WICKER PARK — A self-guided tour of murals, sculptures, galleries and other public art in Wicker Park and Bucktown launches this week.
The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce’s “Art Quest” runs from Thursday to Oct. 15.
Attendees can access a map of dozens of works and galleries in the neighborhoods on the Chamber’s website, to visit whenever they want.
“During COVID, we saw that there’s a lot of need for outdoor activities, self-curated events, things that you can do at your own pace, but also being outside if you’re going to meet up with friends,” said Pamela Maass, the Chamber’s executive director. “We thought rather than have any type of indoor single gallery space, why don’t we actually celebrate all of it together. There’s so much going on in the art scene.”
Maass says the event is about showcasing the vibrancy of the area’s artists, even as Wicker Park grows more expensive, and some cultural institutions close or move.
“While this has definitely been an art district for many years, I don’t think we’ve lost that title,” Maass said. “As our neighborhood has changed and grown, so has our art experience in the galleries. So I would say that it’s actually stayed quite busy.”
The tour also includes a new mural called Butterfly Effect along the “L” tracks at Milwaukee and Wolcott avenues. It’s dedicated to Olga Calderon, a clerk at a nearby Walgreens who was killed last year. It was designed by artist Nikko Locander, who paints under name Ali Six.
The mural also features Locander’s signature Richie The Raccoon character.
Locander says he hopes the mural conveys a message of hope and positivity.
“The bold colors with the red and the blue against the purple, it’s just supposed to be very saturated, but I think the butterflies kind of pop out of that,” Locander said. “So I think that’s kind of my main focus, other than being able to showcase my character itself.”
The mural is funded by Special Service Area #33, which is administered by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber.
Locander will join local artist Lynn Basa for an artist talk at 6 p.m. on Sept 30. at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: