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.
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.