497-322 Chicago’s Year of Public Art — How Might a Solar Pyramid in Bronzeville Engage Communities to Think Differently?

Meeting Days/Time
Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 12:40 pm
Sari Gluckin (ID) (sari@wishthink.com) and Susan Stirling (ID) (susans846@gmail.com)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation

[Please note that this IPRO topic has changed from what was originally listed.]

The Challenge. The artist/designer/activist Shala has created a solar powered pyramid in Bronzeville as part of Chicago’s 50 x 50 Neighborhood Arts Project which is sponsoring a public art project in each of the city’s 50 wards. The pyramid, adorned with symbols and hieroglyphs designed by students across Chicago, is a power generator that rises out of a sculpture garden and glows at night. The class challenge is to create ways to build community and social innovation using this public pyramid as a starting point in Bronzeville and beyond. Please see the ComEd Solar Spotlight Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LFAjBGPOQA.

The Artist. Shala, a Nigerian born social impact artist, creates innovative solar-powered murals, sculptures and art. Traditionally, solar panels have been manufactured to maximize utility without considering aesthetics. His mission is to showcase the innate beauty of solar energy through stunning art; captivating the world’s imagination and ushering in the era of clean energy. He believes that by designing beautiful products that elegantly generate electricity, we can capture the hearts and minds of the world and naturally drive the mass adoption of clean energy.

The Chicago Project: Mayor Emanuel has deemed 2017 as the Year of Public Art in Chicago. And as part of the Year of Public Art, he has initiated new public art in each of the City’s 50 wards.

“The Year of Public Art is a celebration of the lasting contributions the arts make to communities across Chicago” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “In every neighborhood in Chicago there are talented artists, working across all mediums, who can add to the cultural fabric of their communities. The 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project is a $1 million investment in Chicago’s neighborhoods, building on Chicago’s legacy of public art and enabling local artists to share their work with the world.”

The city and representatives from Chicago’s cultural community created the final  pool of artists for wards to choose from. A select group of artists are working with DCASE (the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), the city’s Aldermen and residents to develop the public art scheduled to launch in fall 2017. Bronzeville has selected on Shala, one of its own residents, to install the solar powered mural outside the Gallery Guichard at Martin Luther King Boulevard and 47th Street.

The IPRO Project. The objective of this IPRO project is to design engaging experiences around the solar pyramid that inspire people to think differently about art, energy and Bronzeville:

  • How might we learn to use the “Five-E’s Experience” model (entice, enter, engage, exit, extend) to engage communities around the solar pyramid?
  • How might we spread the pyramid’s message beyond Bronzeville?
  • How can the experience in Bronzeville be distilled into a set of engagement principles for other public art projects across the city’s wards?

The IPRO team will learn and apply a variety of design methods to understand the needs of the Bronzeville community through a four-part plan:

  • Immerse in the Community: interview key community, civic and artistic leaders involved with the project (DCASE leads, 3rd Ward leaders, Shala and other local artists)
  • Gather Inspiration: study how other communities and institutions foster a deeper engagement around art and social change
  • Generate Ideas: explore how we might entice, engage and extend the experience of 50×50 in Bronzeville and across other wards
  • Prototype Concepts: demonstrate and share key concepts and ideas that promote community engagement around public art.

This IPRO project is undertaken in collaboration with Tricia Van Eck, founder of 6018 North. See http://www.6018north.org/ and http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2011/Rogue-Curator-Tricia-Van-Ecks-New-House-Gallery-and-Happiness-Project/.

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