Monday, April 11, 2011

Uplift High School "Graff Art" Removed

A reader writes in:
"I noticed that the wall separating Uplift High School (at Wilson & Hazel) from the Jesus People complex has been sandblasted and almost all of the "graff art" they had installed has been removed. You can see a small portion on the far right in the photo that has yet to be removed. I hope they aren't doing this just to add it right back."


  1. Hope they fix up the north wall of Graceland Cemetery next...there's graffiti all the way down to Clark.

  2. I hope they walked over to the fantastic mural and sandblasted just that one small brick that has "the name that shall not be spoken but is/was alderman"face on it.. after all, the Dean of Students at Uplift did endorse Mark "Copwatch" Kaplan as well.. just incredible.. and sad...and last I checked it is our tax money that paid for it... you know, specifically, the folks that pay property tax pay for the school enviorns... just saying...

  3. I think they are getting ready to put up the Uplift High School Wall of Fame. In a few years some of those graduates of that mythical class where 100% went on to college will be graduating from college and do great things.

  4. Guys... speaking of Uplift... can you lift your eyes up to something more lofty than bashing what was a pretty cool school project? We enjoyed the artwork, as we enjoy the great artwork the school itself sports. If this is a new positive Uptown, let's make it one!

  5. i liked the artwork too. i hope they put something else up.

  6. Bashing, Jon?

    I didn't see any bashing.

    Does "mentioning" on UU equal "bashing" to you? Get positive, dude!

    Funny that you mention the bricolage:

    Since you proved the week before the election that you have infinite free time to be the de facto "UU Researcher and Scholar," you may have come across a few posts and comments about the Uplift bricolage. You may have noticed -- or not -- that the majority of posts and comments about it are overwhelmingly positive.

    Yet you say here that UU is bashing the bricolage? Funny, I see no one doing that here, or bashing the "graff wall," either. Do you like to invent things to get outraged about, or do you actually perceive any mention at all on this blog as "bashing"?

    Now, when the graff wall included the image of the great murderer Che, that was insane and deserved bashing. (I defer to my Cuban friends, who have been Uptown residents for far longer than you or I, and who lived with Che's bloody legacy, for that description.)

    If you're going to pour incessantly and compulsively over Uptown Update like it's papyrus at Nag Hammadi, all the while condemning the bloggers and commenters (who are, by the way, your neighbors and community members), please try to get over the kneejerk condemnations. You want to build bridges? Stop responding to "bashing" that doesn't actually exist.

  7. Not trying to be argumentative, but I refer to the text of the original post:

    Reader writes in: "I noticed that the wall separating Uplift High School (at Wilson & Hazel) from the Jesus People complex has been sandblasted and almost all of the "graff art" they had installed has been removed. You can see a small portion on the far right in the photo that has yet to be removed. I hope they aren't doing this just to add it right back."

    Sounds kinda negative to me... as were the first three comments to the post... the only comments there when I left my comment.

  8. Jon, you can't wait with these folks on UU. The least anyone on here can do is be honest about their distaste Helen Shiller and anyone/institution connected to her- including Uplift. If those students only knew that there was a group of adults that anonymously talked sh*t about them..

    And gg, you can't convince me that Guapo wasn't bashing.

  9. Hi, its Guapo.. .oddly enough I am very capable of speaking for myself...

    .. I love the bricolage. I think it is ridiculous and insulting Shiller is on it.... I do not think a wall of graffiti next to a school is attractive. As a point in fact, I call 311 on that stuff whenever possible.. it is not bashing. it is expressing an opinion. I think it looked horrible... and as someone that lives by Leland and Sheridan and has put up with years of fights on our corner,and seeing the destruction that is brought and the fear in a mothers eyes as she tries to shield her child from flying chairs ripped from the sidewalk from Cafe Too, I am no fan of the administration of Uplift. The Uplift Administration has never either reached out to us in this part of the community nor admitted there is an issue.. nothing. but the sound of crickets chirping. Much like Helens office the past few years over the same issue.. if that is bashing, I am guilty... but note what I am bashing and what I am not.. don't use such a broad brush (pun intended)

    So truestory, next time you have a question regarding one of my posts, feel free to address me directly. Enjoy the evening..

