LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce unveiled four permanent art panels and a one-night-only interactive art installation Thursday to celebrate another season of the Low-Line Market.
The installation, called "Octopus' Graveyard" for the Beatles song "Octopus' Garden," was curated by local artists George Berlin, Stuart Hall, Abdel Morched and Alec Rudek with the goal of transforming the Southport Plaza into a multimedia underwater art experience.
"It's sort of like bringing a fun, underwater adventure to the CTA station," Berlin said. "We have a large octopus tent, we have several big jellyfish that you can come play with, and they jump around, we're going to have projection mapping on the tent, a big jellyfish animation on the tent and all kinds of other fun things."
"Some ideas we had in mind was to try to incorporate interactivity and creative public art into our design," artist Alec Rudek said. "We wanted to entice people to come up and actually touch the art and play with it and not be afraid to get close-up to it."
Children and adults alike marveled at the installation, which featured projection mapping and interactive displays with an under-the-sea theme.
The permanent art panels that were revealed Thursday are four of nearly two dozen that will line the entire Low-Line project from Paulina to Southport and will showcase rotating works of art. The first exhibit, called "Southport Style," features work by Chicago-based artist Sentrock, who has developed works that celebrate Southport and include some of his iconic characters.
"Today we celebrated the beginning of the unveiling of the Low-Line mural wall," said Dillon Goodson, community development manager for the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce. "We're lucky enough to have local artist Sentrock, who came and did these colorful characters and playful imagery celebrating the neighborhood."
The Low-Line project envisions a continuous half-mile walkway beneath the Brown Line that would connect Southport Avenue and Paulina Street. The project was introduced in the 2011 Lakeview Area Master Plan as a means of connecting the neighborhood’s subdistricts and beautifying the neighborhood.
The first phase of the plan has already seen improvements at Southport, including finer gravel on the ground, planters and tables and chairs, all of which are meant to make the plaza easier on the eyes.
The Paulina and Ashland plazas are also part of the first phase, and like Southport, they will be funded by Special Service Area 27, which collects an extra property tax to pay for basic services not provided by the city, including landscaping, holiday decorations and "placemaking" initiatives that would include the Low-Line. The first phase of construction will continue next year.
The second phase of the project will see the development of the pathway connecting Paulina and Ashland, and the third phase will consist of the pathway connecting Ashland and Southport.
The second and third phases will be funded by the non-profit Friends of Lakeview, which will solicit individual and corporate donations to see the project completed. There is currently no set timeline for those phases.