(return to JPAC News and Bulletins, JPAC homepage in hydepark.org, GLFER ACE ecological restoration project)

Project 120- Jackson Park Advisory Council informational page about PROJECT 120. JPAC information about.
(This is not the site of Project120 Chicago)
Links to Project 12o website and other sources and viewpoints.
T0 Sky Landing section below.
THIS IS NOW AVAILBLE IN ITS OWN PAGE, www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac/Skylanding.htm, which will have the updates from December 4 2016 going forward.
(Oct. 17 a new website, skylanding.com, a site of Project 120, became live.)

Project 120 is a foundation partner of the Chicago Park District partnering in planning and restoration of the South Parks- Jackson, Midway, and Washington.
Project 120 Board. Robert W. Karr, President. Suzanne Kop-Moskow, Executive Vice President. William L. Florida, Vice President. Kumiko Watanabe, Treasurer. Dayne Kono, Secretary. Yumi Ross, Design Chair. Leif Selkregg, Project Management Advisor. Anton Seals, Community Liaison.

Skylanding was given a ceremonial dedication by Yoko Ono October 17, 2016 and opens regularly to the people October 22. Report coming.

May 31 2016, Tuesday, 6-8 pm. Ald. Hairston held a community meeting at La Rabida Hospital to continue discussion and public input on projects proposed for Jackson Park. Robert Karr from Project 120 and Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelly and lead staff answered extensive questions from the crowd of about 170. Although conditions were less than ideal, the tone was sometimes testy, and some felt that the demographics and viewpoints were not as representative as they could be and and that some said later they felt bullied, several scenarios were put to rest and it was confirmed things are far from being decided or settled, whether all believed it or not, and a foundation was proposed to both take a serious look and gather more public input. And it's a part of the forever ongoing question of "whose park?" GMO

In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced June 28 that she will convene a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.

Two summaries from members of Jackson Park Watch

June 15 Hyde Park Herald Re May 31 meeting. By Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid, coordinators

Dear Alderman Hairston:
Jackson Park Watch wants to thank you for convening and leading the May 31 community meeting on the future of Jackson Park. The fact that over 170 residents from communities surrounding the park came out on a very wet and stormy night to listen to and question Park District CEO Michael Kelly and others indicates the breadth and depth of interest in and concerns about the proposals for the future of our park that have been promoted by Project 120. [followed by recitation of the many topics and concerns addressed.]

... We are particularly pleased that the meeting provided the community with clarifications on some key concerns:

We are grateful that you are committed to working with Mr. Kelly to develop a procedure and process for community input that wil fully represent the Jackson Park community in all its diversity. The May 31 meeting was a great step toward that goal , and once again, we thank you.

Thoughts of Jane Masterson, as in Good Neighbors blog

...I think a variety of different things were said. Here is what I chose to remember. Looking forward to hear what the rest of you remembered.

I thought Michael Kelly (CEO CPD) said nothing would be done that the community didn't want and that if the community pushed back there wouldn't be an pavilion/amplified music venue instead of the parking lot behind the Museum of Science and Industry. However, I don't think he added what we would have to do to convince him that the community doesn't want this structure in our park. I think the concert goers would sit on the grass.

Leslie Hairston said that a meeting just as big as the May 31 meeting had approved the pavilion plan in November 2013 at International House. I am attaching an article in the Herald that mentions that Leslie Hairston called a public meeting on Monday, November 25, 2013 (Thanksgiving was that Thursday). The Herald article reporting about the meeting doesn't mention if the meeting was at International House.

Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly said the basketball courts at 63rd and Hayes would not be relocated to the very corner of LSD and Hayes. It was unclear whether the parking lot on Hayes just west of LSD would still be removed and be replaced by part of project 120's great lawn proposal if the basketball courts stay where they are.

Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly briefly mentioned that the parking behind the Museum of Science and Industry would not be removed if the community didn't want it to be removed, but this is just where the Pavilion/Amplified Music Venue is supposed to be.

Darrow Bridge remake plans include only bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles NOT a road connecting LSD and Cornell.

Tennis courts and Dog Park and Golf Driving Range will probably be removed. Tennis players will be directed to tennis courts at 63rd and Cornell or near the Jackson Park Field House. Golf driving range may be relocated so it is parallel to the 1st hole on the golf course. I asked if bark park would be relocated to the tennis courts without nets at 63rd and Cornell and Louise McCurry said no, that the bark park would stay where it was for a while.

I am also attaching project 120's plans (from November 2015 meeting) that show where they originally planned to move the basketball courts (not happening now) and where they originally planned to move the golf driving range (not sure if where the map shows is parallel to first hole) It also shows a new small parking lot they were planning to build next to the relocated basketball courts (basketball courts will not be moved).

...[in Project 120 renderings[ there is a photo of a violinist, 2 acoustic guitars, drums, and electric guitar and a trumpet? Probably meant to show the stage could be used for a variety of different acts. The stage does have two big screens, lights and big speakers. Some of the members of the "band" seem to have brought their own amplifiers.

Letter sent to Chicago Tribune July 2016 by Gary Ossewaarde

To the Editor:

I was startled to read in your editorial of July 15 about a “Ravinia-style” music venue planned for Jackson Park. A highly-attended public meeting on May 31 was well assured by Alderman Hairston (5th) and Chicago Park District CEO Michael P. Kelly that no building or facilities for large or amplified performance will be built in the park-- despite concepts suggested in public-private planning documents--and indeed nothing will be built that the communities do not want. All parties respect the importance of open spaces, the historic Olmsted design for the park, and the nearby natural areas and residences. There has and will continue to be a community discussion process guided by Alderman Hairston, including on how to respectfully and modestly activate the “Music Court” southeast of the present Museum, and area designed by Frederick Law Olmsted after the World’s Fair as an open small-concert area.

That being said, I commend the Tribune for calling attention to differing ideas about what and who parks are for. Frederick Law Olmsted designed a multi-purpose park, recognizing that there are differing ways for people, especially children, to experience the restorative effect of a park setting. Being a neighbor of Jackson Park and having served many years in its park advisory council, I see many using the park for quiet reflection or for close observation of nature or participating in workdays in the natural areas or other parts of the park. Others enjoy picnicking, play or recreation.

Many in the park’s varied surrounding neighborhoods ask for more-- and their fair share of --activities including music and other entertainment or culture, and to have these in a favorite green setting. Dare I say that occasional large programs such as the annual Chosen Few party along 63rd Street have worked well and generate few complaints. Many parks program modest concerts, movies, plays, dance regularly and successfully.

