Chicago Architecture

The kindly introduced me as the Illinois Artist Laureate. In the row in front (the man with the regal white hair) is acclaimed Chicago architect, Dirk Lohan.

They kindly introduced me as the Illinois Artist Laureate. In the row in front (the man with the regal white hair) is acclaimed Chicago architect, Dirk Lohan. My niece Linda, seated next to me, attended with me.

At the invitation of Karen Burnett, a long time friend and a member of Team Kay,  I attended SOAR’s (Streeterville Organization of Active Residents) 40th Anniversary at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Friday, September 25th. This annual benefit, called BLUEPRINTs, helps to raise money for the Streeterville neighborhood association in Chicago and honors those who aid in bettering communities.

Nearly 200 residents and other Streeterville neighborhood stakeholders came to celebrate with honorary co-chairs Alderman Brian Hopkins (Ward 2) and Alderman Brendan Reilly (Ward 42) lending their congratulations to the crowd. A program featured Emcee Felicia Dechter (Skyline newspapers), President Gail Spreen, Benefit Chair Karen Burnett, MCA Chief Operating Officer Teresa de Guzman, Past President Betty Eaton—and award winners Helen Dunbeck (Betty G. Eaton Spirit) and Dirk Lohan, architect (Vision Into Reality.)

A nice photo of myself on the right and my friend Karen on the far left.

A nice photo of myself on the far right, the night’s honoree Helen Dunbeck, and my friend Karen on the far left.

I donated my painting,”Old Main” as an auction item. This group was honoring architects (among others) who help to shape the city and neighborhood. And this painting shows some of the best of old Chicago architecture.

Me with the painting I donated,

Me with the painting I donated, “Old Main”.

This painting was a study of the old Armour Mission, and it (like me) has quite a history. It was founded by meat packing czar, Philip Armour, who then took his mission and made it into one of the first technical schools at the turn of the century, called the Armour Institute. This school featured architecture as a course of study and produced many of our great architects. It would eventually morph into the Illinois Institute of Technology and this building is still present on one of the campuses.  And to round this whole story out, one of my old art students, John Holabird’s father was one of those great architects that husbanded the nascent beginnings of ITT.

My student, John Holabird's painting he donated, painted in my class.

My student, John Holabird’s painting he donated, painted in my class.

Just talking about architecture conjures so many stories of the great architects of the last century. Who were the great architects of the day ??? …grab your hats, their identity will blow you away.

The year is 1895. Among the great architects involved in the school were Daniel Burnham, John Root , Louis J. Millet, Alfred Alschuler, Louis Skidmore, and John Holabird.

This is enough for today.  Follow me as we are headed for stories on John Holabird, Mees Van der Rohe, his grandson Dirk Lohan, and Streeterville, all springing from the SOAR event. Stay tuned.

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The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991

Dearly Beloveds,

The Chicago Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA) is having an exhibition at Chicago’s Old Town Triangle Art Center. The Center is in the heart of our Old Town neighborhood – historically storied for its internationally known visual artists; Ivan Albright, Edgar Miller, John Brown and more. It is still a mecca for art, artists and architects with the Old Town Art Center as its anchor.

Many returning soldiers of WWII found housing in Old Town. They were the artists and architects who began a rebirth of the houses and streets and as time went on became highly desirable property and a place to live.

CAVA, to celebrate this tradition of the arts in Old Town, has brought together area artists in a group exhibition opening Sunday August 9, 2 pm to 5 pm at the Old Town Triangle Gallery located at 1763 North Park. It is a juried show and I have been asked to have a painting as part of the Old Town exhibit. The invitation reads “We are inviting selected artists of note, such as yourself to be a part of the show.  We are looking for a piece that has some connection to the neighborhood and which reflects your unique style. Of course we will waive the entry fee.” from Patricia O’Malley, one of the organizers of the exhibition.

Out of the six digitals I presented for them, they chose “The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991”

"Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991"

“Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991”

The Gulf War, as you remember, was our first engagement with Hussein and Iraq. George H.W. Bush was president. 12 years later in 2003, President George W. Bush would send troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

In my painting the parade is passing in front of the Art Institute where the dignitaries were gathered. The scud missile is depicted almost across from the Institute. It is identified by the balloons in red, white & blue that arch over the missile riding on its platform. The crowd cheered and cheered, wildly waving small flags or anything white as the deadly missile came into view. As I sketched and photographed, it was the young service men who stepped out so smartly, so intently with eyes straight ahead. It was they, so young, so manly, so American, so seemingly dedicated—our soldiers, spending their precious youth protecting our country, I waved, cheered and cried for them.

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