A plan to add a second public art installation to the Sherman Plaza development is scheduled for a vote by Evanston’s Human Service Committee this evening.

Illuminated panels in the elevator lobbies would be visible from the street.

A plan to add a second public art installation to the Sherman Plaza development is scheduled for a vote by Evanston’s Human Service Committee this evening.

The Public Art Committee is recommending spending $75,000 to commission the artist team of Krivanek + Breaux to build and install the work in the elevator tower at the southwest corner of the parking garage at Davis Street and Benson Avenue.

Text, illuminated by spotlights mounted on the elevator cabs, would appear on the ground-level wall facing Benson Avenue.

The Krivanek + Breaux proposal was chosen by a nine-member selection committee as the the best of five proposals submitted by different artists from around the country.

Titled “Search & Effect,” the project includes imagery, text and motion-activated lighting displayed in the garage lobby, elevator cars and elevator bay landing areas on each floor of the garage.

In a memo recommending the purchase, the Public Art Committee says, “The abstract nature of the imagery and text would allow for open-ended interpretations of the work over repeated viewings.”

A diagram of the proposed installation.

The artists are B.J. Krivanek, a professor of visual communication at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Joel Breaux, an adjunct professor of architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The committee says they’ve done similar works for the Los Angeles International Airport, the University of Florida and the Chicago Transit Authority, along with several other public entities.

The city’s public art program allocates up to one percent of the cost of new municpal construction projects for acquisition of public art.

The garage project has already led to placement of Takashi Soga’s “Sea of the Ear Ring ’07” sculpture at the northwest corner of Sherman Avenue and Davis Street.

The new project will also require approval of the full City Council.

Related document

The art project proposal (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. You must be kidding

    Our city is broke, our taxes are spiralling out of control, and we waste our money on this?

    Give me strength.  What pinhead came up with this, anyway?

  2. What the Council will say

    When the public complains about the so-called 'art' the city selects, the response is usually it is

    1. mandated that they spend X% on art or

    2. that some dedicated private funds pay for it.


    1. Change the law ! Just because someone passes a stupid law does not mean rational people won't recognize it and change it.  With the state of Evanston and the State, we can't afford this type of dole to people who think of themselves as experts but probably would call a wall painted while by some 'noted' artist, "great art."

    2. Educate these people who give 'dedicated funds' that wasting their money is not a good cause.  Instead donate their [obviously] excess wealth to something useful like food banks, helping  the poor or medical research.

  3. Art is not frivolous.

    "The city's public art program allocates up to one percent of the cost of new municpal construction projects for acquisition of public art."

    The quote from the article above says it all.  That one percent ($75,000) is dedicated to public art.  Don't make this about anything other than what the TIF intended for.  To lure businesses into the area to pay taxes.  Dead areas in the city aren't going to do that.  We need things like this to draw in businesses.  A nice city attracts business, which attracts taxes, which attracts a more profitable city. 

    Art is not frivolous.  Do you like music?  Do you like going to plays, to the movies, museums?  That is art.  Don't cut art from this city.  While some of it may be bad, most of it isn't.

    Let's be innovative……

  4. Garage art light show

    This is THE opportunity for Evanston to raise the bar over the usual ground sculptures into real art territory on a par with the great cities of the world.

    This highly praised, award-winning firm has created other such interactive art works where the community comes together to help make the art.

    This is art making on a high level which will be seen by all who ride the Metra, and CTA as well as pedestrians and drivers making Evanston a more visible location in which to stay and shop.

    The money is already set aside as part of TIF and should be used for art. Without great art, we might as well live on Orwell's Animal Farm: FEAR NO ART!!!

  5. Public Art

    Only a great forward thinking city like Evanston would be so smart to continue to invest in

    Art for the public. I hope that the city officials see the benefits that an art piece of this nature will give to the city of Evanston.

    It looks really interesting and the media will embrace it…children will be inspired and visitors will be amazed.

    Way to go Evanston!

    Support the Arts, and the artist of today for a better future for all!

  6. While this is not

    a waste of taxpayer dollars, it not even close to be high on the list of things that need to be done in Evanston. There are more important things that need to be done. Until Evanston finds a way to lower our high tax burden, not one penny should go to this. Other towns in our area get far more bang for the buck with tax dollars.

    How about taxing all art sold in Evanston to pay for this or charging the artist for displaying their art projects. It is time that artists stop getting a free ride.

    I'm sure that the many people in Evanston that support this project can find a way to raise the money needed to pay for this.

  7. Exciting!

    When I first read about the "public art" plan, I thought it was going to be another boring mural. Certainly this is exciting. Can't wait to see it. Can't wait for my son to see it!

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *