Chicago artist Phil Schuster created this bas-relief sculpture as part of a series depicting gardening activities. Each of the works features a set of hands performing a simple task. In this example, two hands gently prepare a plant that is ready to be transferred into the ground.
The work was originally owned by Schuster’s personal dentist, Gray Vogelman, who donated it to the Chicago Park District. It now decorates the lobby of Lake Shore Park. At first glance, one might think that the sculpture is hung upside down. Yet the tiny crack in the pot and the small band of exposed roots indicate that the hands are holding the pot upside down in order to remove the plant. This artwork is especially appropriate for Lake Shore Park which is well-known for its successful volunteer gardening program.
In addition to sculptures of flora and fauna, Schuster is known for depicting animals both real and imaginary. Other fanciful works by the artist enliven the playgrounds at Julia de Burgos, Skinner, and Portage Parks, and his relief sculptures are on view at the Garfield Park Conservatory and the underpass leading into Jane Addams Memorial Park.