Certainly, many see a strong need for more bathrooms, shelter, or a welcoming center in the middle of the park and also in the area between the Museum and the highly popular Wooded Island and Japanese Garden. In any case, I am for a variety of ways to bring families, especially children outside into safe green spaces—often quiet but sometimes a bit boisterous like our great city.

Gary M. Ossewaarde

Frances Vandervoort, part of Hyde Park Herald letter of June 15 2016 related to the May 31 meeting.

...Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.

Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace. ...

Louise McCurry, as to Hyde Park Herald early June 2016

Dear editor,
The Tuesday afternoon Jackson Park Projects meeting hosted by Alderman Hairston at LaRabida was attended by an audience composed of 90% white participants, over the age of 65 years, and residents Hyde Park. That audience did not reflect the thousands of people ,that I see daily in Jackson Park ,from South Shore, Woodlawn, Jackson Park Highlands , and the south lakefront, who play or coach baseball, soccer, football, basketball, are bikers, runners, park volunteers, gardeners, kayakers, sailors, drummers and musicians. The rude denigrating comments from some members of the organized crowd to the Park officials, the Alderman, and to opposing speakers was embarrassing and kept community members who came prepared to speak in favor of the project quiet to avoid the same rude treatment. The final speaker, a young community business woman, summarized the voices of many in attendance who welcomed the Project as one which will bring more young adults and young families into the park. She explained that the park is for everyone of all ages, and ethnicity, and musical tastes and she was looking forward to having programs in the park which young adults and young families would enjoy and would bring more young families into Jackson Park. A great diverse community needs a park with diverse activities . There will always be…bullies among us who name call, denigrate others, threaten, and declare there is only ONE right answer- "theirs". Could it be that before we make decisions about our young families and children's future park amenities that we should ask those current park drummers, musicians, baseball, football, basketball , soccer players, swimmers, croquet players, tennis players, park gardeners, park volunteers, bike riders, runners and moms pushing baby strollers what they would like to see in their park? Should not the thousands of people who are actually the majority of participants in park activities have a vote in deciding park programs and amenities?

To perspective articles April 26, June 15 and June 29

Project 120 input process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.
Modification of position (correction to wording of January minutes) at the March 2016 JPAC meeting:
Minutes of the January 11 meeting. Margaret Schmid moved that the resolution regarding Project 120 be corrected to the originally introduced text,
“Moved that JPAC should reconsider its vote in support of the Project 120 concept of a pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge and should provide a forum for more open discussion and community input on the pavilion concept and other aspects of Project 120 proposals.” Upon an objection, vote was taken. Vote in favor of the correction was 8 to 3 with 1 abstention. The minutes were accepted as corrected.

We understand from Bob Karr that the installation and dedication of Yoko Ono's artwork at the site of the Phoenix Pavilion on Wooded Island has been pushed back to installation late summer, dedication fall 2016. (more about)

Project 120 website (Project120chicago.org). See also facebook.com/project120chicago and twitter.com/p120chicago.
jacksonparkwatch.org, jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com -- A watch group of neighbors seeking expanded public input including opponents to at least parts of possible plans. see also gardenofthephoenix.org.

A neighborhood group named Jackson Park Watch has its own takes on these matters and happenings. jacksonparkwatch.org.

Memorandum of Understanding of June 10 2014 between CPD and Project 120. The governing document of this process, along with the agreement between the Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers 2014. The MOU document includes the Revised Framework Plan (AS INVISIONED JUNE 2014) and Projects as of the same date. The Park District has regularly consulted with and given proceeding direction to Project 120 but has not yet signed on to the evolving Revised Framework Plan or Projects (except the GLFER and Yoko Ono's Sky Landing).

1999 Framework Plan- also in Park District website, http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/assets/1/7/Jackson_South_Shore.pdf.

Description of and thinking behind the Project 120 Phoenix Pavilion at historic lakefront access point of the park, the Music Court, part of a larger area defined as south of the Museum onto Wooded Island down through the Japanese Garden and Sky Landing (where the original Phoenix Pavilion stood and southeast from the Museum through the Music Court) is in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding as of 2014) Exhibits B and 3, starting at page 22. See also Project 120 website.
Project 12o team to develop the Revised Framework Plan and Projects were (as of June 2014):

Design
wHY | Kulapat Yantrasast
Heritage Landscapes | Patricia O’Donnell
Studio One | Yoko Ono
Project Management
Project Management Advisors, Inc.
Pre-Construction General Contractor
Norcon, Inc.
Legal
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.
Accounting and Tax
Mueller Financial Services, Inc.
Media
Envisionit Media LLC

Recent information (late 2015-early 2016) (This report is largely in order of newer to older.) Gary M. Ossewaarde

April 30, 2016 under the auspices of Project 120, noted Japanese Garden expert Kendall Brown gave the history, and astonishing variety of interests and motives of installers of Japanese Gardens (individuals, institutions to fairs and governments) in the U.S. Many have come to have little to do with the purposes or culture in Japan. He pointed out that the gardens need to have support and funding to be sustainable, and suggested, as put forth by the Association of Planners of Japanese Gardens in America, that wellness and healing walks and programs would be one way, compatible with the role of gardens in Japan.
May 1, Bob Karr of Project 120 delivered a program at Museum of Science and Industry (including videos) on the history of Japan-America and Japan Chicago relations, the Japanese facilities, structures and gardens on Wooded Island all the way through Project 120 contemporary visions including for the whole South Parks, and the story of the Osato family that, inter alia managed the Wooded Island facilities 1935-41. Karr announced that an interactive, encyclopedic historic website on the South Parks will we open in late May 2016 and interactive tours o the Garden and the extended areas north of Wooded Iland will be coming later this year. The program was followed by a chance to stroll through the grounds south of the Museum, Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden.

In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced that she will convene development of a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.

Project 120 input process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.

November 9 2015 and February 8 2016 two public input workshops on the three South Parks was held by Project 120 and the Chicago Park District focusing a "version 1" re-do with public input of the framework plans of c. 2000 for each of the plans. There was extensive background given extensive concept drawings, and introduction of options and changes in response to input. Planners zeroed in on the need for ecology and replanting of lost trees, deteriorated and out of date park circulation, and revitalization of both Olmsted's concept of the park and usability for recreation and re-creation.
The purpose of the meetings and surveys was to ascertain those things that the public agrees upon and might be quicker and less expensive to do, in context of a holistic look -- the thought being that more would gradually fall into place as the parks "get better" There were substantial disagreements on park components (what various user groups need in specific areas) and on some concepts especially from Project 120 regarding areas south of the Museum of Science and Industry and for circulation including Cornell Drive. (The concepts south of the Museum and Music Court were especially contentious at a JPAC MEETING JANUARY 11 2017, along with ire at JPAC having passed an approving resolution regarding a visitors pavilion/center and desire of an opposing group (now Jackson Park Watch) to revamp the public input process (According to the MOU CPD and Project 120 are committed to a vigorous community process and to not include facilities the community does not want, a commitment confirmed with both parties in early 2016.) JPAC wil discuss these matters at it March 14, 2016 regular meeting (7 pm at the fieldhouse). These Meetings, including for specific areas/concepts will continue as well as more robust surveys (including online) and clipboard interviews with users on the ground among other means.

