T-rex Comes Alive in the Park!

  • Mike McCurry
  • 05/13/16
When the water in the glass rippled, it sent a frightening message that something big was coming. Then, a thundering bass echoed and confirmed the approaching footsteps. Knowing that nothing small could possibly make such an impact on the earth’s surface, the frightened people realized it must be the footsteps of something huge and terrifying. And if you listen closely, you can hear it approaching Prospect Park!
No, they didn’t harvest a dinosaur egg. And Steven Spielberg isn’t filming Jurassic Park 5 in Clarendon Hills. This is even better! The Park Foundation and Park District are bringing a Tyrannosaurus rex to the park (in the form of a three-dimensional art sculpture being made by Evens Metal Products, Elkhart, IN and painted by Fritz Brown of Downers) to live and make its home. What a creative idea!
A couple of years ago, I had a client who was looking to unload a lot of art that he had collected over the years. It wasn’t the regular, run-of-the-mill yard art that you see in some rural areas. You know what I’m talking about: the kind of art where the HGTV show American Pickers stops in to see what they can unclench from the hoarding owner’s fist. This was really big, great stuff — and whimsical too. There was a bridge that had been brought in from Nebraska; there was some “beef” around the property from the famed Chicago Cows on Parade; even a herd of elephants graced the property. (The property was over 10 acres, so the herd almost looked as if they belonged.) There was also a lot of commissioned work, much of it big, rusty, steel pieces that could be showcased and displayed in large areas. Sadly, these pieces got away from us and Clarendon Hills didn’t inherit any of them.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the LOVE sculpture created by Robert Indiana at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I was just a kid, and seeing this wonderful piece made art approachable to me. I could touch it and climb it, and I’m sure my siblings and I played tag around it! Years later at Indiana University, I was excited to be the creator of a three-dimensional piece that actually ended up being on display outside our art buildings for about a year. Art gives children the confidence that they can create, too; I’m living proof!
The mission of Clarendon Hills Park Foundation — “to enhance the quality of life by seeking contributions of all types, including grants and donations, to be used by the park district” — this is a big statement to bring art to our parks (and our big spaces). We have such awesome parks and plenty of large spaces where we can showcase art. We as a community should be encouraged to partner to find more and more big, interesting, whimsical pieces that can be put on display. This is a callout to those of you who have connections in the art world. Bring it on!
On Friday, May 27 at 12:30 p.m., the T. rex will be officially dedicated and will stand next to the Prospect Park pond. It will be christened with a name, too; the children of Prospect School were challenged to come up with a name for our new resident. I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to name him (or her) than that. After all, art unleashes the creative side of us all.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian prince; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business or announces school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.

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