West Chicago, Illinois: May 19, 2014 – It's time to take a stroll down Main Street, West Chicago to view some great works of public art. Assorted banners from the 2014 Community Art Banner Project, sponsored by the West Chicago Cultural Commission, will be on display through the summer and offer a creative look at the theme, (Bi)Cycle of Life.
The 2014 Banner Project dovetails with a historical exhibit currently on display at the City Museum. Both public exhibits are themed, (Bi)Cycle of Life, and focus on the introduction and evolution of cycling. Additionally, the play on words lends itself to interpretations on the broader theme of life cycles. Just as the wheels of a bicycle continue to roll, so do the seasons and time continue to turn.
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The following artists contributed to the Banner Project: Pamela Cather Keller, David Zavala, Alberto Paniaya, Jennifer Ralph, Peter Waterman, Mandy Jones, Lisa Stapella, Kathy Steere, Mitch Ralph, Judith Horsley, Uwe Gsedl and Mike Divelbiss. Here's what some of the artists are saying about the inspirations behind their work:
Parked by Judith Horsley - "It is very abstract and I'm not sure if everyone will see the bicycle at first, but it is there within the shadow of the gears and the wheel. There is serendipity to photography, as one must be in the right place at the right time with camera at the ready to capture the images that can come and go with the blink of an eye. At other times, I spend thoughtful minutes framing a subject, or I wait for what seems like hours for the sun to change the light angle or for an animal to come into view. For me photography is a meditation on the life and objects that surround me." ~Judith Horsley
Bi(te) Sicle by Kathy Steere – "Mmm... summer. Sticky, drippy, sloppy summer. Bi(te) Sicle brings to mind the freedom of childhood. Of riding bikes, catching fireflies, skinning knees. Running through the sprinkler, playing catch, chasing the ice cream truck. The challenge of finishing the two-sticked frozen treat before it melted in the heat and dripped all over. If you took a bite, you had a chance of staying clean. But where's the fun in that?!" ~Kathy Steere
Soul Cycle by Mandy Jones – "Since the theme is (Bi)cycle of Life, I felt that this was perfect to me because this is my son on a tricycle which is the first cycle, in the cycle of life of a bicycle. Also I road this same tricycle when I was his age at my grandparents which is where he was in that picture which are his great grandparents. So it again is another cycle of life within itself." ~Mandy Jones
Bicycle on a Path by Lisa Stapella – "My piece, Bicycle on a Path, was inspired by a hiking accident I was involved in 2 years ago. My left leg was shattered below the knee and I was on bed rest for almost four months, not knowing if I would be able to walk again normally. Prior to my accident, I utilized all the bike paths around the West Chicago area to bicycle, roller blade or walk. For my recovery, in my healing cycle, I got back on those same bike paths that had been so therapeutic for me in my healthy cycle. I can now walk normally, and I credit the paths, as well as the people on it who wished me well, for my recovery. So the West Chicago banner theme of Cycles, personally inspired me to create this abstract painting of a Bicycle on a Path. For me, this was a perfect blend of using my art and this community project for this reinvigorated cycle of my life." ~Lisa Stapella
Yule Ride by David Zavala – "I call my piece Yule Ride. I saw this awesome bike while walking through downtown Geneva last winter. The big, yellow, glowing cruiser immediately stood out to me when I saw it wrapped up in a ton of Christmas lights. I imagine this is what Santa Claus rides when he's not cruising in his big red Christmas sleigh." ~David Zavala
An Apple a Day by Uwe Gsedl – "I saw the old man buying the fruit from a farmer's truck and later selling it as a street vendor. He looked so happy and the fruit was so yellow..." ~Uwe Gsedl
Pulling by Peter Waterman – "The picture on the banner is taken on the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat located high in the Andes Mountain in the country of Bolivia. He (Peter) drove his cycle through it in 2010 and it was dry. It was also harrowing, his chain broke, and he was alone. However, he made it out with no real problems. So, this banner is Pulling but I like to call it Pulling for Life because that's what he literally was doing." ~Cheryl Waterman (mother of artist)
As has become a tradition of the Community Art Banner Project, a People's Choice Award winner will be selected at the end of the summer through ballots available the City Museum, City Hall and Gallery 200. The artist/banner receiving the most votes will be the winner. Also available at these locations will be maps showing the location and artist of each banner. This brochure is also available at www.westchicago.org.
The call for art for next year's banner project will be released shortly.