Levy Senior Center Mosaic








Title:  Levy Center Mosaic

  Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Avenue, Evanston, Illinois

Artists:  Ginny Sykes

  Julia Sowles, Maria Gaspar, Thuong Pham, Yen Luu

  Levy Senior Center, the Hulda B. and Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, and Chicago Public Art Group


Eight approximately 1 foot square insets and two 1 by 4 foot insets

glass tile mosaic inset in raised planting beds

Information: The Levy Senior Center of Evanston commissioned Ginny Sykes to create glass tile mosaic insets for a new garden and a new civic building. The space functions as an active garden area and a performance space, thus the panels will be a back drop to recitals and other performances. The garden can be seen from most of the inside of the building which encircles the courtyard. The landscape architect was Bill Schmit of Wolff Clements and Associates, with whom Sykes had worked before on the mosaics for Erie Terraces.

Design Narrative
The mosaics are of native flowers that have medicinal value, either in contemporary herbal medicine or in native folklore. The flowers were also chosen for their visual variety in terms of shape and color and for their seasonal blooming cycles.

Sykes met with seniors, both formally and informally, to get input on their ideas for the space and to show developing designs. The most significant information gathered was that seniors find their visual acuity diminishes with age and because of this wanted vibrant color so the mosaics could be seen
at a distance. The panels were designed so that the images would be legible from inside the building and through the glass to the courtyard, as well as having enough detail at close up view to keep
them interesting.

The small panels are simple graphic plant close ups and the horizontal panels are more frieze like
with multiple flowers in a landscape format. One of the panels bears the names of the donors. The panels are also designed so that at a future date the rest of the insets could possibly be added in a smooth transition.

The final results are aesthetically beautiful and enhance the garden so that even in the winter months there is the suggestion of colorful blooming.

Left panel from left to right

Jack in the Pulpit: Blooms: April-June
Treated: sore eyes, headache, snake bit, gas, ringworm, asthma

Michigan Lily: Blooms: July-August
Treated: snake and spider bites,
Edible bulb when cooked

Dayflower: (Center name panel) Blooms: June-October
Treated: aging men and women to increase potency

Yellow Lady Slipper: Blooms: May-July
Treated: tranquilizing, pain, female problems

Virginia Bluebells: Blooms: March-May
Treated: general tonic

Right panel from left to right

Spring Beauty: Blooms: March-May
Treated: food for salad, tubers for animals

Aster: Blooms: July-August
Treated: food source, fainting, insanity, mothers whose babies died, headache, used as a charm

Spatterdock (yellow pond lily): Blooms: May-October
Treated: arrest bleeding, diarrhea, leucorrhea

Indian Paintbrush: Blooms: May-August
Treated: colds, rheumatism, contraceptive tea, centipede bites, women’s ailments

Wild Garlic: Blooms: May-July
Treated: skin disorders, poultice, bee stings, fever, blood, lung parasites

Dutchman’s Breeches: Blooms: April-May
Treated: urinary tract, poultice