Paschke art center planned for Jeff Park
by BRIAN NADIG
Organizers of a new mural at Lawrence and Avondale avenues honoring the late Chicago artist Ed Paschke have announced that a Paschke museum and learning center will be opening in the Jefferson Park business district in mid-2014.
The exact location of the museum will be announced in 90 days, but plans call for the “Ed Paschke Art Center” to be open in the business district by June 22, which would have been Paschke’s 75th birthday, said Lionel Rabb of the Rabb Family Foundation, which co-sponsored the mural with the 3M Company.
Paschke was a nationally known artist who belonged to a group called the imagists and who painted in a style that was influenced by abstract and expressionist art and by the pop art movement of the 1960s.
The center will include original works of Paschke that the Ed Paschke Foundation selected and an educational center that will allow visitors to learn about Paschke’s art form, Rabb said. Partners in the center include the Rabb and Paschke foundations, the School of the Art Institute, Northwestern University and 3M.
Jefferson Park was chosen for the center because Paschke lived on the Northwest Side and was known for promoting access to world-class art to blue-collar communities, Rabb said. The center initially will be housed in an existing building in Jefferson Park, but long-term plans call for the construction of a new facility in the area, he said.
A dozen of Paschke’s works are featured on the walls of the Union Pacific Railroad viaduct in the 5100 block of West Lawrence Avenue. The mural consists of digital reproductions which were transferred to a film wrap that was installed on the viaduct 3 weeks ago.
Organizers made sure that the film wrap, which was donated by 3M, is environmentally friendly, Rabb said. Initial plans called for the mural to be painted on the viaduct.
“The 3M Envision Wrap Films used to display the beautiful work of Ed Paschke are a 3M invention that sets a new level of performance for sustainability. The 3M Envision wrap films are phthalate-free, and made without the use of PVC using a unique 3M manufacturing process that uses less volatile organic compounds,” said 3M’s global head of sustainability Michele Whyle.
On the western entrance to the viaduct, a description of the mural has been painted on a space which formally had been occupied by a “Jazz, Jefferson Park” mural. A “welcome” to Jefferson Park sign is planned for the eastern entrance to the viaduct.
Meanwhile, the Rabb foundation is providing resources for a science and math-themed mural which Arts Alive 45, a local nonprofit, is planning to paint on the walls of a Union Pacific viaduct on Ainslie Street, just to the east of Lipps Avenue and south of the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal. The mural will include formulas that students use at school, said Cyd Smillie of Arts Alive.
“Hopefully every time a child walks under the viaduct, they’ll say, “Gosh, that is what I’m doing in school,’” Smillie said. Arts Alive is waiting on final approval from Union Pacific.