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Horses of Honor Trapped by Broken Elevator in Bridgeport

By Casey Cora | November 14, 2014 5:49am
 Two painted horses from the public art project are stuck inside the Zhou B Art Center.
Two painted horses from the public art project are stuck inside the Zhou B Art Center.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIDGEPORT — An elevator malfunction has trapped two Horses of Honor public art sculptures inside the Zhou B Art Center.

"The Zhou brothers took an old abandoned Spiegel warehouse, totally refurbished it and brought it back to life. That's the good news. The challenge is that the building is 100 years old," said Donna Bliss, a spokeswoman for the art gallery and studios at 1029 W. 35th St. 

Artist Jenny Learner, who's Horse of Honor contribution "Starlight" is stuck in her third floor studio, said she was "very disappointed" that her project — made possible by a hefty donation from the Choose Chicago tourism group — hasn't seen the light of day yet. 

"It's just stuck up there. It is what it is, I guess," she said.

A second horse by artist Francisco Rada is relegated to the art center's basement.

Both artists were relying on the building's large elevator, commonly used for transporting large artwork to different floors, to get the horses Downtown for public display. 

But a mechanical issue caused the elevator to break, and a quick repair wasn't possible because one old part needed to be completely rebuilt, Bliss said.

And there's no way to get the bulky fiberglass sculptures through the narrow staircases.

"The elevator is getting fixed, the parts are getting fabricated and the horses will be able to run free," Bliss said.

Meanwhile, a third artist, Diana Leviton Gondek, is using the gallery's main-floor bar and lounge area as a makeshift studio to complete her horse, a project commissioned by Ald. Ed Burke (14th).

The Horses of Honor project is a fundraiser for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which sends money to the families of fallen officers, supplies college funds for their children and helps pay for rehabilitation and other necessary care for officers who survive injuries.

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