On Tues night, Sept 27, the City of Highland Park will be soliciting community feedback on its recommendation to dismantle our interactive public art memorial at St John’s & Central in its entirety by Oct 19th.
We remain hopeful the Council will vote to allow this collaborative expression to continue to evolve in its current location until a permanent memorial is established. As this sacred space has been created by the community, for the community, how it evolves should be decided in open dialogue with the public at large.
Whatever artistic shape it may take, it is vital that citizens are allowed to congregate and express themselves freely. This is what it means to live in an active, committed, and compassionate society. The aim is to move forward – not move on.
We appreciate some residents find the memorial challenging and we have been collaborating with the City Manager’s team over the past several weeks to explore creative solutions. Find a synopsis of these ideas below. Click here to find the detailed memorandum we shared with the City Manager on Sept 19th.
Art has the power to soothe squalls and empower action. As an HP resident, artist, activist, and mom who has suffered this unspeakable tragedy along with everyone else, I am humbled to walk alongside you in this moment.
In solidarity, Jacqueline
Come to the ‘Committee of the Whole’ to make your voice heard, 7 pm, Council Chambers, 1707 St. Johns Ave.
Synopsis of Collaborative Plan Presented to the City Council
We have heard from civic leaders, first responders, mental health professionals, victims’ families, leading public art professionals, local clergy, educational experts, journalists, special needs communities, and visitors from the community and across the country that the interactive public art memorial is resoundingly appropriate, therapeutic, beautiful, and impactful for all ages.
It is sacred.
It is safe.
It is attended to.
It is appropriate.
It is clean.
It is transitional.
It is needed.
That said, we appreciate that the city has heard some concerns and agree that it is in our collective interest to try to mitigate them as best we can. We are confident that community members can execute creative solutions to the four chief issues brought to our attention:
- Realistic representation of deceased
• Replace the altar portraits with softer, less representational images.
• Add QR codes linked to In memory Video Tributes
- Winter/inclement weather
• Transition to more weather-friendly decorations.
• Continue to remove items that are soiled.
• Since the pavilion is covered, yarn will weather beautifully for at least a year with minimal upkeep.
- Centrality & Visibility
• In a letter to the City, resident/esteemed public artist Donald Lipsky explains that the memorial’s centrality, visibility, and openness are precisely the ingredients that make it so successful.
• Moving the temporary memorial to a different location will effectively destroy the compassionate community that has been so lovingly built.
• The community has already begun transitioning to Roots to Leaves, signified by a broader color pallet, adding green for Renewal and blue for Sky/Highland Park Strong.
- Archival Needs
• Photograph notecards and artifacts and continue to remove those that are weathered.
• Continue to build the virtual companion memorial on HPpromise.org
The point is not the piece. The point is the process.
What’s at issue is the community’s ability to express itself positively at a time of profound grief. Visitors have added over 7,000 notecards to the pillars and written hundreds of cards to the Cooper family. In this sacred space, we have found solace and solidarity.
Whatever artistic shape the art installation may take, it is vital that citizens are allowed to congregate and express themselves freely. This is what it means to live in an active, committed, and compassionate society. The aim is to move forward – not move on.