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Flossmoor to lease four new sculptures, move two, lose one in collection shuffle

Flossmoor’s rotational public art program is in line for a significant shake-up.

The Flossmoor Village Board voted unanimously on Monday, Feb. 7, to approve loan agreements for four new sculptures for its rotational public art program. The village’s Public Art Commission also plans to relocate two existing sculptures, while another piece is to leave the collection altogether.

“We’re bringing up more items probably this time around than we ever have before, and part of that is because we ended up having more applicants,” said Jeff Stevenson, who serves as a public art commissioner for Flossmoor.

The departing sculpture is Bruce Niemi’s Coming Together, located adjacent to the south commuter lot. The contract on that sculpture ended, according to a report to the board by Village Manager Bridget Wachtel.


Sam Spiczka’s Orion, currently in the Argyle Avenue traffic island, is to be moved to the east side of the library on an existing concrete slab. Hidle DeBruyne’s Reach for the Sky, currently in Highlands Park, is to move to Leavitt Park near Central Drive on a new pad, pending an intergovernmental agreement with the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.

Stevenson cited several reasons the Public Art Commission thought the pieces would be better served by the new locations. But he said it also simply helps to mix things up.

“When you move things around, it refreshes it,” Stevenson said. “People see it for the first time. They didn’t even know it was here.”

Joining the collection will be two sculptures by Jason Verbeek: Vertical Vegetation and Jacks. Vertical Vegetation is to replace Coming Together in the space adjacent to the south commuter lot, while Jacks may be installed on the east lawn outside of Western Avenue Elementary School near Vardon Lane and Western Avenue.

Flossmoor is also leasing two sculptures by Robert Oakley Gregory: La Trinidad and Atomic Splendor. The former is to be installed at the intersection of Western Avenue and Vardon Place, though a new cement pad is needed on school property. The latter is slated to replace Orion on the Argyle Avenue traffic island.

\Wachtel said placements are still pending approval by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District and Flossmoor School District 161 for the pieces proposed for their property. Stevenson added that the locations have been selected in part to promote all of the sculptures as a walking tour, with a mobile app adding to self-guided tours.

Wachtel added that the park district has indicated there are long-range plans to reconstruct Leavitt Park. If that happens while Reach for the Sky is there, the village is responsible for moving costs, according to Wachtel. But the village is already five months into a three-year agreement for that sculpture, so Wachtel thought the risk was “minimal.”

Wachtel wrote that the typical honorarium for sculptures is $3,000 on a three-year loan, but each artist included their respective second sculptures for an additional $1,000 apiece. Mayor Michelle Nelson added that the commission funds itself, paying the costs for sculptures through fundraisers. The village covers additional costs, such as the concrete pads installed for the art.

“Artists, if they’re bringing one sculpture to us, sometimes they’ll bring two for just a little bit more money,” Stevenson said. “So, we got a real great value.”

Other Business

●     Nelson issued a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month. In it, she called Flossmoor a community that is energized by diversity and inclusion; celebrates its differences; and is home to Black leaders in civic life, arts and entertainment, science, medicine, and other fields.

●     Nelson also read a resolution honoring Flossmoor resident Juanita Mitchell, who turned 110 years old on Dec. 15. Mitchell moved to Flossmoor when she was 85 and got involved with the Ballantrae Community Association and Beautification Committee, and continues to be a member of the Ballantrae Belles, according to the resolution.

●   Nelson appointed Jeanne Miller to Flossmoor’s Public Art Commission. Miller is the English Department chairperson at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, and has a passion for both visual and written arts, according to Nelson. The board voted unanimously to affirm the appointment. 

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