  10. Mr. Trott, it is time for you to get off your self-erected lofty, but wobbly, moral pedestal. You were rarely part of a positive or cooperative Uptown spirit and approach before the election, and you have much to atone for before anyone will seriously entertain your condescending pseudo-moral pronouncements now or in the future.

    Your divisive tactics and words cost you your paltry remaining credibility. You damaged the people who counted on you to advocate for them, and you went down ignobly in the flames you yourself ignited around your causes. You've been hoisted by your own petard and putrid pride. When you have cleared the stench of your prior distortions and made amends for your un-Christ-like attacks on your neighbors, some of us may consider your views seriously.

    Every time I read your comments, I remember the admonitions of my grandfather - a doctor and an ordained Methodist minister who was an early leader in Chicago of the Volunteers of America, a founder of Ravenswood Avenue's Hope Hall shelter, an early leader in Paul Rader's Lake View Tabernacle and Chicago's Pacific Garden Mission. He spent his life, as did my own parents, working with Chicago's poor, homeless, and destitute elderly. With Rev. Clarence H. Cobb of the South Side's First Church of Deliverance, he founded housing and programs for paroled offenders to gain a 2nd chance.

    He would warn you today about the special scorn that Christ heaped on the heads of the hypocrites and Pharisees who cloak their ego trips in religion and sanctimony.

  11. Lately I do not remark on comments that appear to blame Uplift for one thing or another, usually without a shred of proof because the comments pretty much fall on deaf ears. And I will admit my bias for Uplift if some of you will be honest and admit your bias against Uplift stems primarily from its connection with former Ald. Shiller.

    Now that we have a new alderman, how about we stop lumping all these kids together as a group? Uplift is our school and is working with all kids in our community. All these kids are not perfect, but I'm sure more than a few of these kids are working hard to be good students and good citizens. And P, your comment was needlessly snarky and mean.

    I have faith that Ald. Cappleman will reach out to Uplift and get to know better its administrators and students. Uplift has a website, and Uplift does not appear to be hiding itself from members of the community. Here is the link for those interested:

  12. Best UU post ever! Thank you Buena Parker! You're my hero.

  13. not exactly on topic, so i apologize. but in response to gg's comments about "the great murderer Che," how do you think many Native Americans feel about people like Andrew Jackson being pictured on US currency and how do you think some Central Americans feel about people like Ronald Regan having highways (and many other things) named in their honor? maybe those things deserve a little bashing too!

    Most of the Cubans i've talked with (people still living on the island) actually still think rather fondly of Che, not so much Fidel.

  14. That is a shame. I think that was one of the positives of Uplift.

  15. Buena Parker... don't know what to say to what amounts to massive upchuck of bilesque rhetoric aimed my way. Sorry for existing, I guess? I suspect ten minutes face to face would alter your and my perceptions of one another. But all there is between us are these angry words. Sad. I wonder if you like the anger as little as I do? If so, what can *we* do together to lessen it?

    Uptown Writer, thank you so much for the positive words re Uplift. I live next door to Uplift, and they've been good neighbors. Sure, the occasional after-school fight -- but of a variety reminiscent for the most part of the stupid but mostly harmless fights we had as kids. And we've had various interactions with the administration and kids of Uplift, virtually all of them positive.

  16. Jon -

    Who are you kidding regarding the violence at Uplift? While I do think the teachers at Uplift are trying their best to educate the kids enrolled, it is well documented that there is a significant gang violence problem at the end of the school day at Uplift. Ask the teachers the teachers at Uplift, neighbors who have dealt with fighting students on Sheridan, or the Chicago Police who routinely monitor the end of the school day at Uplift.

