“Pure Imagination” Installation – Uptown, Chicago

Pure Imagination: A Temporary Art Installation in Uptown

“If you want to see paradise, simply look around and view it…”


“Pure Imagination” – the famous tune from Willy Wonka written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley – streamed dreamily through the streets of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood yesteday evening.  The 2-block pedestrian-only stretch of Sunnyside Avenue (between Beacon & Malden) was abuzz as volunteers and residents blew up big orange balloons and painted orange chalk orbs on the pavement.  The event comes as part of an urban tactical installation aimed at bringing positive energy to the area.

Put on by the Sunnyside Mall Committee, in partnership with Congress for New Urbanism – Illinois (CNU), the temporary art install – aptly named, “Pure Imagination” – ran from 5:30pm to 8pm yesterday evening, Thursday, August 27th, 2015.

“The installation is meant to draw attention to the space, help people realize what an asset it is to the community and kick-off what will hopefully be a larger revitalization to the corridor,” explained Teska Landscape Architect, Brett Weidl, who lives in Uptown and serves on the Sunnyside Mall Committee.

“It was such a positive event for our community – not only did we have planners, landscape architects, and architects helping out but a ton of community residents joined in. People are still walking through the space today taking pictures and ooo-ing and aww-ing.”

The neighborhood-building event was sponsored by the Sunnyside Mall, CNU, Teska Associates, Inc., The Lakota Group and local hardware store, Crafty Beaver. A follow-up ‘Community Input Meeting’ is planned for Saturday August 29th at 10am in the Mall to ask neighbors what THEY envision in the Sunnyside Mall long-term.

Photographs by Kyle Schlegel