Project 120 started with revitalizing the Japanese Garden, planting cherry trees in commemoration of Japan's give to Columbian Exposition and the cherry trees in Washington DC and expanded to ways to re honor the Phoenix Pavilion. Due to the emergency need to raise local funds to take advantage of ACE funds or ecological restoration in the park and to hire a Olmsted park expert landscaper, Project 120 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Park District for the multi-purpose GLFER project. This was extended to general planning for the 3 parks. Meanwhile, Project 120 focused for Jackson Park on 4 project concepts (GLFER, Yoko Ono's Sky Landing where the Phoenix Pavilion had been, a visitors center in a reactivated Music Court, and recreating the Great Lawn of Olmsted where the Golf Driving Range is now (the latter would be moved)-- the last two are far away. No funds have been raised yet for these. Meanwhile Project 120 is starting to raise funds for smaller projects such as benches and picnic tables at Washington Park's ball fields and some restorations on the Midway/
Project 120 looks to become a fundraising conservancy for the 3 parks and may be renamed "South Parks Alliance." Most of the funds it has raised are smaller donations. The largest, $1M, is from Kenwood resident Bernie Del Giorno.

TO LINKS TO MORE INFO AND VIDEOS.

The Story is best told in the project120chicago.org website and that of Garden of the Phoenix website including timeline. Read the overview sections, then in "News and Information" the abstract of Ms. O'Donnell's presentation in Russia (including four key footnotes on the academic foundational principles), then the detail sections and graphics in "Jackson Park" as deep as you like.
(The USACE 506 Habitat and Fishery Restoration Project. Project 1 section is described and linked above and in our ACE2014 page.)

June 7, 2015 Patricia O'Donnell, FASLA, AICP of Heritage Landscapes presented "Revitalization of Historic Jackson Park: Integrating Heritage and Ecology, Sustainability and Resilience in Chicago" at the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

______________________________

YOKO ONO'S SKY LANDING (This section is now available on its own page, Skylanding.htm, which will have the updates going forward from Dec. 4 2016)

The Sky Landing website, skylanding.com, is live. There you can make a peace wish, as in Japan where they write the wish on strips of white paper and tie that onto a tree to flutter in the wind. Music on the site will initially include one track from Tatsu Aoki's "Skylanding: Music of Yoko Ono by the Miyumi Project" that will be featured, more will be placed for streaming later.

Links to an article about Sky Landing August 2016. Project 120 release. To article ahead of October dedication. History and Background material.
To Op Ed by Gary Ossewaarde from the November 2016 Newsletter.

Note: Earlier and in October 2016: Jackson Park Watch submitted serveral questions about the Skylanding installation. Here are some including abstract of Park District Superintendent Kelly's answers at the October 17 board meeting:
The art is a a donation by the Yoko Ono Foundation and is owned and controlled exclusively by the Chicago Park District. [It has unrestricted access and no fees.] Funding for any special maintenace or security are being sought [identified and raised. Parking is available at a distance and is a widespread problem in the parks. Lack of restrooms in proximity is acknowledged and is also a problem elsewhere throughout the district. [Ed. the Board and Superintendent heard from two speakers, including this editor, the need to consider thoughtfully any further facilities proposed in Jackson Park. The need to restore access via Darrow Bridge has been communicated to CPD and CDOT frequently.]

At the Novemer 2016 JPAC meeting, members raised various concerns and suggestions about overnight security and about regulatory signage on the Island and for the sculpture. The conversation will continue at the December 12 council meeting.

Work began the week of August 8 2016 on installation of Yoko Ono's Sky Landing just west of the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island. The new sculpture of a lotus flower representing peace ise incorporated into the Garden via path reconfiguration. Funds are being raised to enhance perpetual upkeep.
A private dedication ceremony was held Monday October 17 (report coming) and an invitation-only soiree with Yoko Ono's music (Album disc Skylanding) by Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project was be held in the evening.
October 22, Saturday, 11 am, WOODED ISLAND (in which and Sky Landing, a part of Garden of the Phoenix Japanese Garden, will be given PERMANENT PUBLIC ACCESS. Tours of the Island ecological reconstruction and history will be available.
Note that many fences will remain up to protect new plantings and areas for future plantings, and that the Darrow Bridge to parking northwest of the Island remains closed pending construction.

An op ed by Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Newsletter editor, from the November 2016 JPAC Newsletter:

The most important and significant additions of the past month are the re-opening of Wooded Island October 22 with a popular outing experience and opportunities to observe and learn about the ecological and landscape restoration, and the addition of a world-important quality piece of public art, Skylanding, designed by Yoko Ono and installed at the Garden of the Phoenix. Reflecting the universal symbol of the lotus blossom, its purpose is to promote reflection upon peace in the world and in our communities and to call attention to one of the many peoples, the Japanese, who played a part in the making and history of Jackson Park and the country. One has to hope that it contributes in those regards as well as aesthetically—many have already visited to enjoy and take selfies with it. It is the most significant sculptural addition in this South Side park since the replica Republic by Daniel Chester French in 1918. Thank you to all who had this vision.

Some have expressed disappointment that the unveiling was by invitation to a small number given the limited 3 space, security concerns, and that it was a celebration by those (including from this area) who made it possible. Many from the South Side were invited, including parties less than enthusiastic—and the park welcomed many from other parts of the city, as we would expect to be welcomed in Lincoln or Garfield Park, also ours as Chicagoans. There will be discussion of involvement of and contribution by private persons and bodies to park assets and changes and of how such decisions are made and what kind of and how much public input there should be. Such discussion will be held and be necessary as long as there are parks and people to use them. Some details were not shared widely or easily discerned, but major facts were either in public documents or online and there were both several public meetings and consultations with stakeholder organizations that included general information on the ideas and intent for Skylanding. Skylanding was a gift and did not involve public funds, including for upkeep, for which funds will have to be raised. It was not a forced deal, nor involve private control or sequestration or fencing off, or making money off the park that belongs to all, nor dit it involve discernible opportunity costs other than that the donors chose to do this, for our park and communities. This asset would not have been added if it depended on taxes, nor should the overburdened taxpayer be expected to cover it. Having achieved this addition and with the Library and its impact on the park expected, we can and should pause to look carefully at the future of our park and further changes that may or may not be desired and make sure any changes are done compatibly, including with respect for the historic Olmsted design and a healthy, nature- and tree-respective open space. With one exception: restoring and reopening the broken anchor connector, historic Darrow Bridge with all due speed remains a top priority.
For information on Skylanding and the Japanese Garden from the planners and funders, visit www.skylanding.com , www.gardenofthephoenix.org , and www.project120chicago.org.