    I actually didn't think the violence at Uplift was that bad until a few weeks ago. I was walking around Sheridan Park, and spoke to a nice lady and her daughter. We were talking about the neighborhood, and she told me her daughter attends Kenwood Academy on the south side. I said, "that's a long way to travel to school," and the mother responded that her daughter used to attend Uplift, and she really liked the teachers, but feared for her life at the end of the school day. Her daughter was scared to walk home the THREE blocks that she lives from Uplift. But, she feels comfortable taking the train all the down to Kenwood everyday.

    I think we can all agree that Uplift is an asset to the community, but we can't be blind to some of the serious gang-related violence issues that are facing the student population.

  17. Cub, don't know what to say... we watch the Uplift kids come by pretty every day. While I wouldn't be surprised if the gangs are making a play for kids across the city, I've seen no particular evidence that this is a widespread problem at Uplift. Yes, the police "herd them along" after school, and maybe that's one reason they don't have more fussing. But I think to characterize Uplift as having a major problem with gangs may be overdoing it. That said, no one wants *any* gang activity in Uptown, or in Chicago. On that we certainly can agree.

  18. CR, gang violence issues confront a lot of public schools, and probably in particular those which do not have "selective" enrollment. It would be silly to pretend we do not have gangs in Uptown, and further silly to pretend that some of those kids do not attend Uplift, just as they attend public schools throughout this city. But the new Alderman hopefully will not try to demonize the whole school. I am suggesting we try spotlighting some of the good things, the good kids, the good conduct instead ofONLY turning our attention to Uplift when we think we can attach wrongdoing to it. I'm not suggesting we take a trip to la-la land. Just that we be fair. That's all.

  19. UW and Jon Trott -- If you guys seriously do not think that the violence is bad when the school lets out, please travel to the Lakeside and Sheridan area between 2-4 on a hot afternoon.

  20. How about another mural...bricolage or otherwise, dedicated to science and/or mathematics. A design with an academic "Uplift" theme, could that work?

    The final composition voted in by both resident (block clubs, condo boards, individuals, etc,)AND student groups alike since we all see and share it?

    There is support for public art throughout the community. When a large mural or other public art project suddenly appears some neighbors can feel visually "ambushed", fairly or unfairly it is not a good thing.

    Its just a thought....for a long wall.

  21. Jon Trott, your posts almost leave me speechless. Note I said almost.

    People like YOU are the problem. You make excuses for everything and hold no one, or child, accountable. Where I went to school there was NOTHING like the violence, beatings and property destruction I have personally witnessed from the Uplift kids (Yes, they are Uplift students unless gang bangers suddenly change into the Uplift High School uniform at 3pmish)

    I think Uplift is at the complete and total risk of being a complete failure because of people like you and the Uplift Administration. I can guarantee you, the true and visceral violence witnessed by hundreds of residents of Uptown, and Shillers complete and total inaction in order to placate people like you, is why Cappleman is alderman and not someone you would find more to your liking.

    Now, go find an excuse for the violent fighting at Cornerstone too and start spewing that bullcrap too.... geesh, you learned nothing from this election, did you...

  22. Uptown Arts - excellent idea!

  23. From what i've heard from various officers at CAPS meetings, the cops think Uplift is rather tame compared to the scene after school at other public high schools across the city.

    Not to condone any violence that might take place, but to talk like some of the problems at Uplift are unique to that school or this neighborhood is simply not accurate. I've also heard officers say the Uplift teachers do a good job after school of monitoring students.

  24. Now now children.

    I really enjoyed that mural. Skateboarding and 'Graf' go hand in hand, and as an avid skater, I am exposed to a lot of great artists. Graffiti is a polarizing topic; it is sad and unfortunate that gangbangers have forever tainted the image and intent of a great medium of art. That mural wasn't gang graffiti and was very visually appealing. I hope they replace it with another mural or allow local artists to compete for the space.

  25. Ron - unacceptable is unacceptable. Such gang violence after school should not be tolerated in Uptown just because its "not as bad" as it is elsewhere. That's an absurd argument.

  26. Just to clarify re the wall.. it is JPUSA's wall. Uplift asked if they could do their art on it, we said yes, and it turned out wonderfully in our opinion. In fact until now I'd not heard any negative commentary on the wall, from anyone.

    Re your comments, Guapo, if something I did made Uplift what it is, I'm glad. But I doubt anything I've done has greatly shaped that school. Again, I'm pretty much fascinated with the continuing level of hostility. Is this level of nasty just how it is going to be no matter who is Alderperson? I was sort of hoping we could leave that behind.

  27. Ron - I agree that gang violence is worse at other Chicago high school than at Uplift. As a community, I think we should have zero tolerance for gang recruiting, activity and violence in our community. I don't want to settle for "it could be worse" - I want our community to be an example of diverse community that is safe for all people - regardless of skin color, economic class, religion, age or sexual orientation.

    We do need to work WITH Uplift administrators and teachers to ensure the safety of students, teachers and neighbors. If removing this mural is symbolic of erasing the past divisiveness of the community, I commend the school for taking this action.

  28. Jon Trott, you spew hate and bile for 20 years , continue to make excuses for violence , and just annoy me... and you will probably for years... so I have two questions..

    1. Did you have the proper permits to build that wall? I guess we will find out now that you brought it up.

    2. Do you pay any property taxes that support that school? Any property taxes at all? I do... thousands and thousands..

    So, John Trott, there are two simple Yes or No questions... lets see how this is spun...

  29. The wall predates JPUSA owning the building. JPUSA members do pay taxes. I'm so sorry you are angry, and have to disagree that I've "spewed hate" for 20 years. Or even one. I've frankly, strongly, disagreed with some of the views here, as well as the overall (except I'd note for those of us who tend to disagree more often than not) the anonymous postings. Anonymity leads to irresponsibility in what one says. If you were looking at me, face to face, you would moderate your choice of words because you would almost instinctively recognize our shared humanity. Both of us have joys and sorrows. Both of us desire good. We sometimes disagree on how to arrive at that good. But demonizing one another will certainly not get us to that good. Hate does not produce love. What is the goal here? Seriously. What is the goal of those posting on Uptown Update? Will that goal be met by vilifying those with whom you disagree? Yes, I myself remain angry over statements made about Helen Shiller (the infamous "Shitler" postings being foremost in my mind). But at some point, we will all have to let go of that respective anger each of us holds.... unless we just want to keep Uptown the way it is -- a polarized community.

  30. Jesus, people! Jon, your "peace, love, kumbaya" shtick might play better if you hadn't spent the entire week prior to the election foaming at the keyboard, demonizing and dissecting the alderman-elect. To innocently blink and smile and condemn polarization is a bit twee at this point, not to mention hypocritical.

    BTW, the "Shitler" posts you find so objectionable were posted by a rabid supporter of Michael Carroll who has since moved away from Uptown. Yet you continue to hammer away at it, ad nauseum. Perhaps you should hire a PI so you can trace Moosh and harangue her long-distance.

    Uptown is looking to the future, and you're fixated on posts by a former resident and the accomplishments of a soon-to-be-former alderman. Yawn. Look to the future and what Uptown can be. Join the rest of Uptown, Jon! The outlook is bright and sunny! Come to CAPS, hang out at a block party, join us when positive loitering starts up again, drink a beer at Driftwood, come play trivia at Crew or O'Shaugnesseys.

    In the meantime, I believe this post was originally about art on a wall being removed. So, what's going on the wall? Enquiring minds want to know.

