looks like it's going to be as eye-catching as the bricolage at Bryn Mawr (below). All this is being done under the guidance of Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward), with the assistance of the artists at Alternatives. Apparently the actual installation will happen in the next month or so. (click to enlarge all photos to see the details.)

Update: Read more about the bricolage and its meaning in the Tribune, here.


  1. Gee, wouldn't it nice if both the Wilson & Montrose ave underpasses began looking as nice as this? but then Helen is not Mary Ann, unfortunately.

  2. even if our alderskunk had any interest in allowing the alternatives students to create a "bricolage" mural on any of the uptown underpasses, the concrete is so brittle and decrepit that the installations would surely fall to pieces within a few months.

  3. The Bryn Mawr underpass is gorgeous. One can't help but stop to appreciate it when walking by. I'm thrilled that Mary Ann Smith is facilitating similar art at Foster - good for her, and good for Alternatives for making this happen!

    For those who live in the southern part of Uptown and may not have seen Bryn Mawr's bricolage, it's definitely worth a walk along the lake.

  4. It for sure would be a added feature for our Uptown area but as Michael says the concrete is all ruined from age and neglect. Anyway also ruined from age and neglect is our Helen Shiller who could care less and would never raise a finger to start such a project........

  5. I seem to remember that there are funds to be used for rebuilding the viaducts at Wilson and Lawrence. You know, the ones that are so decrepit that they're being held up by big concrete supports. Maybe when those are rebuilt, at some point we could have bricolages there. In the meantime, we can enjoy Bryn Mawr and Foster.

  6. The muralis more like a memorial, as many of the Native Americans that USED to live in Uptown have had to move out of Uptown...Sheridan Park, for example, saw its American Indian population cut in half between 1990 and 2000.

  7. They "had" to move, JP? By law? By order of the tribal council?

    Could it be that, like yourself, they chose to move out of Uptown and into other areas of the city or state or country? Hold onto your hat: That's what most people do. It's the rare family that lives in the same neighborhood generation after generation.

    Then there are people who take this basic fact of life and try to politicize it. Ahem.

    Tell the people who line up outside the American Indian Center each day for services that they're not really here. Read the Trib article and tell all the local Native Americans who contributed to the ideas behind the mural that they don't really exist here.

  8. TSN, do you know any American Indians in Uptown? Did they tellyou why they fellow American Indians moved out? Did they say if they wanted to stay, or were they happy to move?

    My "little brother", TJ, was forced out of his home a couple of times due to economics (and no option to buy).

    Sorry if it sounds personal...but that's because it is.

    As for those who go to the American Indian they really live in Uptown? Or is the Center like the other non-profits...attracting "outsiders" who don't live in the neighborhood, and seem to take more than they contribute.

  9. The population of half white/half Asian, passive aggressive, psychologically disordered, self-loathing, neighborhood stalkers, who claim to be Christian, and seem to have an attachment to the Uptown that existed on the day he moved here dropped 100 percent when JP Paulus moved.

    ..........and there was great rejoicing.

    For those of you who have not been around Uptown or this board for long JP is known as a "Christian Troll" who moved out of the neighborhood at the insistence of his wife. I'm guessing she did it at least partly because of his "obsession" with Uptown. It's clearly psychologically unhealthy and he appears here intermittently searching for "community".

    If you want to see how nutz he actually is check out this post and see comment #10 and beyond.

    If I were the owner of this blog I wouldn't post anything by JP Paulus. Fortunately, for this community I am not. Posts about hooker locations in Uptown would get annoying after awhile. By the way since our wonderful Cook County Sheriff, Tommy Dart, has decided to crack down on internet hookers and drive prostitution back to the streets where it belongs does anyone have the locations of any hooker sightings? I like to contribute to the local economy where I can.

    Don't worry JP. I'll call the hooker Mary Magdalene in memory of the few happy years you graced our Uptown neighborhood.

  10. JP Paulus' negative history with the BPN crowd aside, he does make a valid point about Native Americans in the most recent era and---of course---in Chicago in general. That is worth talking about for sure.

    But the idea that people "had to move" has not been proven except by lots of anecdotal evidence. The fact that they DID move, on the other hand, can't be denied. I doubt that TSN or IrishPirate would disagree with JP Paulus on that point.

    JP: Are you open to the range of explanations and causes for why the people in neighborhoods change over time? The gentrification story is just too linear for my taste. Things are messy and complicated.