Artists Janet Austin and Emily Moorhead-Wallace want their art to not only grab the attention of residents, but have a functional and environmental purpose. Their latest sculpture also serves as a pollinator, serving the optimal housing needs of native pollinators, solitary bees and other insects.
âIn the urban environment, educating people about pollinators, as well as providing a place for those pollinators to nest, creates the best overall habitat for people and for wildlife,â Moorhead-Wallace said.
It is made of corten steel, which can rust on the outside without deteriorating. âIt’s going to last longer than we’re alive,â Austin said.
The structure of Ravenswood and Sunnyside avenues bears a “sick” in its tree form, Austin said, and features prints of butterflies, squirrels, bees and rabbits. The style of the engravings is borrowed from Craftsman architecture, which is very popular in the area.
The âPollinator Habitatâ is the final installation of the new Ravenswood Sculpture Garden. Established by the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Community Council, the Sculpture Garden is a series of six public works of art displayed in Ravenswood’s Industrial Hallway.
A hub for manufacturing during the industrial boom of the early 1900s, artists and businesses have since established themselves in the neighborhood and the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce wanted to reflect that with the project.
âArtists and other companies started coming to this industrial area where they could make noise and do whatever they wanted, and have a little more freedom here,â said Amy Czarkowski, project manager at the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. . âWe have a very, very strong arts-oriented community here along the hallway. And the sculptures are really for us to be able to highlight it.
Work on the Ravenswood Sculpture Garden began in 2019. Four of the six sculptures were commissioned for the project. A panel of arts professionals and local entrepreneurs selected the pieces from 60 proposals. Members of the community had a say in where the sculptures would be placed.
Ed Kaczmarek was part of the committee that chose the commissioned sculptures. The âpollinator gardenâ is located outside his business, the urban dog life center, in his community garden.
When Urban Pooch opened 11 years ago, it installed the Community Garden to âbe a good steward of the environmentâ and bring extra beauty to the neighborhood. The âPollinator Gardenâ sculpture does much the same.
âWe’ve just hit the crescendo, that our gardens are eco-friendly, just like the sculpture. Even though it was not an ecological sculpture, we want to promote the beauty of the neighborhood to get people to explore it, âKaczmarek said. âRavenswood is a neighborhood worth exploring.