Evanston’s newest public art work — “Encounter” — had its first full day under our overcast winter sky today atop the Maple Avenue Garage.

Evanston’s newest public art work — “Encounter” — had its first full day under our overcast winter sky today atop the Maple Avenue Garage.

It was installed by a crane and a crew of workers who started on Monday and finished up Wednesday.

The work by German artist Hubertus von der Goltz features two figures delicately balancing and moving toward each other.

The plan for the sculpture was the subject of much comment and criticism earlier this year when it was under consideration by the City Council.

Those reactions surfaced again this morning at a meeting marking the close-out of the tax increment financing district that helped finance much of the new development along Maple Avenue.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested the city may have to remove gym shoes and jockey shorts that pranksters may drape over the work. And Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, with a laugh, suggested people might think of its name as “Suicide.”

The city capped the total cost for the sculpture at $105,000, which is coming from a public arts fund.

The artist says the sculpture symbolizes the coming together of people from different cultures and walks of life just as the public below will encounter each other on the sidewalks of Evanston as they head for work, shop, take in a movie or go to dinner.

Most pedestrians walking along Maple Avenue this morning appeared to take no notice of the new sight overhead, but one man did take a moment to look up at it.

The dark metal of the sculpture silhouetted against the orange metal balconies of the Optima Views condo tower next door.

A dedication ceremony for the work will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday in what a city news release points out is the heated sixth floor elevator lobby at the garage, 1800 Maple Ave.

The sculpture rests atop an elevator tower at the garage.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. A good move
    I like it and my kids can’t wait to see it.

    The sculpture adds character, and is a distinguishing signature in downtown Evanston.

  2. Garage Sculpture
    I hope those resident who like the sculpture will be the ones to pay [not all the rest of us] when the first lawsuit for it falling, kids getting on it and falling [I assume these same people will pay for the guard?].
    Like so many things in Evanston, no priorities—just spend to keep the upper class thinking they know art—clearly they don’t have the foggiest idea !

    1. Re: Garage Sclupture, safety? Are you serious?
      You really think kids are going to try and climb on this, fall off and then sue the city? How would they climb on it, exactly?

      I’ve not been up to the 6th floor of the Maple garage, but it appears from the photos that this is installed on the top of the elevator tower, and the roof of that tower looks to be about 20′ higher than the tallest point that someone could access, so if someone was going to climb on the sculpture they’d first have to figure out how to climb up to the top level of the tower, then up another 20′ to the roof to get to it. I suppose if kids somehow got a ladder up to the roof, they could climb up there and play on it. I’m confident that the Maple Garage employees would notice kids dragging a 30′ long extension ladder up to the top floor and stop them first though.

      I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous statements about public art installations, but this one takes the cake. You’d be better off sticking to the “waste of money” argument for this one.

  3. Maple Garage art, why is everyone so negative about it?
    I like it. I think it’s interesting, and I don’t really understand why our aldermen continue to mock it. If they don’t like it, then why did they approve it’s installation?

  4. Garage Art?
    Another example of Evanston’s misplaced priorities and mismanagement. Is it any wonder there is an $8million budget shortfall, along with empty stores. overdeveloped highrisers and a lack of vagrant and speed ordinance enforcement? Don’t believe more “Emperor’s New Clothes” is the answer nor is the bad economy the sole cause.

  5. Interesting. Like others
    Interesting sculpture. von der Goltz is quite fond of this theme.

    Like others said, this is not the best expense given the fiscal situation of the city, but the funds have been earmarked. Why can’t another ordinance be passed that strikes down the 1991 one that earmarked the funds for art? I generally like public art, but I’d prefer a city that is not on the verge of bankruptcy…

  6. garage sculpture
    for $105,000 it seems a bit out of line considering the current economic crisis were in—and maybe because I saw someone take their life from atop this gargae it looks really creepy…we could have waited for better economic times before being concerned with artistic touches to a parking garage.

  7. I can’t think of a better way
    I can’t think of a better way to have spent these funds. The sculpture brings life to a lifeless and offensive parking structure. The sculpture is well suited for the site. It can be enjoyed from so many perspectives–riding the L, walking along Maple or Clark, driving by…It makes you look (at the least), makes you think (hopefully) and makes you smile (surely). This is the stuff that great cities are made of.

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