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Humboldt Park Tree Reclaimed Via Outdoor Art Exhibit

By Darryl Holliday | July 11, 2014 8:00am | Updated on July 11, 2014 10:11am
 A nearly finished work of art in Humboldt Park is aimed at reclaiming trees hit by Emerald Ash Borer.
A nearly finished work of art in Humboldt Park is aimed at reclaiming trees hit by Emerald Ash Borer.
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Jyoti Srivastava

HUMBOLDT PARK — A nearly finished outdoor work of art in Humboldt Park is aimed at reclaiming dead or dying trees hit by the Emerald Ash Borer.

Mia Capodilup’s mixed-media Honey Locust tree is next to the Humboldt Park boat house and will be completed Friday. Her work involved wrapping a tree in materials including yellow and orange rope, tubing, various cords and a fire hose.

“This has been an exciting project for me because I have never worked on such a large scale or so directly with nature. I usually create indoor sculptures and installations, often using whole rooms, but nothing of this size,” Capodilup said.

The installation is part of the summer-long Chicago Tree Project, a collaboration between Chicago Sculpture International and the Chicago Park District, designed to expand the reach of public art in Chicago by transforming a variety of trees into whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community, according to the sculpture organization.

At least 10 trees will be transformed through the summer in neighborhoods around the city such as Jackson Park, Bridgeport, Lincoln Park, Edison Park, Belmont Cragin, Marquette Park, South Chicago and Washington Park.

Chicago Sculpture International "has provided several installations of public art in and around Humboldt Park, including artworks installed on Independence Boulevard, Western and California Avenues for 'The Boulevard Show' and most recently this piece as part of the citywide Tree Project,” said  Eric Stephenson, an artist and president of the sculpture group. “All of these projects have been well-received by the communities and we feel the exposure to public art can have a positive impact on neighborhoods across Chicago.”

The Honey Locust tree is about 30 feet tall and overlooks the boat house on its southern side. On Thursday, the site was used as a post-wedding photo shoot as neighborhood residents biked, walked, swam and sat along the 219-acre park.

Capodilup said she was able to take in the in neighborhood’s culture and diversity firsthand as she worked on the Honey Locust tree.

“I enjoy the setting because it allows me to interact with a much wider audience than would see my work in a gallery or museum, and to learn about Humboldt Park and its history and residents and see all the amazing cultural, athletic and social events going on there,” she said. “Even though I have lived in Chicago for a long time, I never realized what an important resource it is.”

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