Sounding Bronzeville

Lakefront Gathering Spaces/Sounding Bronzeville
Chicago Park District
Written By Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,800 acres of parkland, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation. Visit the Chicago Park District's 597 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 70 nature areas, & hundreds of programs.

All of the organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground at this site were hand woven with willow branches. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North during the Great Migration one hundred years ago.

The lead artists worked with a furniture designer and a group of students over the several-month process of creating the willow structures that make up Sounding Bronzeville. After gathering the materials, the wood was laboriously shaped and then held together with natural materials including spikes fashioned out of wood. Once the forms were completed they were installed at the site and surrounded with plantings of natural species. 

 Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “soundports” or “nesting ports" to allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people.

The design team created renderings and sketches to conceptualize the space before they started building. 

meet the team

Sounding Bronzeville was a collaboration between artists Fo Wilson (left), Norman Teague (right), Chris Buchakjian and the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership along with architects Monica Chadha and Mike Newman, landscape architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright, and Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman. 

The Bronzeville Community Development Partnership focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

Video by Amber Mohammad Castañeda  //  Photos ©Sandra Steinbrecher 2016

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