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Trail as Living Art? Tuesday's Wicker Park Talk Spotlights '606' Visionary

By Alisa Hauser | September 8, 2014 3:22pm | Updated on September 8, 2014 4:43pm
 Frances Whitehead, the lead artist behind The 606 project.
Frances Whitehead, the lead artist behind The 606 project.
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Yoni Goldstein

WICKER PARK — Frances Whitehead, the lead artist for The 606, which includes the yet-to-open Bloomingdale Trail, is coming to Wicker Park Tuesday to discuss how the project's parks and trail will serve as "a living work of art."

The talk is scheduled 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at The Silver Room, 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The talk will focus on how Whitehead "has worked with the community and project design team to make The 606 a living work of art that connects parks, people and communities, creates a stage for live poetry, an observatory as a participatory lab and much more," organizers said.

Scheduled to open next summer, the elevated Bloomingdale Trail will span several neighborhoods — from the baby stroller-filled streets of Bucktown to Ridgeway Avenue in Humboldt Park — and will serve as the centerpiece of a larger system with six ground-level parks also known as "The 606.

Whitehead's concept includes an observatory, to be located at the western end of the trail at Ridgeway and Bloomingdale avenues in Humboldt Park.

Moderated by The Silver Room owner and Wicker Park artist Eric Williams, the conversation will also include Ellen Ryan, The Trust for Public Land's National Director for Creative Placemaking.

According to a news release, Ryan will discuss "how The 606 is a shining example of the strategic approach to Creative Placemaking" and contrast the project to other initiatives underway by The Trust for Public Land.

Creative Placemaking uses arts, culture and creativity to transform a place and improve community well-being, according to organizers of the talk, part of a series of monthly "Trail Mix" conversations launched in May by the Trust for Public Land, the city's lead private partner in the multimillion dollar project.

The evening will also feature photography from Chicago artist David Schalliol.

Originally inspired by a Flickr photo pool of Bloomingdale images, Schalliol's exhibit, Reframing Ruin: A Prelude to The Bloomingdale, was first displayed in 2011 at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Logan Square.

About Trail Mix:
The 606 Trail Mix Series is a free monthly series of family events and conversations about The 606 and its centerpiece, the Bloomingdale Trail. Presented by the Trust for Public Land, the event is free but registration is requested at The606.org.

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