July 30, 2016. Project 120 announced that an interview with Yoko Ono, "Ono Landing: The unstoppable activist, artist and icon touches down in Chicago this Fall," by David Syrek with photos by Matthew Placek, is now online from the Chicago Tribune and was printed in Chicago Tribune Magazine August 7 2016. TO THE ARTICLE.
In the magazine, it is followed by an article and simplified timeline about the Garden: "From the Ashes: Diplomacy, history and art intersect in a Chicago garden poised for rediscovery," by Nara Schoemberg with phos by Brian Casella.
Learn more about the Garden at gardenofthephoenix.org/ including gardenofthephoenix.org/timeline.
For a video walking tour visit chicagotribune.com/japanesegardentour.

Project 120 release:
Project 120 Chicago is delighted to let you know that a major interview with Yoko Ono is now available digitally and will be featured in the August 7th Chicago Tribune Magazine. Yoko talks about her connection to Chicago, her life and art.

'SKY LANDING' by Yoko Ono
First Permanent Public Art Installation in the Americas, Representing a Lifelong Mission for Peace

"It is where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony with nature and each other." - Yoko Ono on her work SKY LANDING that is being installed in the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Set to be open to the public this Fall 2016,SKY LANDING will be Yoko Ono's first permanent public art work in the Americas. It is a marker of her place as an artist of profound international influence and of her lifelong mission for world peace.

As we approach the dedication, we will let you know of public events and ways that you can be involved.

SKY LANDING is a part of a broader ongoing revitalization of the South Parks designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Thank you for support of Project 120 and Chicago's South Parks.

Longer Project 120 release:


The Artist's First Permanent Public Art Installation in the Americas
Representing her Lifelong Mission for Peace

Project 120 Chicago, a public-private partnership with the Chicago Park District, is pleased to announce that international artist and peace activist Yoko Ono will unveil SKYLANDING, a sculpture and landscape in historic Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side.

SKYLANDING is Ono's first permanent public installation in the Americas, and is situated at the north end of the 15-acre Wooded Island in the historic Garden of the Phoenix, a site within Jackson Park that has been dedicated to relations between Japan and the United States for more than a century.
Consisting of 12 large steel lotus petals with mounds to its north and south forming a yin-yang pattern, "SKYLANDING is place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other," Ono explained. "Peace among all people and nations begins with peace in our hearts, streets and parks."

"Yoko first visited the site in 2013," recalled Robert Karr, Jr., President of Project 120 Chicago. "As we strolled the garden, Yoko reflected on her childhood in Japan and the United States both during and after World War II. She appreciated the vision of those in Japan who created the Phoenix Pavilion for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, as well as the people of Chicago who have cared for the site for generations as a place to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture. Inspired by our discussion of the past, we soon turned to the question of what the future would bring."

Shortly after her visit, Ono began to imagine an appropriate structure for the space once occupied by the Phoenix Pavilion, the unique structure Japan erected on the Wooded Island for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Modeled on an 11th Century temple, the Phoenix Pavilion and the art work it contained showcased for the first time in America the greatest achievements of Japan's artistic heritage. Following the Exposition, it was gifted to the people of Chicago, but was tragically lost to arson in 1946.

For Ono, this history was an inspiration to create a "Lotus of hope to usher in a new era of peace," and on June 12, 2015, she held a Ground Healing ceremony to prepare the site. SKYLANDING has 12 smooth petals, but to commemorate the ground healing, Ono created a 13th lotus petal, entitled MENDED PETAL, that is symbolically repaired in the Japanese tradition of kintsugi. MENDED PETAL will be dedicated at the Art Institute of Chicago on October 18, where remnants of the Phoenix Pavilion are preserved and on display.

The dedication of SKYLANDING is accompanied by the launch of an interactive website and free music release on October 17 at www.skylanding.com.
For information about the Garden of the Phoenix, and the history of U.S.-Japan relations reflected by this historic site, go to www.gardenofthephoenix.org.

Article, Chicago Tribune, October 12, 2016
Link to this article: Yoko Ono's 'Skylanding' installation inspires cutting-edge Chicago jazz

"Inspiring installation: Yoko Ono's work leads to Tatsu Aoki music adventure. By Howard Reich

When Chicago bassist-bandleader Tatsu Aoki was growing up in his native Japan, he drew inspiration from three musical heroes above all: Yoko Ono, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association of Creative Musicians (a collective of Chicago avant-gardists.)

Little did Aoki imagine that nearly half a century later he would be collaborating with Ono and several AACM masters for an album featuring Ono's music. But not just any album, "Skylanding: Music of Yoko Ono by the Miyumi Project" was conceived by Ono and Aoki in conjunction with a high-profile public art installation Ono will unveil in Chicago on Monday. Located at the entrance to the Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park, Ono's Skylanding will feature a dozen 12-foot tall steel lotus petals rising from the ground as a gesture of peace, hope and renewal.

Aoki and his Miyumi Project band, which long has merged the spirit of South Side experimental jazz with traditional Japanese folkloric music, will perform at the occasion, playing some of the music from the forthcoming "Skylanding" album.

So how did this unexpected partnership with Ono begin? "Last yer she did a groundbreaking ceremony at Jackson Park and Miyumi Project played the ceremony opening music," says Aoki, of an event Ono called a "ground healing." "My understanding is that she actually liked the band a lot."

Apparently so, for early this year Aoki found himself visiting Ono in her New York apartment to discuss the venture. "Several months ago, Yoko and I were talking about the completion of Skylanding," explains Robert Karr Jr., president of Project 120 Chicago, a private-public partnership with the Chicago Park District that is overseeing the installation. Ono and Karr felt that music had to be a part of Skylanding, "And she said: What about 'Rising'?" recalls Karr.

