By SAM RAPPAPORT
Two ash trees in Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St., will soon be turned into sculptures as part of The Chicago Tree Project, a Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International initiative to transform dying trees into public art.
One of the ash trees soon to be sculpted sits in the central-west section of Nichols Park while the other is located in the northwest corner of the park.
“We hope to take what was once a beautiful, natural tree and supplant something else that engages the community and fills a visual void,” said Mike Dimitroff, manager of art initiatives for the Chicago Park District.
Jim Long, the artist selected to transform the two ash trees in Nichols Park, will begin working on the project the morning of August 17. He estimates that, weather permitting, the sculptures will be done in two weeks.
Long does not approach his projects with preconceived ideas. Instead, he draws inspiration from the trees themselves.
“I have to look at the tree and see what’s inside,” Long said.