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Rendering of Lynn Basa's Worker Cottage Parklet, courtesy of the artist (image courtesy of the artist).
Chicago artist Lynn Basa has received the largest public art commission in the history of the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods for Worker Cottage Parklet, a sculptural installation that pays homage to the traditional Chicago “worker cottages” frequently found in working- and middle-class neighborhoods in the nineteenth century. The $80,000 commission was awarded to Basa by Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area (WPB SSA) #33, the neighborhood’s business improvement district, after an extensive call for artists and jury process led by Chicago art professionals.
Basa’s Worker Cottage Parklet will be installed by July 2018 at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood. The intersection was redesigned in 2014 by the Chicago Department of Transportation in collaboration with WPB SSA #33 and 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno, to create a safer transit environment and develop a location specifically for a future public artwork.
“Every weekday morning, workers stream along Milwaukee Avenue to downtown Chicago, past many of the same buildings that were there 125 years ago—eyeing the bars, restaurants and shops they’ll visit in the evening as a reward for their labor,” said Basa. “In this way, Chicago workers sustain Milwaukee Avenue as it sustains them.”
Basa has completed more than 50 public and private site-specific commissions across the US, is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art and taught in the Sculpture department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“We are thrilled to bring Lynn Basa’s work to the Wicker Park neighborhood,” said WPB SSA #33 Arts Committee Chair David James Ginople. “Her Worker Cottage Parklet honors the history of our neighborhood and provides a place for today’s workers and artists to rest and reflect on the vibrant place we call home.”
Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33, one of more than 50 business improvement districts in the City of Chicago, is administered by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce and led by a volunteer Commission of SSA taxpayers approved by 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno, 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack. For more information, visit www.wickerparkbucktown.org.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts