This shimmering, graphic mosaic decorates the Belmont Avenue underpass at Lake Shore Drive. The project answered the community’s call to beautify the dark, concrete underpass and transform it into a source of pride for the neighborhood. The City of Chicago and Chicago Park District partnered with the Chicago Public Art Group and Alderman Tom Tunney on the project. The artwork was made possible through city funds and donations from the community. Lead artists Tracy Van Duinen and Todd Osborne worked closely with community members including students from Nettelhorst School to conceptualize and execute the design.
The community wanted to highlight the diversity of the East Lakeview neighborhood. Entitled Rhythm and Views, the resulting composition blends abstract designs and everyday scenes. Theater, music, and nightlife are represented by images of vinyl records that appear throughout the mosiac. The circular forms are echoed by the depiction of a large bicycle wheel, which also references the nearby lakefront trail. The lake provides respite from the city’s tall, tightly packed buildings and it also draws many birds to the area. Artist Phil Schuster created several ceramic relief sculptures of birds that are incorporated throughout Rhythm and Views. One bird in particular sweeps down between two large baseballs, a playful reminder of the nearby North Side team, the Cubs, and its home, Wrigley Field.
The composition was produced using the bricolage process, in which a unique blend of mirror and ceramic tiles are bound together with colored grout. Additionally, community members were invited to contribute photographs that were digitally transferred onto tiles. These images—which capture scenes of architecture, sailboats, families, and pets—allow many Lakeview residents to express personal memories and events connected to the neighborhood.