The "Found Objects Sculpture Trail" set to debut on April 8 along the Snapper Pond Trail at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Forest Preserve District plans to install the sculpture trail at a later time once state and federal authorities believe it is safe for members of the public to resume non-essential travel. Updates will be posted online.
Once the sculpture trail is installed and open, visitors will see how artist Jennifer Meyer looked at discarded items and saw potential instead of trash.
Meyer has taken some of the refuse around her and converted it into works of art. The “Found Objects Sculpture Trail” exhibition will feature seven of her pieces, which were all crafted from discarded items.
“Some of the waste was created from my own personal consumption of our natural resources like my furnace and my car muffler, but most of it was lying around in the street or in the alley” she said. “ … All of the artwork is still ‘junk’ that was ‘no good anymore.’
"The only difference is that one person thought about it before she threw it out," Meyer said. "So now, instead of that ‘junk’ taking up more land in the landfill and turning the water, air and soil all around it toxic, it can coexist with nature and people who like to be in it and preserve it.”
Satellite dishes, bike parts, a car hood and a water tank hand crank were all repurposed for the sculptures. Meyer said she hopes the exhibition inspires others to be more mindful.
“One person can make a difference,” she said. “Think about what you consider discards. Think about what you see when you walk on Snapper Pond Trail, and what you can do around where you live to protect many kinds of life. We as humans are a small part of a larger ecosystem and you can be the kind of human that protects good things and not the kind that threatens them.”
The artwork will be a great addition to the trail, said Suzy Lyttle, an interpretive naturalist at Plum Creek Nature Center.
“We hope these sculptures bring a new feeling to the trail,” she said. “It is probably the most popular trail at Goodenow Grove due to its accessibility, length for little ones and the beautiful views of the forest and Snapper Pond.”
The sculptures feature old items that have been given new “whimsical life,” she added.
“What some might call old junk has been transformed into huge flowers, a singing chorus, a bird, a sheep trio, a frog and a girl blowing bubbles,” Lyttle said.
Currently, all Forest Preserve parking lots and visitor centers are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A spike in cases could overwhelm healthcare centers. And the Forest Preserve District is encouraging everyone to stay as close to home as possible and practice recommended social distancing during Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order.
But once Forest Preserve parking lots and visitor centers return to normal, the sculpture trail will provide an interesting experience for new and veteran trail users, Lyttle said.
“We encourage everyone to experience the trail and then come inside to Plum Creek Nature Center to make some art of your own (once the visitor center reopens),” Lyttle said. “We will have all sorts of supplies like cardboard, jars, caps, containers etc. We challenge you to take something destined for the landfill and turn it into something beautiful, just like Jennifer does with her artwork. In the end, it is about repurposing and upcycling items to give them new life and a new meaning.”
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