Home > Chicago, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > 2012 49th Ward Mural Competition Controversy Continues

2012 49th Ward Mural Competition Controversy Continues

I am re-blogging this from Facebook.  I ran into the described “non-viable mural” exhibit at the Glenwood Arts Festival but did not know about it in advance, otherwise I would have had time to participate.  There has been a bit of social media chatter about the removal of the public from voting in the 2012 mural competition for the 49th Ward.  I hope this coalesces into public action, preferably with the winners being revoked and the selection process being renewed with a public vote.  

I have received no response from my email sent August 4, 2012 protesting the selection and the removal of the public from voting.  Other parties reporting on Facebook indicate they have not received any response either and are likewise being ignored by the office of Ald. Joe Moore.  Failure to communicate is removing the option for more diplomatic solutions at the risk of provoking the aggrieved parties into protesting or other more public actions.

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Underpass Selection Process?

by Gretchen Hasse on Saturday, 18 August 2012 at 09:44 ·

The 2012 Rogers Park Participatory Budget Mural Project Request for Proposals (RFP) stated:

“Submissions will be reviewed by a selection panel of art and public art specialists who will choose semi-finalists. Winning artists will then be chosen through a community vote to paint their murals on underpasses located at  multiple locations along CTA and Union Pacific lines.”

Two weeks after the submission deadline, the Alderman’s office sent an email to the participants who had not been selected.

This email stated, in part:

“After our Request For Proposals submission period ended on July 16, 2012, a panel of experienced, professional artists and art administrators  were assembled to review the entries – a job that was by no means easy. Using a scoring system that addressed a wide range of qualifying criteria,  each project submitted was reviewed, scored and ranked.  The 20 proposals receiving the highest scores were selected as winners of the competition.”

Apparently only 25 of roughly 120 submissions had been judged “viable” by the three person panel.  The Alderman’s office decided that this was not  enough to warrant the effort of a public vote.

“Viability” was not described anywhere in the RFP. Nor was the “wide range of qualifying criteria.” One could make one’s own guess as to what  either term means, and we would venture that a look through both the winning and the non-winning entries could bring up questions of “viability” in many cases.

The point is that the Alderman’s office presented this competition as part of the Participatory Budget program, which uses public funds in a publicly administered process. To abruptly cancel the public part of the process violates the Alderman’s own rules, and disrespects the spirit of Participatory Budgeting.

Since the public never got a chance to see the majority of the submissions, we created a “cartoon” (in the classic sense, meaning a model for a larger work), of our “non-viable” mural. We have also created a booklet including the original RFP, our entire application, and a printout of the winning entries. We will exhibit this at this weekend’s Glenwood Avenue Art Festival in Rogers Park.

It is our hope that this information will spark some dialog about the Participatory Budgeting projects, and how we can hold our elected officials more accountable to their commitment to public participation in this and other areas.

Diana Berek

Gretchen Hasse

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  1. August 21, 2012 at 7:06 am

    The display of our mural submission was intended to begin informing the community about the cancellation of the public vote this year. We would like to have a real exhibit of the design submission of all the other artists who were judged to be “non viable”, b ut thus far we only know of 8 (out of about 125 submissions) artists because the alderman’s office is not forthcoming with the list of submissions. So pelase spread the word that any artist who submitted a design and was not chose, can join this exhibit! at the B1e Gallery (6902 N. Glenwood) in October. October is Artist Month and this year’s theme is “Block by Block”. Since our 49th ward underpasses are, block by block, our mural arta perfect opportunity to at least show the public what we offered for a vote that didn’t happen. We would love for your design to be a part of the October exhibit Shellie!!! More details will come please contact me or Gretchen via FB.

    • August 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      OK will do. I will forward this to my friend whose design also got bounced.

      • August 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Fantastic! Thanks!

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