Geraldine McCullough was a nationally recognized and superb sculptor who created the iconic “Pathfinder” sculpture at Oak Park Village Hall. Pathfinder is a beacon to symbolically guide people to a fair and more just society. 

As a sculptor, friend and neighbor, I had the honor to serve with Geri for a dozen years on the Oak Park Area Arts Council to create a path for public art in Oak Park. In our short drive to meetings, we talked about Pathfinder and its care. We talked about the integrity of an artist’s statement in a public space: upkeep, elements stolen or vandalized. 

While we were gathering for last week’s protest, I walked over to see what was written on Pathfinder. Through a sculpture caretaker’s lens, I investigated Pathfinder and found it covered with chalk-written names: Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Jamar Clark, and George Floyd. The chalk writing on brass expressed the views and groups who organized the peaceful Oak Park and Austin protest. 

While Geri might not condone changing an artist’s statement in a public setting, I think she might have loved this! The temporary chalk marks made Pathfinder a living protest and continuance of her life’s work. 

Margot McMahon

Oak Park

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