In the early 1980s, a cooperative of sculptors created an exhibition on Chicago’s Navy Pier, featuring numerous outdoor sculptures. Inspired by this exhibition’s public appreciation, the cooperative continued to display sculptures around the city. In 2004, the group formed Chicago Sculpture International; founding members are Nicole Beck, Bob Emser, Terry Karpowicz, Christine Rojek, Tom Scarff and Barry Tinsley. Chicago Sculpture International was the first recognized chapter of the International Sculpture Center, which publishes Sculpture Magazine and supports sculptors through exhibitions, conferences, and funding opportunities.
Currently, Chicago Sculpture International includes over 150 local, national and international members. Chicago Sculpture International organizes multiple indoor and outdoor exhibitions annually to showcase contemporary sculpture throughout the Midwest. These have included exhibits at Chicago’s International Art Expo, Oakton Community College, and the Elks National Memorial. Outdoor exhibitions are often in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, exhibiting sculpture in parks and conservatories throughout the city, including venues such as the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in conjunction with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Sculpture International exhibited work on the city’s boulevards over the last few years. While hosting the 23rd International Sculpture Conference in 2012, Chicago Sculpture International installed sixty-four sculptures spanning the lakefront from Promontory Point on the south to Belmont Harbor on the north. The Chicago Tree Project was created in partnership with the Chicago Park District in the summer of 2014. This citywide plan invites sculptors to transform dying trees into vibrant public art. The Chicago Tree Project, along with countless other exhibitions, serves as a vital part of Chicago Sculpture International’s mission: to bring sculpture to the community.
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