WBEZ | Garfield Park Conservatory http://www.wbez.org/tags/garfield-park-conservatory Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Burning Man-inspired event brings participatory art to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/burning-man-inspired-event-brings-participatory-art-chicago-108424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Red Curtain Stage.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Figment, an international arts exhibition inspired by <a href="http://www.burningman.com/" target="_blank">Burning Man</a>, held its first Chicago event over the weekend.</p><p>Figment follows in the footsteps of Burning Man &mdash; an annual arts festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada &mdash; by bringing free and interactive art pieces to the Garfield Park Conservatory on the city&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Visitors could play music with modified children&rsquo;s toys, sit on a swing that vibrated to electronica music and even play croquet with bowling balls.</p><p>As one of 10 cities to host Figment, Chicago&rsquo;s event also had exhibitions that were unique to the city and its social issues. The Theatre of the Oppressed Chicago did a performance about the recent school closings, and invited participants to portray politicians, teachers and students. Right after, the group led a discussion about improving the education system.&nbsp; Bring Your Bag Chicago built a canopy out 2,568 plastic bags, the number that curators say the city uses every minute.</p><p>Figment&rsquo;s website said the group&rsquo;s goals are to encourage artists to think about new ways to share their creativity and to challenge the way art is growing too expensive for many people to purchase. Figment began in New York in 2007.</p><p>To see instruments made out of children&rsquo;s toys and the plastic bag canopy, watch the video above.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/burning-man-inspired-event-brings-participatory-art-chicago-108424 Garfield Park Conservatory opens all rooms http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-opens-all-rooms-95739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-23/Flickr Garfield Park Damon taylor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All the rooms at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory are now open. A hail storm last year caused extensive damage to the historic building.</p><p>The Desert House and Aroid House were opened Sunday in conjunction with an event celebrating the Chinese New Year. Polycarbonate sheets now line the roofs of those rooms for protection.&nbsp;</p><p>But Conservatory officials say the greenhouse still requires work - including more glass replacement. Hail stones the size of golf balls shattered 60 percent of the glass of its fern room. Workers had to remove glass from the soil by hand and officials say cleanup has cost at least 2 million dollars.</p><p>Garfield Park is one of the nation's largest conservatories and houses several exotic and century-old plant species.</p></p> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 13:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-opens-all-rooms-95739 Fern Room reopens at Garfield Park Conservatory http://www.wbez.org/story/fern-room-reopens-garfield-park-conservatory-94564 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/RS3551_IMG_9106.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The historic Fern Room at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory reopened Saturday for the first time since a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-conservatory-races-against-weather-protect-historic-plants-90643">summer hail storm</a> caused heavy damages.</p><p>Workers replaced the broken glass in the Fern Room with a polycarbonate roof to protect plants against the cold.</p><p>“The room is literally in transformation, not only to the work that we're doing, but the plants are also transforming into the new space,” said Matthew Barrett, the floriculture foreman.</p><p>Barrett said the room glows under the temporary roof. He said there are baby ferns and ancient cycad plants with new growth that's a deep burgundy purple.</p><p>“That room has <a href="http://www.jensjensen.org/drupal/">Jens Jensen</a>'s fingerprints all over it, the waterfall, the little brook that cuts through the sidewalk,” Barrett said, referring to the famed landscape architect. “We've exposed these limestone walls that Jensen designed that you haven't seen in probably decades.”</p><p>Repair and renovation efforts are continuing at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Chicago Park District has estimated the <a href="http://:%20http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-conservatory-races-against-weather-protect-historic-plants-90643">clean-up and winterization </a>at about $3 million.</p><p>It hasn’t put a price tag yet on the overall repairs, which are slated to be done by the end of next year.</p></p> Sat, 03 Dec 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/fern-room-reopens-garfield-park-conservatory-94564 Garfield Park Conservatory holds 'plant rescue sale' http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-holds-plant-rescue-sale-93341 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/ravenea palm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Garfield Park Conservatory is holding a "<a href="http://www.garfield-conservatory.org/">plant rescue sale</a>" Saturday.</p><p>A summer hailstorm heavily damaged the conservatory and left plants exposed to the elements. The Chicago Park District says workers are nearly done putting up plastic coverings on the roofs to shelter plants against the winter. But only about half of the greenhouses will get this cold weather protection.</p><p>"The plants themselves need some care, and we don't have the space for them," said Matthew Barrett, the floriculture foreman. "If you've got a house and you've got some good light, and you've got a little bit of a green thumb, you get to peruse the yard, take a look at what we've got, and you go home with a piece of history from the conservatory."