5-foot ‘You Are Beautiful’ adorns Taft HS


Five-foot-tall letters which spell the phrase “You Are Beautiful” recently were installed on July 8 on the southwest corner of Taft High School, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

“It’s visible from the Kennedy Expressway. It’s right at the corner (of the building), so people coming in from “O’Hare can see it,” Taft principal Mark Grishaber said.

The installation is part of a project which artist Matthew Hoffman created almost 15 years ago in an attempt to send Chicago residents an uplifting, inspirational message.

Initial plans called for the phrase to appear on stickers, but Hoffman’s project now includes several public installations in the city. More than 2 million stickers with the phrase reportedly have been distributed internationally.

Hoffman oversaw the installation of the aluminum letters which he created for the project at Taft. The letters were bolted into the building’s exterior, just below the roofline.

The school’s art department came up with the idea to install the letters and raised the funds needed to pay the $3,500 cost of the installation, Grishaber said. Teacher Bridget Doherty-Trebing and student Brenda Arteaga co-wrote the proposal for the project.

It is too early to predict what type of reaction the display will generate, but he hopes that the “positive image” it creates will be well-received, Grishaber said shortly after the installation. “Remember the outrage from the Picasso (in the Loop). If anyone complains, I’ll just say the message wasn’t meant for you,” he quipped.