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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Draw The Bloomingdale Trail How You Like It, And Advisory Group Will Stitch Together An ‘Endless Trail’

With the wildly popular 606 trail shut down, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail need your help with an art project meant to keep folks connected.

People enjoy The 606.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — Missing The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail?

Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, a neighbor-led group that oversees the popular trail and park system, has a quarantine-friendly art project for you.

The group is calling on neighbors to draw sections of the trail to keep the neighborhood connected during its closure.

Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot shut down the popular trail along with the lakefront and its adjoining parks to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is your section of trail to imagine as you like,” the Facebook page calling for artwork reads.

“Fill it with people, trees, animals, ice cream cones, cactus, sculptures, vegetables, tea cups, trains, a symphony, really it’s up to you. Below the line, you can draw too; bridges, cars, trolls, waterfalls, chandeliers, pizza, murals, really it’s up to you.”

The instructions are as follows: Find an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch piece of paper, turn it horizontally, draw a line three inches from the bottom (this line represents the trail) and then draw whatever you like above and below the line.

Neighbors should scan their drawings and send them to the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail at info@bloomingdaletrail.org. The group will then stitch all of the drawings together into one “endless” trail.

Benjamin Helphand, president of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, came up with the idea. Helphand said he was inspired by a 1830s-era deck of cards he found while traveling years ago, called “The Endless Landscape.” The cards, when put together, depict a landscape.

“I’ve had these little cards in the back of my mind for years,” Helphand said in an email.

“During the design process 7-8 years ago I was aware of a trail as a special kind of public space that changes as you move along it. With the trail open we could experience this phenomenon in real life, with our bodies. Now, in the time of covid-19, we have to switch to our minds. It’s nice to keep our community spaces in our imagination even while we can’t be in them together.”

Helphand added that the art project also allows neighbors to “imagine all the crazy possibilities of the Bloomingdale Trail, without being limited by physical constraints.”

“On the Endless Bloomingdale Trail anything is possible; zeppelins, waterfalls, frogs, even more affordable housing,” he said.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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