This mosaic is a permanent, public art commemoration of a significant ephemeral public art form—the community garden. The North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago has an active tradition of transforming abandoned urban spaces into neighborhood amenities. Those dedicated to this task describe their work as turning “blight into sight.”
With the assistance of the Small Grants Foundation, a grassroots support group, Olivia Gude held meetings with leading community gardeners who have created neighborhood gardens as Unity Park, Slumbusters, and the African Garden. The images in the mosaic design are based on snapshot photo documentation shared with the artist by these gardeners. Gude also met with third and seventh graders from the nearby Crown Community Academy who explored memories of their neighborhood’s gardens and shared thoughts about their significance. The mosaic’s text summarizes recurring themes mentioned by the gardeners and the children when describing the personal, social, and cultural significance of the garden projects.