Ono was referring to her mid-1990s album, which reflected on the World War II bombings of Japan that profoundly affected her and millions of others. As she was making the album, "The memory of being a young child in Japan during the second world war came back to me," she wrote in the liner notes. "I remember being called an American spy by other kids for not singing the Japanese National Anthem fast enough (it's a slow song, but they suspected I didn't know the anthem too well since I lived in the United States before the war). I remember the severe bombing in Tokyo, hiding in a air-raid shelter listening to the sound of the bombs coming closer then going away, and feeling that my mother and I lived another day."

Those traumatic memories and, of course, the tragic effects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, echo in the "Rising" album. Nowhere more than in its opening song, "Warzone," with lyrics that reference "towns burning," throats choking," "skin peeling" and "bones melting."

In effect, Ono has picked up on those concerns in her Skylanding installation. "The lotus represents hope, rebirth and spiritual awakening," she told the Tribune earlier this year. She chose to place Skylanding on the site where Japan had built a Phoenix Pavilion for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, presented as a gift to the people of Chicago after the exposition. That pavilion succumbed to arson in 1946, but in 2013--to mark the 120th anniversary of the pavilion--more than 120 cherry trees were planted there.

"Soon after I first visited the site in 2013," Ono said in the Tribune interview, "I began to imagine such a lotus rising from the ashes of the lost Phoenix." With Ono and Karr believing that music needed to be a part of her venture, Karr turned to Aoki, who moved to Chicago in the late 1970s to learn from the artists of the AACM, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and other facets of teh city's percolating music scene. Ever since, he has intertwined the sounds of two cultures, East and West.

"If I went to Tatsu, I didn't need to go and explain it," says Karr. "Tatsu himself embodies all of this in his work and his experiences," adds Karr, referring to the connections between Japan and Chicago that Aoki's music epitomizes. Aoki's job was to craft a jazz response to Ono's music on the "Skylanding" album, which he does by drawing on two tunes from the "Rising" album and other pieces, his ensemble's music ranging from tempestuous to serene (Ono does not perform on the recording).

The first track, "Warzone" (which also opens Ono's "Rising" album, begins hauntingly, with taiko drums and traditional Japanese woodwinds giving way to screaming electric guitar and explosive percussion--quite appropriate, considering the subject matter. Meanwhile, the great Chicago jazz singer Dee Alexander repeatedly howls the phrase "Warzone." Alexander's sometimes earthy, sometimes airborne vocals ultimately emerge as teh focal point of the album, particularly in the final song, ono's "Skylanding." To hear Alexander chant its central lyric--with leading Chicago jazz musicians playing behind her--is to understand the power of Ono's message and the AACM's aesthetic.

"Skylanding is a place where the sky and earth meet and created a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony," sings Alexander, "with nature and each other." That line crystallizes what the song and the installation are about.

As for the "skylanding" album in its entirety, "it tells a story about the complexity of humanity and our ability to both create and destroy," writes Karr in an email (Ono was unavailable for comment). "For example, "Warzone" is about the devastation she witnessed as a child in Tokyo during World War II and teh aftermath of the atomic bombs dropped on hiroshima and Nagasaki. 'Rising' is a path to peace."

You certainly believe that when you hear Alexander intone the life-affirming lyrics in "Rising," Alexander's voice bounding from throaty low notes to soaring high ones. "Listen to your heart/ Respect your intuition/ Make your manifestation/ There's no limitation." Not that any of this is easy listening, by pop-culture standards. Instrumentalists such as saxophonists Mwata Bowden and Edward Wilkerson Jr., percussionists Coco Elysses and Avreeayl Ra and guitarist Rami Atassi bring ample ferocity to the proceedings. "Some people may not feel comfortable with this type of music," says Karr, pointing to its edgy nature. "But in this context, sometimes you've got to go out there, man. And you've got to do this with heart." That always has been Aoki's approach.

Working with Ono, he says, has been "really an incredible experience for me." The 'Rising' track will be streamed on the project's website, www.skylanding.com, which goes live Monday, as all the "Skylanding" music eventually will be. Ultimately adds Aoki, this work represents "my homage to Yoko Ono's music--as a Chicagoan (and) as a musician that developed the sound of Chicago Asian-American jazz."

Ono and Karr could not have picked a Chicago musician better suited to the task.

June 12 2015 Yoko Ono's SKY LANDING had its inaugural celebration and Ground Healing ceremony with Yoko Ono (This report in pdf and another) and the work is now installed and dedicated (October 17 2016) and will be open for unrestricted public viewing OCTOBER 22 2016 FROM 11 AM. The two mounds to surround it and "effect" the "landing" of the sky cooling and healing eary. The mounds suggest rotating/mixing motion and resemble the classical Asian symbol for Yang and Yin.

Report on October 17 dedication is coming.

May 24 2016 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.

Press release on Sky Landing by Project 120, June 12, 2016

Sky Landing, by Yoko Ono, First Permanent Public Art Installation in the Americas, Representing a Lifelong Mission for Peace. Coming this Fall to the Garden of the Phoenix, Wooded Island, Jackson Park, Chicago

One year ago today, on June 12, 2015, Noon, Yoko Ono held a Ground Healing Ceremony on the site of SKY LANDING in the Garden of the Phoenix on the Wooded Island on Wooded Island in Jackson Park, Chicago

Set to be open to the public this Fall 2016, SKY LANDING will be Yoko Ono's first permanent public art work in the Americas. It is a marker of her place as an artist of profound international influence and of her lifelong mission for world peace.

SKY LANDING is an ongoing renovation of Jackson Park, including ecological restoration, and a return to how it looked when it looked when it was originally designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
More at project120chicago.org.
________

In a July 6 2016 letter to the Hyde Park Herald, Francis S. Vandervoort (who is nature trail steward for JPAC in Jackson Park) and Robert W. Karr (Project 120) write in response to critique of celebrities allegedly swooping down to add things to parks:

"In the early 189os, the Japanese government, striving to break free of cultural bonds that had shut if off from te western world for centuries, heard about the great World's Columbian Exposition that was under construction in the burgeoning city of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. Eager to be welcomed by the West, the Japanese offered monetary support for the fair, now called the World's Columbian Exposition, an amount exceeded only by that of the United States.

The Japanese made another offer as well, one that chief of construction Daniel Burnham could not resist. The Japanese wanted to construct a special building, a "Ho-o-den," or Phoenix Pavilion, and gift it to Chicago following the fair to celebrate the city's rapid recovery from the Great Fire of 1871 and be a symbol of peace between the U.S. and Japan.