</p><p>Barrett says they're selling plants to the public that are normally grown for the Spring Flower Show and the collection houses. They include succulents, cacti and tropical plants rare in this area, as well as unusual varieties of salvia and lavender.</p><p>The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, a non-profit that supports the conservatory, said it's raised $200,000 so far for repairs.</p><p>The Chicago Park District doesn't have an estimate yet for how much repairs will cost. It estimates the clean-up and winterization at about $3 million.</p><p>A spokeswoman said they hope to start construction in the spring, and be completed by the end of next year.</p></p> Sat, 22 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-holds-plant-rescue-sale-93341 Garfield Park Conservatory still reeling from hail damage http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-still-reeling-hail-damage-92005 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-15/garfieldpark.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Garfield Park Conservatory on Chicago’s West Side is continuing cleanup efforts and unveiling a fundraising campaign Wednesday night following severe hail damage.</p><p>The June 30 hailstorm pounded the conservatory and damaged about 40,000 panes of glass.</p><p>Eunita Rushing, president of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, said they've cleared glass from the plant beds and ceilings in the Show House and Fern Room. She said they’re nearly done putting in a temporary roof to protect the ferns from the looming cold. Ferns require warm, humid temperatures to survive.</p><p>Rushing says visitors Wednesday can see that roof, an open sky in the Show House, and shards of glass still hanging in the production houses.</p><p>“They'll see the commitment of the people who work here and care for this collection, that we really are interested in restoring every bit of it, every inch, every greenhouse, every production house and replacing every plant,” she said.</p><p>Some sections of the conservatory suffered little damage because they’d been recently renovated with double-pane glass, and they’ve remained open to the public.</p><p>But glass in the other sections, including the Fern Room, dated back to the 1940s, and as much as 85 percent of that glass was damaged, said Zvezdana Kubat, a Chicago Park District spokeswoman. Those rooms are still closed.</p><p>The conservatory is raising money for repairs with a campaign called One Pane at a Time. Donors can sponsor a pane of glass for $250 and up.</p><p>Cleanup costs are about $2 million, and there’s no estimate yet for repair costs, which are expected to go into the millions.</p></p> Wed, 14 Sep 2011 22:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-park-conservatory-still-reeling-hail-damage-92005 Garfield Conservatory races against the weather to protect historic plants http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-conservatory-races-against-weather-protect-historic-plants-90643 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/IMG_8945.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-16/DSC05571.jpeg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Park District)"></p><p>It's been more than six weeks since a hailstorm clobbered Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory on the city's West Side, causing severe damage to the century-old glass house. The staff is still cleaning up and assessing the situation, and it now looks like the damaged parts might not open for another year.</p><p>This is where the reality of&nbsp; the destruction really hits home. If you've ever been to the Garfield Park Conservatory, you've almost certainly been to the soaring show house. A hundred and three Christmas shows and spring flower shows have graced this room, but today there's an eerie presence of nothingness.</p><p>"As you can see the ceiling is open. There is no glass overhead," said Mary Eysenbach, director of this and the sister conservatory in Lincoln Park. That's because workers have pried, pulled and knocked every last shard out of the metallic latticework above.</p><p>Eysenbach leads the effort to try to figure out what to do, and in what order. Four major rooms were damaged, but this and the historic fern room took the heaviest beatings, along with a slew of production greenhouses out back. "Mainly what we are doing in this house right now is we are removing all the soil," Eysenbach said.</p><p>So in the show house they'll pretty much just start over. But the fern room, that's a different story.</p><p>This is a video shot hours after the storm by Matt Barrett, a conservatory foreman. He's entering the fern room, walking down the stairs into the sunken garden in horror.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/27791709?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p>"I walked in, the whole place was dark, and it took my eyes a moment to adjust," said Barrett. "I stopped dead in my tracks, my jaw hit the floor. I'd never seen anything like it. And it was just pane after pane continuing to fall, hitting the ground, it was like a waterfall of broken glass."</p><p>So, it's six weeks later, and not much has changed in the fern room. Described as one of the most beautiful indoor spaces in America, it presents such a complicated reconstruction challenge that only now are the last of the hanging shards being removed from its ceiling. The room is so dangerous that many parts of it still haven't been assessed for plant damage. And they're in a serious race with the weather.</p><p>"It's what August now, it's the second week in August. The fern room we need to have winter protection on that by the middle of September. Because we could have some cold nights," said Eysenbach.</p><p>Every gardener knows that tropical ferns just have to have high temperatures and humidity all the time. One night of 40-degree temps and a bunch of these decades-old plants are goners. They're already stressed because the missing glass has lowered the humidity and the extra sun is burning some of their fronds. But how do you rebuild that glass ceiling while thousands of finicky plants cover the floor and walls? As Mary Eysenbach said, the only solution is to first enclose the room with some kind of temporary, insulated, semi-transparent roof, almost a giant plastic tarp.