The city of Chicago is iconic in American history and culture and is often seen in the news for various reasons, including its historic crime rates. After removing several Christopher Columbus statues temporarily from its public parks, the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot released a plan that outlines a plan to review the fate of many of the cities more controversial public art monuments.
The initiative is being called “a racial healing and historical reckoning project” and is designed to access the monuments, memorials, and art located within the city said Lightfoot on Wednesday. In her statement, Lightfoot said: “The project will grapple with the often unacknowledged—or forgotten—history associated with the city’s various municipal art collections, and will provide a vehicle to address the hard truths of Chicago’s racial history.”
Other cities across America are putting similar measures in place as calls for racial justice continue after the killing of several black Americans by various police forces. Last month, officials in San Francisco started reviewing monuments and statues relating to figures. Likewise, the mayor of New York, Bill Blasio announced the city was creating a new commission for Racial Justice and Reconciliation. Its mandate is to look at the monuments that populate city owned properties.
Chicago Advisory Committee to Prioritize Artworks
The advisory committee in Chicago is tasked with reviewing the various works of art that could be deemed problematic. A representative from the mayor office stated that the city will release details on the advisory committee’s finding before the end of August.
The committee is being co-chairs by Mark Kelly, Bonnie McDonald and Jennifer Scott. McDonald is the CEO and president of Landmarks Illinois, while Scott is the chief curator and director for the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. In addition to those selected to chair the committee, it will include select elected officials as well as historians and artists from Chicago.
The committee has been given four principal objectives. The first is to catalogue all public art and monuments located throughout the city, while the second is to determine through an advisory committee which requires action. The third mandate relates to making recommendations towards any new or replacement pieces that may be commissioned, while the fourth is to provide a platform that will allow the people of Chicago to speak about the cities history.