There was one problem. The Japanese wanted to build the Ho-o-den on Wooded Island, the site that chief landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had specifically designated as a place of respite and quiet reflection, far away from the noise and and hubbub of the rest of the fair. Olmsted believed that such green space was necessary for urban living, and the Wooded Island served this important purpose within the fair's well-planned city environment.

Burnham used his administrative skill to persuade Olmsted to change his mind about the Ho-o-den, which then was built by a cadre of handsomely uniformed Japanese carpenters brought to Chicago specifically for the task of building the Ho-o-den and a nearby Japanese tea house. Following Olmsteds' approval, teh South Park Commissioners then agreed to accept the Ho-o-den on behalf of Chicago, and to maintain it as a permanent place to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.

The Ho-o-den and teahouse were instantly successful. Both structures not only conveyed the spirits of democracy and community so important to Olmsted's way of thinking, they left a lasting impression on visitors. Among them was a young Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed a life-long fascination and relationship with Japan following his encounters with the fair, including ideas that led to his development of the Prairie style best exemplified by nearby Robie House. Although the tea house disintegrated shortly after the fair closed, the Ho-o-den remained an important feature of Jackson Park until destroyed by fire in 1946.

We now have the opportunity to reestablish this site, and recognize it as one of the most important sites reflecting U.S.-Japan relations for over 120 years. Yoko Ono recognized this when she first visited the original site of the Ho-o-den in 2013. For her, this site has a unique and extraordinary past and future as symbol of peace. Not just between the U.S. and Japan, but among all people and all nations. In fact, we can all use more peace, not just internationally, but locally on our streets and our parks. She has given us an opportunity to learn about our past and create the future together. It is our responsibility to use it.

 

Gary Ossewaarde reports June 12, 2015:

Yoko Ono’s “SKY LANDING” inaugurated June 12 2015 on Wooded Island site of the historic Japanese Phoenix Pavilion from the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park
By Gary M. Ossewaarde

On June 12, 2015 artist Yoko Ono celebrated SKY LANDING, her first permanent installation in the Americas, in a ground-breaking ceremony by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Project 120 Chicago, and Garden of the Phoenix Foundation. The ground has already been prepared with an elegant u-shaped, now turf-covered double mound designed by wHY LLC that will be landscaped. It will be the site, when dedicated in June 2016, a sculpture to be called SKY LANDING, by artist Yoko Ono and a marker—a space for both congregation and contemplation, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. No information was provided about the sculpture except as suggested by the title. The project is being funded with private money under direction of private-public partnership Project 120. The project was given several public and stakeholder vetting's.

The project is sited in Jackson Park, Chicago’s Wooded Island, on the site of the Phoenix Pavilion, a gift from Japan to Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and located next to the later Japanese Garden. SKY LANDING and the Garden together comprise The Garden of the Phoenix.

The ground-breaking event was designated a “Ground Healing,” to establish the site as a bridge between sky and earth. The public ceremony consisted of a stirring drum, music and dance performance led by award-winning Tatsu Aoki and his Miyumi Project featuring the Tsukasa Taiko drummers, an ensemble of three saxophones, flute, and bass, and a traditional Japanese fan dance. Any further ceremony after on the hill was perhaps postponed because of weather, but the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm and warmth. Ono said, “It is almost like Chicago and Japan, that there’s an incredible, intense opening of the heart from the Chicago end, and I didn’t even know that. It’s like, the intensity is almost insane. And I think ‘wow, this is incredible’”. Ono reflected that more Japanese should learn the Chicago-Japan story and give Chicago something back and that SKY LANDING can generate peace.

Context was given by host Robert Karr, and remarks made by Michael Moskow, Vice Chair and Distinguished Fellow, Global Economy of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Chairman of the Japan Society of Chicago; Tushiyuki Iwado, Council General of Japan at Chicago; Hon. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, The University of Chicago; and Yoko Ono. Honored guests included descendants of J. Donnersberger, South Parks Board Commission Chairman 1893.

Outlined was the long and deep relationship between Japan and the United States (first treaty March 31, 1854) and Chicago (first visit by a Japanese mission in 1872 with a gift to the fire-ravaged city). The gift of the Phoenix Pavilion to the Columbian Exposition and as a permanent gift to the City of Chicago was carefully worked out, including with Fair designers Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmsted, then inaugurated--also on a March 31 in 1893 at an elaborate convening of national and Fair officials and notables. The accompanying ceremony of the “landing” of the phoenix on the site helped inspire today’s SKY LANDING. The pavilion was modeled on a 12th century temple, shipped in sections from Japan, and assembled on the Island. The phoenix is associated with “kanji” (rebirth) and the idea that people and all are reborn on their 60th birthday and hence that history moves in cycles of 60 years. The pavilion was a well-used and loved facility in Chicago and by its growing Japanese community for many years. After its destruction by fire, four partially-burned panels were in storage for many years, but are now restored and on view in the Art Institute of Chicago.

SKY LANDING was conceived during an invited visit by Yoko Ono as Project 120 planted over 120 cherry trees as part of an evolving plan to restore and rethink the environs of the Japanese Garden and create ways that would serve as a living history lessons honoring Olmsted, the Columbian Exposition, the relationship with Japan, and the planting in 1913 of the cherry trees in Washington D.C. Cherry blossoms are iconic of spring in Japan and that appealed to Ono, as well as the site as the location at the Phoenix Pavilion, representing the Japan-Chicago relationship and at the center of major axes of both the park and the Columbian Exposition. Ono, releases state, was immediately drawn to and struck by the power of the place “I recall being immediately connected to the powerful site and feeling the tension between the sky and the ground. I wanted the sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.”

2013 marked the passage of two 60-year cycles since 1893 (celebrated with giant banners celebrating “120 Years” at today’s ground breaking.) Speakers noted that while the first cycle post-World’s Fair was marred by an era of disastrous relations between the U.S. and Japan; the second has been marked by deepening alliance and mutual reliance. SKY LANDING marks the start of a third cycle and that is celebrated by SKY LANDING, standing in as a reconstruction of the Phoenix Pavilion. SKY LANDING project’ undertaking today conveniently dovetails with the U.S. Army Corps reconstruction of Wooded Island and the lagoons and a larger framework planning to restore habitat and landscape in accord with Olmsted’s vision, but resilient and sustainable. And Mayor Emanuel also took advantage of the event to announce another aspect of the City’s renewal of its commitment to public art, 50 new pieces of art in each of the 50 wards.
Chicago Park District CEO and General Superintendent Michael Kelly said about SKY LANDING in a release, “The City of Chicago was honored to receive such a gift from Japan at the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Understanding our past and our relationship today as global partners, we are privileged that the site, with the addition of ‘SKY LANDING’ by Yoko Ono, will teach and inspire us and future generations who visit The Garden of the Phoenix.” It’s an expression of the “enduring legacy of Eastern and Western collaboration” and unity the city press release adds. Mayor Emanuel said, “We will be most honored with the only place in the Americas with her artwork, and I want to thank you for choosing Chicago for that.”

