Rogers Park

Chicago IL

Changing Worlds
Written By Changing Worlds

Symbols of Peace

Situated along the far northeast boundary of Chicago, Rogers Park is an ethnically, religiously, and economically diverse neighborhood. From the beginning, residents of Rogers Park were instrumental in the process of placing Buddha sculptures, fervently voting for locations on Facebook and Twitter. People were passionate in their requests; seeking a sculpture in Triangle Park, as well as along Lake Shore Drive.

“…we needed a Buddha sculpture here. It would look wonderful in the garden looking east down Juneway Terrace. Many in our neighborhood are still trying to put the ‘Juneway Jungle’ label for our home to rest,” Avid gardener Helen Carlock.

Chris Skrable, a member of Partners for Rogers Park, and John Lamping, a longtime local resident and retired scientist, arranged for one of the Buddha sculptures to be installed in the dunes along the lakeshore, near Loyola University. The Buddha sculpture which was installed emerging from the sand near the lake, surrounded by a growth of dune grass and has become one of the most strikingly photographed, publicly engaged sculptures. Rogers Park residents held yoga classes beside the statue. Parents walked with children out to see the Buddha. Lone residents or small groups communed with the sculpture as well.

“I expected that I would be most impressed by interactions of adult, but it was the responses of children that I found most interesting,” says John Lamping, Rogers Park resident.

Lamping describes a community drum circle in which parents and children both were participating—with the children the most “exuberant and robust.” When police stopped by to ensure everything was alright, they were given drums and gongs and joined in themselves. “You toss a pebble into the pond, those ripples make ripples, and it just keeps spreading,” Lamping says.

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