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BOOK CLUB CHICAGO: WHAT’S UP WITH THE FUNKY TREES IN PALMER SQUARE PARK?

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The carved tree at the southeast corner of the park debuted sometime last summer or early fall, according to Hier. Called “A ‘maze’ ing Larvae of the Emerald Ash Boer,” the art has a similar message.

“The dying ash tree in Palmer Square Park is embellished with a maze carved into the trunk,” artist Janet Austin wrote in a statement.

“The maze is solved by starting at the bottom of the tree and winding up toward the branches. By following the tracks, one encounters several bronze larvae meandering up the tree. At the end of the tracks it becomes apparent that many bronze larvae are creating the maze and moving up into the bark.”

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Book Club Chicago, “What’s Up With The Funky Trees In Palmer Square Park?”, August 2018


abc 7: artists transform ‘sick and dying’ chicago trees

 

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Throughout city parks, the Chicago Tree Project commissions transformations of trees that would otherwise be cut down, turning them into public artworks.

"Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors will transform a variety of trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community," said a release on the project's website about the annual effort.

In Palmer Square Park, artist Carrie Fischer put "The Helping Hand" into place Friday. This massive concrete hand is wrapped around a tree trunk and will have over-sized Emerald Ash Borer Beetles surrounding it. Those beetles are in large part the impetus for this project, having eaten through city trees according to a placard next to Janet Austin's "The A'maze'ing Larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer."

Steve Gaeth, another artist, hammered away at his project across the park's grassy space.

Their creations are among more than two dozen spread throughout the city.

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ABC 7, “Artists Transform ‘Sick and Dying’ Chicago Trees”, August 2018


THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: PUBLIC ART ISN’T ALWAYS MEANT TO BE PERMANENT

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Sculptor Janet Austin of Evanston has lent pieces to art-loan programs in Evanston, Chicago, Skokie, Ill., and Michigan City, Ind. Between 2014 and 2018, she says she received about $22,000 from the various programs.

“These programs have been great for me,” Ms. Austin says. “It isn’t difficult for people who might want to commission me to see my work, and it proves that my work is suitable for the outdoors.”

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The Wall Street Journal, “Public Art Isn’t Always Meant to be Permanent”, June 2018


WGN 9: Trees saved from chainsaw turned into art on Lake Shore Drive

 

Artists were handpicked by Chicago Sculpture International, who wanted the trees to represent an array of different styles and messages.

"We're not looking for a common theme. We're looking for what they're doing with the tree that will make their work shine and have an interaction with the public too," said Janet Austin, Chicago Sculpture International.

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WGN 9, “Trees Saved from Chainsaw Turned into Art on Lake Shore Drive, June 2018


hyperallergic: Chicago’s Plan for Sick Trees, Turn Them into Art

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By now, with the temperature dropping, most of this year’s artists have already finished their trees or will soon complete them. On a recent Thursday, I watched artist Janet Austin and her assistant work on a tall ash tree on the edge of Palmer Square Park. They had debarked the tree in September and were carving a maze that wraps around its naked truck — a design that nods to the winding tracks, known as galleries, that emerald ash borer larvae make when they feed beneath bark. Austin also created about a dozen bronze sculptures of the larvae that she was going to embed into the tracks, so the final piece literally depicts the tree under attack.

“Artists are addressing it in all different ways, but I like this topic because it happens to relate to my work,” she told Hyperallergic. “I often make art about pests or unwanted things that we’re trying to fight.” She pointed out another dying ash tree across the street, its tall branches nearly all naked. “One problem is that a lot of ash trees were planted many years ago, along all these boulevards and in all of the parks,” she said. “If the lesson is anything, it’s that we’ll be more careful with biodiversity so [the beetles] just can’t hop from one to the next and kill so rampantly.”

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Hyperallergic, “Chicago’s Plan for Sick Trees: Turn Them Into Art”, October 2017


MODERN LUXURY NORTH SHORE MAGAZINE: FEATURED ARTIST

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Modern Luxury (North Shore), Featured Artist, January 2017


WOMEN SCULPTORS OF CHICAGO: DCASE, ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE GRANT

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Women Sculptors of Chicago, DCASE, Artist-In-Residence Grant, March 2016


lincoln park zoo: mr. big beetle finds his way

  Lincoln Park Zoo Catalog, Mr. Big Beetle Finds His Way, May 2015

Lincoln Park Zoo Catalog, Mr. Big Beetle Finds His Way, May 2015


evanston magazine: featured artist

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Evanston Magazine, Featured Artist, June 2015


lillstreet gallery: no fear

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Lillstreet Gallery, No Fear, May 2015


concrete international: featured artist

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Concrete International, Featured Work with Scott System, June 2003


denver and the west: featured article

The Denver Post, Montclair Academy, June 1999