Sculptor Dan Yarbrough displayed Alchemy-Birds and Stone—also known as “The Birdhouse”—in a temporary exhibition sponsored by Sculpture Chicago in 1983. A few years later, the Burnham Park Planning Board acquired and donated the sculpture to the Chicago Park District for installation in Dearborn Park, a one-acre green space in the center of the South Loop’s 1970s housing complex of the same name. The planning board dedicated the artwork to its founding president and former executive director, Bette Cerf Hill.
Dan Yarbrough (b. 1958) received a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and continued his studies in art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has exhibited his work throughout America and has permanent installations several locations including Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park in University Park, Illinois. After vandals damaged Alchemy-Birds and Stone in 1990, the Burnham Park Planning Board hired Yarbrough to replace its marble elements with Indiana limestone, a more durable material. Today, the repaired artwork is appropriately framed by the maturing canopy of the park’s trees.