2015 02 09 Art You Can TouchOne of the best parts about running outside in Chicago is that it’s easier to discover what you might completely miss when traveling by car. I’ve gotten a better sense of my neighborhood, local real estate and even corners that are miles away by zipping up my sweatshirt, putting one foot in front of the other, and wiping sweat from my brow.

The latest cool spots relatively near me are the Native American mosaics on the Foster Avenue Lake Shore Drive underpass in Edgewater and the mosaics at the corner of Argyle and Broadway streets in Uptown.

The 3,400-square-foot expanse of “Indian Land Dancing” tells the history of Indians in Chicago. It also crosses paths with old Indian trails. The goal is to teach the past, not to just put it on display, according to a June 2009 story written by Clare Lane in The Chicago Tribune. The story can be found here: Vast Mural Will Depict Chicago’s Indian Roots

“Art in public space has been enabling in a community,” said Mary Jane Jacobs, a teacher at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago who specializes in sculpture and place-specific art. “The work becomes embraced and that grows richer over time. It grounds people within their own consciousness of place.”

There’s a lot in “Indian Land Dancing” that swells and shimmers beyond comparison, even on a cold, overcast afternoon. But even a glimpse of the yellow-, orange-, and black-tiled sun on the south side of the underpass will brighten your day. Across the street, on the north side of the underpass, a series of waves undulate until they form a woman clutching a swirl of blue, purple and white tiles, the series of circles becoming larger or smaller, depending on your perspective.

Look closer, and you’ll find mini-art within the tiles. Thunderbirds fly through the air, Indians of lore look you right in the eye, and a small tile tells you that the American Indian Center is just one mile west of where you stand. The center is located at 1630 W. Wilson Ave.

The bricolage mosaics were created by lead artists Tracy Van Duinen and Todd Osborne, Edgewater community residents, youth apprentices and American Indian artists. It’s a Chicago Public Art Group project, according to

Not too far away, on the northeast corner of Argyle and Broadway streets, a lotus flower, dragonfly and more are spaced out on a wall between two small businesses. The wall belongs to a convenience store owner who gave the economic development organization Uptown United permission to use it, according to a June 2013 story in

Uptown United President Alyssa Berman-Cutler initiated the project. Longtime Uptown resident and artist Ginny Sykes designed images reflective of Asian cultures of Argyle Street.

Berman-Cutler said Sykes’ work “really does respect the communities” it comes from and doesn’t feel like some massive effort conceived by an artist and then “thrown at the community.” Meanwhile, Sykes adds “a layer of sophistication” that conveys “a fine-arts feel,” Berman-Cutler said in the story.

VGrabnerVictoria Marty has written for newspapers and magazines for more than 15 years and recently moved to the Lincoln Square, Chicago area. A frequent runner who loves learning and exploring new places, she has perfected the art of getting lost while simultaneously finding unique landmarks, boutiques and out-of-the-way nooks worth writing about. Her blogs are geared toward the newly transplanted who want to learn as much about Chicago as they can, as quickly as possible.


The concerns of most buyers revolve around the abilities: stability, affordability and lend-ability.   Given the current market, you are probably wondering if it is smart to purchase a condo in Chicago as many other buyers question.

So let’s look at a sustainable condo in Chicago, for example, 4531 Magnolia located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.   First let’s understand what sustainable means to me.   I’m looking at a solid condo association with healthy financials, a well maintained building, and is located in a walkable neighborhood that is becoming more and more desirable as a result of the increasing amenties such as local transportation, shopping and dining.

As you cruise through the Uptown neighborhood you’ll notice many for sale signs.   But let’s take a look at this property in particular.   The condo association has very solid reserves that are well in excess of the required 10% by lenders.   The building has been steadfastly maintained through the years.   Not only is there evidence of leadership in managing the property but also the atmosphere among the owners is friendly.   With a high walking score of 97% this location is just a few blocks from the bus, Chicago’s El, dining and shops.

With a low price of $279,000 and affordable assessments of $200 per month, which includes gated and secure parking, this two bedroom and two newer bath condo with back terrace and front balcony is sustainable.   Boy do we Chicagoans love our outdoor space. Then you add the amenties of central air, fireplace, and bay windows to allow the maximum amount of light most of us sun-starved locals need. And to further show how much this property has going for it, there is a new kitchen that incorporates a sustainable cork floor and high efficiency appliances in addition to the condo being recently painted with low VOC paint.

Now that’s sustainable!

Maggie Finegan, ABR, Move with Maggie Chicago Real Estate Team

Great News for Uptown Business Owners

Attention, great news for Uptown business owners, landlords, tenants, investors.   I attended the Edgewater/Uptown Builders Group Meeting last week and heard from Uptown United about two new programs.

Under the City™s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) grants/reimbursements of up to $150,000 per applicant, are available for renovation/repair of commercial building, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act or for environmental remediation.   Commercial businesses, industrial businesses, landlords and tenants may qualify.

Other good news, most of Uptown qualifies for the City™s new Streamlined Tax Incremental Financing (STIF) program grants. It has a much easier/shorter application process.   Assistance ranges from $25,000 to $1,000,000. The money can be used for land acquisition, environmental remediation, building repair/rehab, signs or awnings, streets, streetscaping, infrastructure improvements, professional redevelopment fees, construction interest, and job training welfare to work programs.

Contact Uptown United or visit their website, for details.