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Vi&Tom(History)

In 2001, Marilyn Labkon (General Iron Industries) was explaining to then Alderman Vi Daley her effort to create an art program in the Lincoln Park neighborhood that would tie-in with her business. Fortuitously, the connections necessary were never made. Vi Daley took that interest and reworked the premise to create a neighborhood art exhibition that involved large-scale sculptures. Marilyn Labkon, Vi Daley and six other neighborhood organizations and small businesses joined together to present what would eventually become the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit. With encouragement and suggestions from the Department of Chicago Cultural Affairs and the Chicago Park District, 2002 saw the installation of eight sculptures in the Lincoln Park neighborhood from May through October. Another major change occurred in 2007, when Alderman Tom Tunney brought the Lakeview communities into the show. In 2011, at the time of the 10th Anniversary, 20 sculptures were installed for one full year in Lincoln Park and Lakeview. CSE has shown as many as 30 sculptures included in a given year. Following the 10 year Anniversary, a larger Board of Directors was created to further enhance the show and build a stronger base for the future.

From eight pieces and the name Lincoln Park Community Art Initiative to 30 pieces in the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, the show has maintained many of its prime characteristics. All works are sited in public view and viewers are encouraged to walk right up to the sculptures and become familiar with them. The show is funded entirely with private donations. There is no charge to enjoy these works of art and it is hoped that they are a part of the community’s everyday enjoyment.

As Chicago neighborhoods continue to welcome sculpture into their environments, CSE will continue to lead the way in introducing artists to the community. The next 10 years promise to be as exciting, if not more so, than the last.