Home > Chicago, Rant, Uncategorized > City Orange

City Orange

Guest post by Jessica Lyn Howard

Originally published here

I submitted this design for consideration in the 49th Ward’s Underpass Competition.

It’s called City Orange, in homage to Chicago’s old sodium vapor lamps. They are slowly being replaced with the more energy-efficient ceramic metal-halide lamps. While I admire Chicago’s dedication to being green, I will miss the pervasiveness of the old orange glow. I feel I truly captured the essence of Chicago’s streetlights with this piece.

Sadly, my mural submission was not chosen as a winner.

I’m okay with that, for the most part. Firstly, I’m not entirely sure I wanted to actually paint the side of an underpass… it would be a LOT of work, and I’ve never done it before. Secondly, while the general concept and design were good, I’m disappointed with the execution of the rendering. I rushed it a bit, and upon review, I can see a few flaws that I’d like to fix before I try submitting this again or executing it full scale.

So given that I have no background in murals, and my submission was not even up to the snuff that I myself would like it to be, I’m not surprised that I was rejected.

However, on behalf of others who submitted some very nice designs indeed, I am EXTREMELY disappointed with the way that this competition was handled.

In 2010, the ward hosted another underpass competition. A panel chose from over 200 submissions and selected 24 finalists. Those 24 were brought to public vote, and 13 were accepted to grace the walls of the ward’s underpasses – to my mind, a very fair process!

This year, the panel received 122 submissions. The panel chose 20 winners, and did not offer the public a chance to vote (despite the wording in the original rfp). The panel consisted of three people, and they were the only ones given a say in selecting this array of public art.

My ward prides itself on Participatory Budgeting, a process by which the constituents of the ward can vote on what happens with funding that is earmarked for infrastructure improvements. The residents of the ward chose to have murals installed, and it’s disappointing that they were not given a say in choosing the art that will surround their daily lives.

Categories: Chicago, Rant, Uncategorized
  1. August 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    totally agree. How can you go about changing the system to a more fair competition? lets get on it, u down?

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