  31. Caring Neighbor....

    I hesitate to even discuss the "Shitler" posts anymore... but since perhaps we must in order to move on... If it was one commenter, happened once, and was reproved by others, I'd have been less offended. But it happened over a period of years and others did pick up the label and repeat it (check the thread about Helen choosing not to run again for a few examples). But I said I was *not* going to dwell there... on we go.

    Re my posts on Blue Christian, they were posts about one specific set of topics. I don't recall targeting James' morals or his person; I was in favor of Molly. I lost, and intend to be supportive of James as he works to make Uptown a better place. Count on it.

    Re the wall... the kids are coming up with something, and if it is as nice as the last, I think we'll all be proud. The wall did need some repairs -- it dates back to the 1970s or earlier (I found an old Chicago Tribune article about both the wall and the side yard of 920 Wilson, back when "Chelsea House" was one of the nation's first inner city retirement villages). Have some other fun history of this immediate area I hope to post soon; if anyone's interested I'll pass on the links once it is up.

    I don't drink alcohol, but do drink way too much coffee. Starbucks, maybe? Let me know. As far as CAPS, I've gone in the past (was faithful back in the mid-2000s but admittedly lost the vision). I'll seriously think about starting to come again. Thanks.

  32. Jon,

    Come down off your cross - the few people who were once entertained by your martyr act are no longer relevant, or are no longer amused by you. You make more excuses for your behavior and for your uncivil attacks on your neighbors, and your presumptions about their motives, than a two-year old child caught in a cookie-stealing caper.

    Stop excusing your past divisiveness and justifying your past defamation of others with moral relativism while pleading that kumbaya be directed to you.

    In short, grow up. Stop whining for everyone else but you to demonstrate a new and positive spirit of cooperation, while you stay stuck in the familiar, if delusional, labyrinth of imagined slights to you and your heroes.

    You need to learn the difference between being a Christian and being a Charlatan, between humility and sanctimony. The rest of us see the difference pretty clearly.

    Take responsibility for your actions and your words, or change them.

  33. I find it utterly amazing that Jon Trott has the time and energy to comment all these times on a post about another groups art and the removal of it, when just one blog post beneath the post he is commenting on there are some rather serious actions that occurred in front of and involving the premises where his group occupies.

    Jon why are you fixated on defending and sparking controversy by commenting on a blog post that essentially has less to do with you and your group of "hopesters" than the one preceding it?

    I suppose it is to divert attention from a serious and chronic neighborhood problem that is under your immediate control.

  34. "p" -- We are directly mentioned in the post re the wall, which does belong to JPUSA. So it is hardly marginal for me to comment on it. Uplift, whom we allowed to paint the first mural there, was being criticized. We were also being criticized by default, since our permission allowed the artwork. I felt and continue to feel that was unwarranted and that the aesthetic tastes of some here could use improving (wink).

    The post re the shelter is unfortunate on a number of levels, not the least of which is the "spin" put on the incident by the poster. What happened is clear. One man starts a fight with another man, after being escorted out of the shelter. The security guard, who is not armed, wisely calls for back up. The police do come, the fracas between the two gents is defused (probably before the police actually arrived).

    This is where a needlessly antagonistic approach is highly unfortunate. What happened was not something that could have been foreseen unless folks at CCO are mind-readers. But extraordinary measures have been taken -- unilaterally -- by CCO to make Clifton a safe street. We pay the guards from already scarce funds.

    Doubtless if I had a video camera aimed at every doorway of every UU poster, I might find sixty seconds or so of something interesting to post with some sort of fairly shrill headline such as "Brawl."

    Again, what is the point here? Do you want to help CCO? Come on over! We can use the help! But if you only want to fault-find, there's always going to be something, just as there would be if I followed you or others here around with a video camera 24/7.

    I actually like it that the Recording folks have that camera there. I just wish there was more mutual regard involved. The video bordered on the same use of the camera made over the cigar / "break-in" during the campaign. Hopefully we might move past such reactions into common cause... or not. I'm hopeful the answer is "yes" rather than "no," but then the answer isn't mine to give at this point.

