Site: Erie Terraces
North Branch of Chicago River at Erie Street, Chicago
Artists: Ginny Sykes
Assisting Artists: Julia Sowles, Janet Gould, and Karin Warch
Sponsors: Chicago Public Art Group and the Chicago Department of Transportation
Scale: 325 square feet
Materials: Glass tile mosaic
Information: The design reflects the dual nature of the site. The upper level reflects the geographical and ecological characteristics of the region surrounding the Chicago River area, pre-European settlement. The viewer is taken on a journey through various ecosystems. The style of the tile work suggests a layered transparency. It was achieved by a collage design process using theater gels.
The lower level reflects the dynamism of change to the area once commerce and trade, traffic and other competing interests began to dominate the river’s usage and Chicago’s greater development as a large industrial city gained velocity. There are multiple overlappings and abstractions of the themes which create a playful, dynamic circle of moving energy, and suggests a ‘birthing process’ or a source point for the river.