Yoko Ono is an internationally-renowned installation and performance artist who grew up in Japan and has kept her connections to her homeland strong. She has overseen large outdoor installations: in New York City’s Central Park (“Strawberry Fields”) and Reykjavik, Iceland (“Imagine Peace Tower”). SKY LANDING is her first permanent installation in the Americas. A retrospective is currently on view at the MOMA in New York. Ono is widow of John Lennon, and is devoted to peace, meditation, and mystic powers and significance.



____________

A special meeting about Jackson Park was held January 13 2015, Community meeting convened by Ald. Hairston (5th) on the proposed Vision Framework for Jackson Park and four projects envisioned. Presenters included: Robert Karr, Project 120 Chicago; Patricia O’Donnell, Heritage Landscapes; Kulapat Yantrasast, whY design firm. They described where they are so far and advancing thought on the projects. The Army Corps prject is underway as modified to fit Olmsted-framework thinking late in 2014. In future years would be Yoko Ono-involved Sky Landing earthscape outside the Japanese Garden, a visitors center and realignment in the Music Court area, and the re-establishment of the Great Lawn and movement of the Golf Driving Range. Among the key unifying actions would be restoration and redesign and calming of circulation for better access and views, overlooks, and improvement and expansion for both nature and human use and the focal points and destinations in the park.
More meetings later.

As more specific becomes known about the Project 120 concept for the park's framework, potentially including a large visitors and learning center, that material will be moved here or to their own pages. A framework is being developed in consultation with JPAC and which will be presented in early 2015 to CPD for its consideration in early 2015. It is expected to include a general revision of the 2000 Framework Plan and four specific areal revisionings, the first of which is the already in process/progress ACE Habitat Restoration. Project 120 adn Heritage Landscapes will come to the January 2014 JPAC meeting (expected to also hear the UC Obama Library bid team) as part of a visioning - imagining session for the council. It is possible an earlier meeting will be called. Late in 2014 (not quite yet) Project 120 will put their ideas up for comment in their interactive-visual site http://www.project120chicago.org.

While there is consultation among projects, Project 120 and the Army Corps habitat restoration project are separate projects that will not physically overlap in the park.

PROJECT 120. The plan was originally vetted at a November 18 2013 public meeting convened by Ald. Hairston, well attended. There have been modifications since. March 13 Robert Karr of Project 120 presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, possible design concepts for enhancing Jackson Park to help it be more of a teaching park- science, nature, history and better serve the many users and enjoyers of the park- to be in accord with a revisited framework plan and in accord with Olmsted landscape including the many newly planted cherry trees (from which the larger concept grew). The centerpiece is reorganizing the area south of the Museum, known as music court, with a c. $10M (cost and concept likely to change) visitors and teaching center with tour center, museum and amenities. Concepts and concept renderings were made by Why Design architects. Karr noted that the park is owed something to replace the Phoenix Pavilion and Tea House, which were supposed to be in perpetuity, and and former concert structures in the Music Court. Many are thrilled, others have strong reservations about size or other factors or oppose any new structures in parks at all. There was a brief report in the March 19 2014, which may or may not still be up. Hyde Park Herald.
http://www.project120chicago.org (best to sign up for their emails at info@project120chicago.org) (they are strongly tied to and seem to be under Garden of the Phoenix and its website
http://www.gardenofthephoenix.org inquiries info@).
At its April 14 meeting, Jackson Park Advisory Council approved the project in principle,
adding that its name should reflect its role as a nature and culture center in Jackson Park.

Perspectives (only a small selection is possible. More will be added).

April 26 2014 Louise McCurry gave the following thoughts (not officially endorsed by JPAC although the latter has endorsed the project in principle), to Good Neighbors on Project 120.

From: commissioner751@comcast.net
To: goodneighbors@googlegroups.com
Sent:Sat Apr 26 03:08:16 UTC 2014
Subject: [Good Neighbors] Jackson Park

"Thank you all for your interest in Jackson Park. Jackson Park is the most amazing lakefront park in the city! It was redesigned after the1893 World's Fair by Olmsted and his landscape architectural company to include the Music Court at it's current location, along with the Japanese Tea House and the Japanese Gardens.

While circulating petitions for the Nancy Hays Bridge, I spoke with scores of older July 4th Music Court visitors who recalled fondly from their childhood the concerts in the Music Court and its July 4th celebrations. This was before the the opening of the Nike Missile Base which effectively closed off this part of the park to visitors . Others recalled Shakespeare plays, children's plays, community meetings, and classes they attended at the Music Court,. The Court was as a safe,outdoor place where community members and families came together for celebrations and events. Some of these seniors travel from Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky annually on July 4th to celebrate at the Music Court with their families, as they did when they were young.

The Japanese Gardens and Tea House were built by the Japanese for the 1893 World's Fair and were given to the American people as a symbol of friendship. The Japanese Tea House, contained public bathrooms, and was supposedly burned down by teens because of the Japanese role in WWII. The band shell was destroyed before the Nike Missile Base was opened.

Currently, I have observed, the Music Court is used by: drivers illegally parking in the Music Court instead of the paid lot, drinkers who leave an assortment of bottles, cans, and garbage each Friday and Saturday night during the warm months. individuals who are selling drugs leaving behind their dime bags and wrappers, prostitutes who leave behind their condom wrappers, and large noisy spontaneous gatherings who party in the Music Court rather than the pay permit picnic areas. For at least the last 23 years that I have been doing AYSO soccer ,on Saturday and Sunday afternoons competing boom boxes blast at decibels loud enough to be heard by children playing soccer at the 63rd street soccer fields.

On Saturday or Sunday Mornings, JPAC volunteers, working with the Park District, pick up bags full of bottles, cans, food, and garbage left on the ground by people using the Court and its parking lot. JPAC volunteers have spent hundreds of hours working, with the Park District, to bring visitors and families back to the park by clearing the debris, reporting criminal activity, and replanting the native species on Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadow, repairing the picnic areas, the sports fields and the bike and walking paths, and cleaning the beaches at 57th,63rd, and 67th streets. JPAC wants to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" by bringing people and families into our park to enjoy nature rather than spending hours in front of TV or computer screens.

