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Flossmoor approves ‘Paradise’ sculpture for rotational art program 

The Flossmoor Village Board has approved a motion to include a new sculpture “Paradise” in the Flossmoor Public Art Rotational Sculpture Program.

The selected artwork is the creation of sculptor and painter Hubert Phipps. Phipps’s current body of work predominantly explores abstract forms as a means of artistic expression, devoid of social commentary, conceptual ideas or narratives.

“Paradise,” constructed entirely of bronze, consists of two distinct elements: the first is 9 feet tall and 7 1/2 feet long, while the second stands 7 feet tall and 3 3/4 feet long. The sculpture weighs 1 ½ tons and is estimated at $150,000. The artist, who splits his time between Middleburg, Virginia, and New York City, is willing to cover all expenses associated with transporting and installing the piece within Flossmoor.

Phipps draws inspiration from his upbringing in rural Virginia, specifically from the memories of a creek with a swimming hole and rock formations he and his sister fondly called Paradise. Flossmoor Public Art Commission Chair Nancy Burrows stated, “In ‘Paradise’ you see a powerful shape that is both otherworldly and earth-bound. It is organic and muscular. It reveals a creative energy that knows no bounds.” 

Burrows expressed that it wasn’t only Phipps’ unique sense of creativity that drew the commission in but also the viewer’s feelings and creativity that are inspired by the art. 

The board shared their support and praise for the new piece and all the hard work the commission puts in to enhance the village. 

The commission has proposed the placement of “Paradise” on the land behind the existing Richard Hunt piece in Leavitt Park. However, accommodating the artwork would necessitate the creation of a new pad in Leavitt Park, an estimated cost of $1,200 for the village. Trustee Gary Daggett inquired about the size of the 15 by 15-foot concrete pad, stating that if large enough, the pad can be used again for a new or rotational piece. 

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The sculpture tour will start in the traffic island in downtown Flossmoor.

The commission also requests that the village manager make an agreement with artist Hubert Phipps, ensuring the sculpture’s placement within the village and providing a $3,000 honorarium for a three-year lease.

Residents can view the village’s expansive rotational and permanent collection through the Sculpture Tour on Wednesday, June 28, at 6 p.m. at the sculpture in the island in the center of downtown Flossmoor.

In other action:

  • The village board declared June 2023 as Black Music Month. As the village commemorates Black music, its origins and its impact, Flossmoor residents are encouraged to learn about Black Music Month and celebrate it by honoring and promoting It.
  • Mayor Michelle Nelson and the Board of Trustees passed a resolution honoring retiring Executive Director Debbie Kopas in recognition of her 32 years of dedicated service to the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.

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