West Pullman Park features several lively mosaics, all of which have been created under the guidance of the park’s art instructor, Alicia Lee. Since 1999, Lee has worked with many groups of children to beautify different areas of the park.
In 2004, students helped create the broken-tile mosaics on two circular planters in front of the field house. One of the planters portrays images of families enjoying the park. The phrase HELPING HANDS WEST PULLMAN PARK is spelled out in small purple tiles around the top edge of the composition. The other planter has an underwater theme. Various fish and crabs float through the scene. The text on this mosaic—SAVE OUR RIVERS, LAKES, OCEANS—is a plea to preserve water sources and underwater habitats.
Inside the field house, two smaller mosaics enliven the hallway that leads to the pool. Created in 2005, these artworks are made from a combination of broken and small square tiles. One of the panels depicts three popular sporting activities at the park: tennis, basketball, and swimming. The other panel portrays recreational activities, including painting, dancing, and playing musical instruments.
On the front facade of the field house, a small mosaic is dedicated to the park’s involvement in the Special Olympics. In 1965, West Pullman was one of ten parks that received funds from the Kennedy Foundation to offer sports and recreational programming for people with cognitive disabilities. Three years later, West Pullman’s Special Recreation Instructor, Anne McGlone (now Judge Anne Burke), met with Eunice Kennedy Shriver to discuss the possibility of organizing a local sports meet for women, men, and children with intellectual disabilities. The first event was held at Soldier Field in 1968, and it has grown into an international program in which four million people from 170 countries participate. Commemorating this significant achievement, the artwork was made in 2005 with the help of the individuals who currently enrolled in special recreation programming at the park. The mosaic features the Special Olympics logo, as well as the dates 1968 and 2005, which signify the park’s deep commitment to the organization.
In addition to the many mosaics already on view at West Pullman Park, Lee has plans to create an elaborate mosaic walkway outside the field house. The project is currently in production and includes the footprints of those who are working on it.
Location: Exterior flower planters, front facade of fieldhouse, hallway of fieldhouse.