The Phoenix plan only rebuilds and replaces the previously destroyed Music Court band shell, Japanese tea house, and bathrooms. It includes bathrooms, and small outdoor stage and seating area, and a tea house with a staff who can assist visitors or alert police or emergency responders. . It offers us a safe, comfortable, outdoor family and community resource where visitors can get a cool drink, use the bathroom, sit down and listen to a nature or history guide; where school groups can gather for nature classes before visiting the treasures of Bobolink Meadow and Wooded Island:, where visitors to the 1893 World's Fair site can gather for orientation lectures before walking the sites of the World's Fair; where small groups can perform : ( i.e. children's choirs, children's violin groups, children's theater groups, children's ballet groups, plays like Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor family nature classes, school nature classes, string quartets, jazz trios, classical music trios, and even community celebrations like the Wooded Island Festival.) It is a place where fond childhood and family memories can be made. Music Court is a small space, not a large Northerly Island concert venue. It is a small place where small groups of community members can comfortably come together outdoors, and sip some tea or pop, and maybe listen to their children's concerts or a play or lecture. Then, after drinking their fill of tea ,pop, or coffee, rather than attempting to hold it until they get home, they can use a clean, safe bathroom at the Phoenix.

What a vast improvement from usages of the current deteriorating Music Court and the rebuilding of a positive and much needed community and family resource!

As always, JPAC welcomes you to join our JPAC volunteers to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" in our community.
Louise McCurry, JPAC President."

June 15 2016- Letter to Hyde Park Herald by Frances Vandervoort- Sacred Cows and Holy Beavers

To the Editor:
Last week I learned of local concern that the Jackson Park Golf Driving Range, constructed in 1978 near the site of the Nike Missile Base, was soon to be sacrificed to Project 120’s plan to convert the space into a spacious lawn. I also learned that beavers would soon be unwelcome facets of Jackson Park ecology. Never mind that, in 1978, when the golf driving range was about to become reality, concerned citizens sought the help of former alderman Leon Despres to prevent the Chicago Park District (CPD) from destroying much of the existing Bobolink Meadow. Documents, signed by Mr. Despres, were presented by a local resident to the chief lawyer of the CPD, temporarily halting bulldozers poised to tear up the precious land. Hyde Parkers, who chained themselves to driving range posts, were cut free by CPD employees, carted off to district police headquarters, and released at the request of Mr. Despres. Now, it seems, the driving range is a sacred cow – to be saved at all cost!

Beavers travel north along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from south lakeshore wilderness areas to seek out fresh stands of new and mature trees. They often settle in Jackson Park’s lagoons to build lodges and feed upon branches with their powerful teeth and jaws. CPD employees trap the creatures, take them back to forest preserves, knowing full well that many of them will return. Beavers are persistent. It seems, that in the eyes of some, they are sacred as well.

Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.

Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace.

The Role of Project 120 in Jackson Park Planning.
Many folks are unaware that Project 120 is part of a collaborative effort involving the Chicago Park District and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers known as GLFER, Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration. GLFER uses CPD and U.S. Government funds supplemented by private funds raised by Project 120. GLFER is committed to addressing park management issues in view of evolving urban needs and the inevitable climate changes foreseen for the 21st Century. Also, part of its duty is to inform and involve the public in all actions proposed or taken. Numerous meetings have been held to discuss all issues related to the project. Questions (that appeared on a Jackson Park Watch handout on May 29) about "how the Park District feels about..., " or "what the Park District thinks about ..." are specious and misleading. The three units making up GLFER are in total agreement. Project 120 is easier to say than GLFER, but it is NOT a defining term.

Project 120 has engaged the nation's foremost expert on Frederick Law Olmsted, Patricia O'Donnell of Heritage Landscapes, LLC, for advice about park design. Working for GLFER is the outstanding young CPD ecologist, Lauren Umek, who analyzes and suggests the very best ecological practices for management of the special treasure that is Jackson Park.

We are so lucky.

Letter by Eric Ginsburg to Hyde Park Herald June 29, 2016. There is no need to mar the middle of Jackson Park with another intrusive artificial object.

I submit that Project 120's plan to put a music pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park might not have been appreciated by the park's designer, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1891, he wrote a letter protesting the placement of a music hall on Wooded Island, saying people should consider it "a place of relief from all the splendor and glory and noise and human multitudinousness of the great surrounding Babylon" In his public advocacy, Olmsted repeatedly showed that he understood the value in unbuilt spaces, saying for example that Presque Isle in Michigan, "should not be marred by the intrusion of artificial objects. "

Jackson Park is one of our city's few remaining spots of urban wilderness. Birdwatchers come from far away to se the animals it draws, families come to picnic, many come to fish. As our population grows, such places become fewer and fewer, and as habitat decreases across the hemisphere, the number and variety of birds decreases as well.

the proposed pavilion will displace trees and green space, impair views, and bring extra noise, all unnecessarily. We already have many permanent music venues on the South Side of Chicago. Jackson Park already hosts the Chosen Few festival every year without the need for permanent structures. If the communities surrounding Jackson Park collectively decide, through a collective open process, that public land is needed for a new music venue, we can find a more appropriate location for it than in th center of a natural area.

Olmsted's attitude was prescient. He was writing in an era before amplified music, before the Park was surrounded by road noise from traffic moving at highway speeds, before several bird species once found in Chicago went extinct. Olmsted knew from experience what neuroscientists have since quantified, that a walk in nature has beneficial effects on the brain. He would have understood that there is no need to mar the middle of his park with another intrusive "artificial object."

[Ed. note, on the other hand, Frances Vandervoort read at a Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting a letter of Olmsted proposing a music pavilion in Washington Park.]

Documentary on Olmsted and design of American Parks available, to be broadcast.

Special: PBS doc on Olmsted, Designing Americas Parks with extras is available on line and will be broadcast on PBS June 26 9 pm (EDT?). Passed on by Madiem: We are pleased to let you know that “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America,” a one-hour film, will be broadcast nationally on PBS on Friday, June 20 at 9:00 PM (check local listings.) Attached below you will find a pdf of the broadcast announcement, which we hope you will share with your friends via email and social media.We have produced six short bonus videos for the film, which you can see now on the PBS Olmsted website. We have also produced a twelve-minute film for the Library of American Landscape History, which also will be on the PBS site soon. The film is called “The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System.” It is part of the LALH “North American by Design” film series and it is available now on the LALH website, as are two other landscape architecture films. I’ve put the links to both sites below.
Olmsted Bonus Videos. Library of American Landscape History Short Films