DUNNING — The 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project may have to change its name.
Announced last year as part of the Year of Public Art initiative, the city project promised to fund at least one sculpture or mural in each of the city's 50 wards — "every nook and cranny of the city of Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in June.
"I would be open to do it," Sposato said. "But no one ever came to me and said 'We have a great place, we have a great artist here.'"
The alderman also said his ward, a bungalow-lined city frontier stretching from West Portage Park to the O'Hare neighborhood, may not be the best home for chin-stroking art fixtures.
"We don't really have big murals, we don't have viaducts," the alderman said. "You can't just say 'Do it' — you have to have a place in mind."
In June, when Emanuel announced the names of 35 artists commissioned to work in different wards — including four on the city's Far Northwest Side — city officials said the remaining 15 wards were waiting to finalize details.
The Year of Public Art program allows aldermen to spend $10,000 from their own discretionary budgets to fund a project, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by city funds.
But those budgets, comprising about $1.3 million, are usually reserved for road resurfacing and sidewalk repair — two endeavors Sposato is wary of shortchanging, he said.
"It's not like I'm turning down a free thing here," Sposato said of the art program. "It costs me money, and is that the best way I can spend 10 grand? I don't know."