The Jens Jensen Formal Garden once had large clay pots on small pedestals encircling the garden’s center. The original pots, or urns, were made by a famous local company called the American Terra-Cotta Co. Ceramics made by this company were called Teco Ware and were covered in a particular grayish-green matt glaze. The pots are long gone now as the garden has changed over the decades. Now is a time for regrowth. The garden is re-growing the pots to make itself whole again. These new natural pots are hand-woven from linden and willow branches.
The Humboldt Park Formal Garden was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860-1951) in 1908. Jensen was one of America’s most influential landscape architects, best known for his role in developing the Prairie Style of Landscape design. The garden was conceived of as a space for members of the Humboldt Park community to gather and enjoy the outdoors.
In 2015, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Parks Foundation, and a group of neighbors that have become the Jens Jensen Formal Garden Working group came together to revitalize and restore the garden. As part of these revitalization efforts, the Chicago Park District, in partnership with Fieldwork and the Jensen Formal Garden Working Group, has selected four Chicago artists to create site-specific, temporary public art installations for the garden. The final installations are visually and conceptually linked to the history and design of the garden and to the work of Jens Jensen.