  35. Buena Parker... it is very difficult -- make that impossible -- to defend oneself from attacks on personal character. I have not so attacked you. I will not respond to such attacks. Re what is or is not Christian, I will leave that for you to work out with God as I attempt to do the same. I do find it strange that while I continue to attempt to deal with issues, some of the responses here continue to deal in personal attack. Again, I note for the record that this is made easier by anonymity. If anyone here would like to meet in person, I'm interested.

  36. This is turning into a circular conversation and I don't see an end in sight. Stick to topic, folks.

  37. I do find this all very amusing.

    I'm picturing the week prior to the election where Jon gets progressively more and more manic in his anti Cappleman posts. Whilst simultaneously dreaming of Molly winning the election by a margin less than the number of votes provided by JPUSA and hoping to reap the benefit of more aldermanic special treatment.

    That went all "poof" by around 8 PM last Tuesday.

    I almost have a belly laugh going picturing Jon posting here at the "Shitler" site. Not that I wouldn't have deleted the "shitler" comments for being over the top.

    In any case Jon, if you're going to post here how about less spin and more truth. You hired the guards at Cornerstone because of community pressure. It was hardly a unilateral decision on the part of Cornerstone. Just because you write something doesn't make it true.

    Now I hope that you and your group become better neighbors. I hope that we all become better neighbors, but as St Maximillian Pirate Kolbe said "No one in the world can alter the truth.

    All we an do is to seek it, find it, and live it."

    Then he said 'arrrrrrrrrgh'. Or not.

    In any case Jon I think Alderman Cappleman will treat your group fairly. I know you're not used to fair treatment because of your close alliance with the outgoing alderman, but you shall receive it.

    In the long run it may even prove better for your group and will certainly prove better for Uptown.

    Now as to Ron Durham's backhanded Che compliment I say thpppppt. Che "executed" children whose parents he deemed to be enemies of his revolution.

    It makes no difference that some Cubans prefer him over Castro. They were/are both bloodthirsty maniacs.

  38. Ip... topic? Don't make me cranky enough to lock the post. Thpppt. That's said with love and esteem, buckaroo.

  39. I have said it before and will say it again.

    " It is just hard to get people to talk about art in Uptown".

    We don't have a true community mural in Uptown.

    If this wall has dibs on it already I hope there is just one wall in Uptown we can all work together on. One day.

  40. Uptown Arts/Jeffrey,

    How about the wall of the cemetery between racine and clark? It is ugly as sin, blank as can be and could sure use some TLC.. and how awesome would it be to have a couple of blocks of bricolage.. not graffiti, but the bricolage..that would be awesome

  41. I actually walked into Uplift and asked about this the other day. The wall is being stripped so that it can be refaced and match the artwork on the oher walls - the pretty mirrored mosaics.

    If anyone is curious about what goes on at Uplift, I recommend walking in and asking how you can get involved. Volunteering and mentoring come to mind, but creative people can put all sorts of talents to good use for a school.

    Another thing about Uplift . . . It's what is called a citywide school. That means that the students who attend Uplift come from all over the city, not just Uptown. Moreover, students apply for acceptance there and admission is based on grades and test scores. The default attendance high school for students in Uptown is Senn (way up around Andersonville).

    These are just some things to think about when discussing Uplift.

  42. @Rob: I, for one, living right around the corner from Graceland's nice brick wall along Montrose, am quite happy with the color and texture of the existing brick. And I'm not too keen on the idea of "dressing up" a brick wall that complements the brick residential architecture of the adjoining historical Sheridan Park section of the neighborhood.

    On the OTHER hand, I get very tired of seeing the tags and grafitti on the wall along Graceland's east side--visible from the Red Line...and the constant grafitti on side of the Habitat building on Clifton (also visible from the Red Line). How about we "brickolage" the hell out THOSE and leave good enough alone?