Sculpture garden at Lawrence & Long in Jefferson Park opening June 11 during ‘Paschke in the Park’ event
by BRIAN NADIG
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new sculpture garden at 5374 W. Lawrence Ave. will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11, as part of the “Paschke in the Park” celebration from noon to 2 p.m. the same day at the Jefferson Memorial Park at Lawrence and Long avenues.
The garden is sponsored by the Chicago Art Center in partnership with the Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave., and the National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., which in late 2024 is scheduled to relocate to 5411 W. Higgins Ave. A zoning change to allow for the conversion of the former podiatry office into the veterans art museum is pending and could be approved this summer.
The Paschke center closed during the pandemic but is expected to reopen in June of next the year for what would have been the Chicago artist Paschke’s 85th birthday. The center will be undergoing a renovation and expansion following a zoning change that the City Council is expected to approve as early as this month.
The sculpture garden will include the works of Dr. Charles Smith, who is a Vietnam War veteran and has works on display at the veterans art museum. “His artistic expression is drawn from a lifetime of spontaneous and divinely inspired experiences lived,” the museum states on its Web site.
The garden, which opens to the public starting June 11, also will include a children’s area, walkways, shrubbery, a four-foot decorative aluminum fence and a large sculpture in its center in addition to other pieces of art throughout the garden, said Lionel Rabb, chairman of the veterans museum and co-founder of the Paschke art center.
The garden will be in place “for the foreseeable future,” but longterm plans call for the Chicago Art Center to open a museum on the parcel, where a house stood until a few years ago, Rabb said. The lot is located at the northeast corner of Lawrence and Long avenues, across from the Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.
The “Paschke in the Park” celebration will offer free activities for families, including air-brush tattoos, a coloring station, a petting zoo and bounce houses. The Jefferson Memorial Park Advisory Council asks families to sign up for the June 11 event on the council’s Facebook page.
Paschke became a nationally known artist who belonged to a group known as the imagists and who painted in a style influenced by the abstract and expressionist art and pop movement of the 1960s.