Around Rogers Park: Pothole Art Project

There’s a terrific article in Block Club Chicago by journalist Joe Ward, called Rogers Park Artists Fill Neighborhood Potholes With Used Bike Parts, Tile: ‘Functional Art Is Cool.’ If you missed it, take a look. True to Rogers Park’s reputation as a haven for artists and eccentrics of all stripes, several local artists banded together to do something about the pothole problem that plagues all of Chicago in the winter months, but in a very original and unorthodox way. With a $7,500 grant by the AARP, whose motivation was making the city more accessible to people with accessibility difficulties, these local artists took old bike parts, tiles and other found objects and imbedded them in pothole repairs, turning a routine maintenance function into a work of art.

According to the Block Club article, this project was not widely advertised before these funky and visually arresting repairs started to pop up all over the neighborhood. It was the surprised and delighted residents of the neighborhood who started to see these repairs, and who started spreading the word through social media.

This quirky and unexpected artistic gesture is just the kind of thing that makes Rogers Park such a special neighborhood, and gives it such a unique persona within Chicago. Hats off to artist Tzippora Rhodes who had the idea to do this project, and the $7,500 grant from AARP that made it possible. It added just a bit of cheer to a time of the year that is typically harder for many Chicagoans to get through. This is especially true this year when we are still all dealing with the impact of the pandemic and our forced social isolation.