Stirling Hall

Submitted by Janet Austin

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Client: City of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation

Location: Lake Forest, IL, United States

Completion date: 2005

Artwork budget: $11,000

Project Team

Artist

Janet Austin

Art Consultant

Katie Biderbost

City of Lake Forest, Parks and Recreation

Overview

The mosaic at the entrance of Lake Forest’s arts and activities center, Stirling Hall, recalls the Colonial American shop signs, which announced the goods that were produced inside. Represented in the center of the mural are the tools and products of the artist, while the top and bottom remind us of the studio’s location in the woods. Artists of all ages were involved in the creation process successfully represented by the ceramic pieces made in the studio.
Handmade ceramic stoneware and commercial tiles.
3′ h x 11′ w

Goals

The City of Lake Forest has strict signage rules, only forest green and white, a tasteful scale and specific fonts are allowed. This mural is a sign that pushes those boundaries, even pokes fun at the signage rules by including a deer crossing sign in the tree-tops. But a sign it is, with text tiles of the name “Stirling Hall” the artist, “Janet Austin” and the date of incorporation “est. 2002”.

Process

The collaboration process was a highlight in the year it was produced with workshops and an open studio. The mural is divided into two parts, the inside and outside of the building. The outside green areas are adorned with tiles made in a children’s workshop by gathering leaves of nearby trees, or creating imaginative birds. The inside white area involved all artists working in the studio in creating the pieces: the tools and products of the arts center, clay tools, paint tubes and brushes, manikins, ceramic pots and tiles.

Additional Information

One tile immortalizes the feral chicken who roamed the grounds for a summer; the chicken carrying under it's wings the artist's dog who had died that year.