Thursday, June 7, 2018, 6:00-8:00 p.m. will be a transformative moment in the history of public art in Chicago, with the unveiling of a new sculpture Gwendolyn Brooks: The Oracle of Bronzeville by renowned Chicago artist, Margot McMahon.
Presented by the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, the sculpture will be installed in Brooks Park (4542 S. Greenwood), just steps from Gwendolyn Brooks’ childhood home. This fundraising page has been established to support the completion of this project that commemorates the life and legacy of one of America’s most important poets.
“No other poet has captured the essence of Chicago life more than Gwendolyn Brooks. She was the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize in any literary genre, and served as the Illinois Poet Laureate from 1968 to 2000. Through her work, she was an activist, a feminist and a courageous observer of Black life. In the centennial of her birth, she remains one of the most important voices to ever come out of our city.”
~ Chicago Community Trust/Our Miss Brooks 100
A First for Chicago !
Momentous is the fact that The Oracle of Bronzeville will be the FIRST sculpture in a Chicago public park depicting a Chicago poet. A trailblazing artist who has been called the “Studs Terkel” of the sculpting world for her humanistic approach, McMahon’s portrayal of Brooks pays tribute to a woman whose oeuvre is comprised of the sensitive poetry and heroic voice of a devoted humanist.
Inspiring Future Generations
The Oracle of Bronzeville installation is composed of several elements that both educate and invite public interaction. The experience begins at a porch structure, crafted to depict Brooks’ favorite writing spot. From the porch, a stepping stone path engraved with quotes from Brooks’ Annie Allen book of poetry, leads to a “council ring” – a circle of seating that provides a gathering place for writing and reflection. The centerpiece of this circle is a bronze portrait of Gwendolyn Brooks, which will remain in the park for five years as inspiration for children and future generations of poets and authors. Visitors may write and display poems on a designated space on the porch, which also invites poetry and spoken word performance as a stage.
Our Miss Brooks 100
The unveiling date is also noteworthy, as it caps off Our Miss Brooks 100; a Centennial Celebration recognizing Brooks’ milestone birthday through a year-long schedule of events that included readings, performances, school programs, community discussions, and exhibits. McMahon’s participation in these activities supported her research for The Oracle of Bronzeville, which also involved personal interviews with family and friends of Gwendolyn Brooks. As a triumphant conclusion to Our Miss Brooks 100, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, the Poetry Foundation, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District are honored to be dedicating this sculpture on June 7, which would have been Gwendolyn Brooks’ 101st birthday.
Help Make History!
We invite you to become a part of this important project and Chicago history. A donation of any amount to this fundraising page is meaningful and helps get us one step closer to realizing this sculptural work and portrayal of Gwendolyn Brooks - a Chicago hero and literary icon.
- Monica Schrager
- Christopher Lynch
- John Powers
- Julie Nesbitt
- Bob Michaelson
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