HP Promise

An evolving, interactive, public art memorial in response to the July 4th Highland Park shooting

In the face of unspeakable tragedy, good people transformed the humble corner of St. John’s & Central into an organic, evolving, community-driven art and music expression that spoke to the heart of humanity.

At the City’s behest, the activation nurtured here must move forward elsewhere. Of course, elements will be documented, but the piece is not the point. The point is the process. What we’ve created will endure.

For so many of us, this sacred memorial, as both noun and verb, has offered hope and healing, place and purpose – a way forward. 

Undoubtedly, this path must turn our collective anguish into action. The road marks are clear. Of all the lessons of July 4th, perhaps the greatest is this: The path ahead – whatever the incline – is one we must walk together.

A tiny placard in front of the altars read,
Leave what you want. Take what you need. 
That invocation remains. 



With heavy hearts, organizers and victims’ families removed the installation on October 9th. A community expression that took three months to build came down in just over three hours.

Continued Impact

The Arts Memorial inspired a children’s book, a symphony, and two documentary films.

After the Covenant School Shooting, contents traveled to Tenessee to spark an Arts Memorial with the Museum of Contemporary Art Nashville. The grassroots expression helped amplify the Special Session and continues to inspire a statewide campaign where people put orange chairs in front of their homes.

Half the contents returned to Chicago for an installation at the Parliament of the World’s Religions; the other half continues to evolve in Nashville.

While it’s uncertain where the collective expression will go next, one thing is clear: In the name of Jacki, Stephen, Eduardo, Nicolas, Kevin, and Irina – and the thousands who have added their voice – we vow to continue to leverage the work to drive systemic change.

sign in front of altars

The piece is not the point. The point is the process.

Created with the humblest of materials – yarn, twine, chalk, and strips of torn fabric — the community expression represents our enduring spirit, radical resilience, and unwavering commitment to end gun violence in America.

A Sense of Place

 Through our collective journey, the HP memorial created a haven for healing and empowerment – a place that gave our heartbroken community somewhere to come, create, and commune in a productive, deeply connected way.

This space represented our interconnectedness.
It represented hope.
It invited visitors to commune with their grief, connect with each other, celebrate the lives we’ve lost, and create something meaningful to leave in our wake. 

Here, you left feeling more hopeful than when you arrived.
Here, we transformed our pain into poetry. 

May it serve as a model for other tragedy-torn communities to co-create healing and change in togetherness, art, and connection. 

May it fertilize the soil of our community with hope, action, and peace so we can sow blooms of change, healing, togetherness, and triumph.

Art to Action

For so many of us, the memorial, as both noun and verb, offered a place and a purpose – a way forward.

Undoubtedly, this path must turn our collective anguish into action. The road marks are clear. For nearly a decade, our city has been fighting for sane gun control. Following Sandy Hook in 2012, the Highland Park City Council courageously passed an assault weapons ban, long after a federal ban expired. After the July 4th shooting, it unanimously passed a still broader resolution calling for a nationwide ban on what can only be classified as weapons of war.

In the name of Katherine Goldstein, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, Jacki Sundheim, Stephen Straus, Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, Eduardo Uvaldo, and the hundreds of thousands of souls who have senselessly lost their lives to gun violence, we vow to keep our promise. And We. Will. Win.

4 Easy Ways to Help the Cause


Post a pic or video
to Instagram or Twitter
to add your voice to our memorial

The July 4th

Highland Park Shooting Fund
benefits victims & victim's families
Beaded Swag

Buy Beads

Local Artist Jennifer Blumberg
gives 100% of proceedes
to the July 4th Fund
phone congress

Capitol Switchboard

Make your voice heard
Gift the book

Hopeful Hearts in Highland Park

A Story of the Highland Park July 4th Parade
by Maggie Schmieder

Soul Soothing Music

This happening is happening.

Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza loved music. His adoring family contributed this signed uke in his memory.

The mighty Universe gifted soul-soothing music to our little park nightly.
Always spontaneous.
Always free.
All light & love.

Click here to meet the extraordinary artists who have brought their best selves.

Roger Sosa ♥︎ Lynda Hope ♥︎ Steve Zane ♥︎ Jeff Justman ♥︎ Louie Zagoras ♥︎ Ira Sussman ♥︎ Eric Howell ♥︎ Saraswathi ♥︎ Carlos ♥︎ Jodi & Ken Koplin ♥︎ Dana Marie ♥︎ Rich Steiner & Second-Hand Tunes ♥︎ Robin Garber ♥︎ Emma Smoler ♥︎ Michael Mahany ♥︎ Bill Pantle ♥︎ Lara Driscoll & Will Wiegler ♥︎ Derrick Procell ♥︎ Mike Arturi ♥︎ Kevin Spica ♥︎ Roger Sosa & John Manos ♥︎ Liz Mandeville ♥︎ Strings from Old Town School of Music ♥︎ Matt Lincoln & Andy Peterson ♥︎ Andrew Scott Denlinger ♥︎ Justyna Biala ♥︎ Bill Kidera ♥︎ Dana Maragos ♥︎ Cary Cohen & Eric Butler ♥︎ Mitch the Lip & Derrick Procell ♥︎ Allison Zabelin ♥︎ Cantor Jay O’Brian ♥︎ Baby No Name ♥︎ Rent Party ♥︎ Matt Feddermann ♥︎ Win Noll & The Rockin’ Souls with Minoru Maruyama ♥︎ Shoji Naito ♥︎ Benjamin Herst ♥︎ Bobby Remington & Dawn Patrol ♥︎ Nicholas Barron ♥︎ EBJ Band ♥︎ Marcus Newman & Dicky Paul ♥︎ Guy Meets Girl: Cody & Alyssa Hochstatter ♥︎ Terrapin Flyer’s Josh Olken with Cary Cohen & Cat Rolfes ♥︎ Ami Saraiya & Zach Duenow ♥︎ Ad Roc Committee ♥︎ 20 Strings of Gray: Chris Dougherty, Dan Yohanna, Loren Newman, Mike Mattenson & Marty Sobelman ♥︎ Daniel Gordon & Tom Cutler ♥︎ Bobby Remington ♥︎ Greg Nelson ♥︎ Kristi Kemper ♥︎ Ted Ribbens/Dawn Patrol ♥︎ Mike Mattenson ♥︎ Mike Resnick ♥︎ Chris Dougherty ♥︎ Will Wiegler Cover to Cover ♥︎ Earl Rosen’s Blues Buddies with Jan James, Craig Calvert, Laurie Canaan ♥︎

Musicians who intended to play but didn’t due to reasons beyond their control, thanks to Lynette & Suede ♥︎ Steve Kessler ♥︎ Julian Solway ♥︎ Sheila Pepple ♥︎ Alfredo Sanchez ♥︎ Luis Delgardo ♥︎ Chris Alvarado ♥︎ Marc Rodriguez ♥︎ Ira Sussman ♥︎ Jason Berger ♥︎ Vicky Weisbart ♥︎ Dicky Paull ♥︎ John McCormack


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