Aldermen on Evanston’s Human Services Committee split Monday night over the merits of a public art project for the Sherman Plaza garage.

And our poll asks you what you think about it.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she feared the art would distract drivers “at the very tight intersection” of Davis Street and Benson Avenue.

Alderman Judy Fiske.

She described the area as “a very difficult place to walk” and said that in at least two instances “families with children have been hit by cars” coming out of the parking garage onto Benson.

“I think the art will draw the attention of both drivers and pedestrians,” Fiske added, “People will stop in their cars to look at it.”

But aldermen Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, and Jane Grover, 7th Ward, strongly suppored the $75,000 project.

More pictures and background on the project design in our Monday story.

“I’ve liked this project from the first time I saw it,” said Tendam, a graphic designer.

“I think it will attract a lot of people to the corner,” he added, suggesting passersby will want to ride the garage elevators “to become part of the artwork.”

“I love it,” said Grover, “I think it will be very effective and well enjoyed by everyone in Evanston.

While Fiske suggested the project might be better in a different location, Grover said she believed it was “custom fit for this location. I don’t think it would be adaptable for any other site.”

Grover, who has campaigned against distracted driving and is pushing for a new ordinance banning all cell phone use by drivers, disputed Fiske’s claims that the art would create a traffic hazard.

“I don’t think it will create more light than a lot of storefronts and other features in downtown,” Grover said, “I think it’s subtle enough that it won’t cause accidents.”

Artist B.J. Krivanek said he could set up a demonstration for aldermen showing the light that would be cast by spotlights mounted on the elevator cabs.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she had doubts about how the project would actually look but was open to learning more about it.

And, with Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, absent from the session, the committee voted to advance the art proposal to the agenda of the full city council — with the understanding that the artists proposing the project and city staff would set up a demonstration of how some aspects of it would work before the council actually voted on whether to approve it.

The Sherman Plaza public art light show plan

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Have they lost their minds ?

    $75,000 for this ?

    Maybe the Council should spend more time looking at the city's finances rather than their 'art' magazines.

    Someday, hopefully,  the taxpayers will rise-up and dump all the government officials that feel they can have the taxpayers foot the bill for their pet project.

  2. Alternatives

    1. Use the $75,000 to plant trees that we are losing from storms and bad decisions.  While not usually callled 'art' everyone would agree they are beautiful.

    2. Use money for art classes in K-12—maybe offer the classes to the Council and others who make these decisions so they recognize art from junk and 'artists' eager to take advantage of those who would not recognize art.

    3. Have 6-8th graders design and paint the designs.  Save $74,950 in doing so and give students some pride and recognition.

    4. Feed the poor and needy.

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