</p><p>"We think it's gonna take anywhere from four to six months to repair, to put a new roof on," Eysenbach said. "So now we're gonna hit winter on the other side of that so it's quite a challenge." And Chicago, as we all know, doesn't offer six-month frost free window, so they might have to stretch the work out over two summers.</p><p>At this point, nobody knows how much it's all going to cost, or how much will be covered by insurance. The clean-up is costing $2 million. Reconstruction will be millions more.&nbsp;</p><p>And in the spirit of never wasting a crisis, the park district sees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just fix the place, but improve it with modern, energy-efficient materials and systems. But that costs money, too.</p><p>In the meantime life still goes on here, as summer camps arrive for tours and about half of the public spaces remain open. Spaces that, by the way, were reglazed in a recent major renovation and stood up to the hailstorm.</p><p>And a new funding campaign is kicking off, asking individuals to buy a single pane of glass. There are plenty to buy, because tens of thousand of them were shattered. And through it all, some of Chicago's most revered elder statesplants, like the 250-year old cycads in the battered fern room and the azaleas from the 1892 Columbian Exposition, hang on, maybe glancing skyward as the days get shorter and colder.</p></p> Wed, 17 Aug 2011 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/garfield-conservatory-races-against-weather-protect-historic-plants-90643 Garfield Park Conservatory seeks recovery aid after storm damages windows http://www.wbez.org/content/garfield-park-conservatory-seeks-recovery-aid-after-storm-damages-windows <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-02/glass3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25882241?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" frameborder="0" height="338" width="601"></iframe></p><p>The Garfield Conservatory sustained significant damage during Thursday night’s hail storm, and has been closed indefinitely as a result.</p><p>The 104-year-old conservatory, which made an appearance in Vince Vaughn’s latest movie “The Dilemma,” is an admission-free facility and receives about 100,000 visitors a year. It relies heavily on donations to stay in operation.</p><p>Some 13,000 panes from nine production houses, the areas where plants are grown or stored, were shattered.</p><p>The production houses and three of the showrooms were closed off due to hanging glass. The ceilings on the historic Fern Room, the Desert House and the Shell House were destroyed. The storm’s winds reached over 90mph and golf ball-sized hail sent shards of glass into plants and on the walkways.</p><p>Zvezdana Kubat, a&nbsp;Chicago Park District&nbsp;spokeswoman, called the damage “mind-boggling.”</p><p>“There is glass all over the place,” said Eunita Rushing, president of the Garfield Conservatory Alliance. “To see this degree of damage and then to know that there is a potential that it has damaged the plants, it’s heart-wrenching.”</p><p>Rushing estimated 80 percent of the panes in the showrooms and production houses were damaged and fell completely, with some shattered panes dangling dangerously from the ceiling.</p><p>“We can’t even get in those rooms to begin any kind of cleanup,” she said.</p><p>The rooms are so dangerous, work crews have to assess the damage of the ceiling from the safety of the entryways. The first priority is preserving some of the plants in the Fern Room, Rushing said.</p><p>The Fern Room suffered severe damage. The room, roughly the size of a basketball court with a massive lagoon in the middle, is one the conservatory’s oldest collections.&nbsp; The swamp-like room was designed to give visitors a glimpse of what Illinois might have looked millions of years ago, according to the Conservatory’s website. The ceiling of the Fern Room is typically whitewashed around this time of year to protect the plants from the summer sun.&nbsp; With so many of the panes destroyed, staff are concerned the sunlight could damage or kill the plants.</p><p>The cleanup would have to start with the knocking out the still-hanging glass, which would allow work crews to safely enter the rooms. There is a time crunch to get the glass out so the care and watering routines for the plants can continue.</p><p>The conservatory began renovations in 1994, which involved the installation of laminated, double-sided panes in five of the showrooms. &nbsp;It was those renovations that saved these rooms, which sustained no damage during the storm. Rushing said more rooms will need renovations so the conservatory is “not under this threat again.”</p><p>“They are going to be costly repairs. We need assistance to overcome these damages.” Rushing had no idea what the repairs could cost.</p><p>“The work we do is valuable. The programs are valuable. And they are necessary,” Rushing said, fighting back a tear. “I just hope people will help us, help us to continue our work.”</p><hr><p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">How can I help?</span></strong></p><p>Donations to the conservatory can be made here:<br> <a href="http://www.garfieldconservatory.org/donate_online.htm">http://www.garfieldconservatory.org/donate_online.htm</a></p><hr><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a name="Photos"></a><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-01/glass3.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Andew Gill)" height="450" width="600"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-01/glass5.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Andew Gill)" height="450" width="600"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-01/glass6.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Andew Gill)" height="450" width="600"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-01/glass2.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Andew Gill)" height="450" width="600"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-01/glass1.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Andew Gill)" height="800" width="600"></p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 19:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/garfield-park-conservatory-seeks-recovery-aid-after-storm-damages-windows