A message is attached to Attached – Evanston RoundTable | Candle Made Easy

Appropriate is a sculpture leased by the City of Evanston through the Arts Council. Its location in Burnham Shores Park (between Hamilton Street and Burnham Place) was the choice of Jennifer Lasik, then the City of Evanston’s Cultural Arts Coordinator.

It is an impressive work full of meaning, as a glance at the inscription reveals. This large steel and copper mosaic sculpture was installed in September 2017, with her and the lease program celebrated publicly with music, dancing and refreshments.

Attached, a sculpture by Janet Austin in Burnham Shores Park. Recognition: Gay Riseborough

A large, sparkling wasp/hornet/yellowjacket rests on an eight foot open shape that could represent a wasp’s nest and which the artist calls a “story vase”. The inspiration for the vase came from the Swedish collective Front, who worked with South African women to create vessels with glass bead lettering around them. Austin’s steel letters here tell the same “story” as the plaque below. The Insect, an amalgamation, was made primarily from glass mosaic tiles, with a baroque design on the reverse that is not specific to any particular species.

On “Attached” an insect is lifted into place. Recognition: Gay Riseborough

This artwork was the first piece in a leasing program established between the Evanston Arts Council and Chicago Sculpture International (CSI), a non-profit organization. Her program is titled Sculpture in the Parks and delivers artist-made contemporary sculpture not only to Evanston, but also to the Chicago Park District and a park in Gary, Indiana. The creator of Appropriate is Evanstonian Janet Austin, then – and still – President of CSI.

At the time the lease was reviewed, the Public Art Subcommittee, part of the Evanston Arts Council, went on a tour Appropriate at Austin’s studio, then at 831 Chicago Ave., a former coach house with memorable arched double doors. Austin now has a small studio at home, but works on her large sculptures at Hammerwell Metals in Chicago, where they are made.

The plaque for “Attached.” Recognition: Gay Riseborough

It is unusual for an artist to make her own base for her sculpture, but Austin had created, at her own expense, a 2ft hexagonal base and an attached plaque to accompany the artwork. The plaque features a variation on a quote from John Muir, the world-renowned naturalist and environmental philosopher. The City of Evanston provided the large concrete slab on which Austin’s pedestal and sculpture rest, as have since been made available for the other leased works.

Austin holds a BFA from Metropolitan State University in Denver and an MFA from Villa Schifanoia Graduate School of Fine Art in Florence, Italy. She creates in sculptural media including glass, mosaic, concrete, bronze and steel. Her work graces public spaces across the country, including parks, zoos, botanical gardens, plazas, and transportation hubs.

Evanston artist Janet Austin. Recognition: Janet Austin art

Here’s what Austin says about her work: “I’m an Illinois artist dedicated to the coexistence of people and nature. I always find inspiration in nature, from diverse virgin ecosystems to the conflicted urban environment. Pursuing a career as a public artist through large scale sculpture, I am looking for an opportunity to continue creating art that supports my core belief from which much of my work grows – if you pull on a single thing in nature you will find it appropriate to the rest of the universe.” https://www.janetaustinart.com/

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