Rhyme of the Ancient Child

Title:  Rhyme of the Ancient Child

Site:  Lowell School
3320 W. Hirsch Street, Chicago

Artists: Olivia Gude and Juan Angel Chávez

Assistant: Salim Hurtado

Community Participants: Yesenia Arroyo, Lissette Colon, Luis Colon, Raul Hernandez, Keisha McKay, Yahaira Rodrguez, Aracelia Torres, and Melissa Warren

Sponsors:  Chicago Public Art Group and Youth Service Project

Year:  1998

Scale:  100 square feet

Materials: Glass tile

Information:  Rhyme of the Ancient Child features photographically realistic images of actual Lowell students depicted on a field of terra cotta colored tile. Instead of the more typical choice of a tile color to contrast with the building, the terra cotta color closely approximates the color of the bricks of Lowell School. The floral motif in the pediment is based on designs in the terracotta decorative brick work of the original architecture of the school.

In the United States, people often conceive of the choice in dealing with architecture as preservation of the exact look of the original building or of desecration or destruction. The series of school façade mosaics by CPAG artists points to the possibility of buildings that gradually accrue aesthetically appropriate alterations, making the buildings into community art landmarks that welcome children and parents into the school.

This doorway was designed to complement the content and to contrast the style of What do You Need to Know—the mosaic on the entranceway to the west.