Ever since the Chicago Mosaic School moved from Ravenswood to Edgewater four years ago, its faculty has been looking for ways to spruce up the new neighborhood.
Its latest effort: the Edgewater Garden Project, flower mosaics installed on Devon Avenue between Lakewood and Glenwood avenues.
“Edgewater, as a community of people, is definitely a mosaic,” says Karen Ami, executive director of the school at 1127 W. Granville Ave., which put together the project with the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. “There are all these wonderful ethnicities and cultures. I believe that we emulated that idea.”
Among the three mosaics installed so far: a piece titled “Lotus” by artist Casey Van Loon at 1259 W. Devon Ave outside Ellipsis Coffeehouse.
“I wanted to make something uplifting and inspiring,” says Van Loon, who lives in Irving Park.
She says she also wanted to “give nods to a Christian rose window and an Eastern mandala. The idea was to merge these spiritual imageries into one.”
So she featured geometric designs as a connection between circular stained-glass windows and mandalas — spiritual symbols found in Buddhism and Hinduism.
The project also includes work by artists Etty Hasak and Laura Marie Sanchez.
Two more flower pieces are in the works. And Ami says the aim is to expand the mosaic effort “so that they’re all over Edgewater.”
“I used to come to Edgewater as a little girl to visit my grandfather,” she says. “He lived on Winthrop and Sheridan, and I used to walk by where the [school] is now when I was 5 years old. It’s kind of a full-circle thing for me.”