A sculptured, cultured south-side walk

Artbeat

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By Michelle Dybal

Contributing Reporter

Sit and contemplate in a Butterfly chair, shake a water-filled Monolith to make music, or walk around and take in 10 other outdoor art pieces at the 7th Annual Oak Park Sculpture Walk straddling the Ike expressway in the Southtown Business District along Oak Park Avenue between Lexington and Van Buren.

The sculptors, whose work was chosen through a juried competition run by the Oak Park Area Arts Council, are all from the Midwest, including artists from Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota. Illinois artists are from Chicago, Wilmette, Geneva, Peoria, Washington and Oak Park.

The single Oak Park sculptor represented, Tia Etu, has called the village home for 30 years. She was one of the first artists to have a live/work space on Harrison Street, back when the Arts District was in its infancy. Since then, she has moved twice and now lives and works at her Whatever Comes to Mind Studio, 27 Harrison St. Besides sculpture, Etu paints, draws, makes jewelry and does art restoration and repairs. 

Etu also has six exterior murals in the village and is about to have two painted banners displayed from the light posts in the Harrison Street Arts District in June. "Butterfly" is her third large-scale outdoor sculpture.

"I had three weeks from model to finished product," she said. "I love it because the people in this neighborhood watched me build it. Now they can see it and send me pictures sitting in it."

To get insight into the artists' thoughts on their sculptures, download the free Otocast app for a short description from each sculptor. The walk is funded by the Village of Oak Park.

The Southtown Business District is home to many independent small businesses, including The Looking Glass used book store, Chicago Digital CD Emporium, Starvin' Artist, Artisans & Crafters Unique Boutique, Oak Park Bakery, Westgate Flower & Plant Shop, Chic Chick's Boutique and the Animal Care League Second Chance Resale Shop around the corner at 808 Harrison St. Dining establishments include Sen Sushi, Addis Café, Hole in the Wall Custard, Avenue Ale House, Margaritas and Obsessed Kitchen and Bar.   

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