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Sculptures Enliven Highway Underpasses

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Sculptures Enliven Highway Underpasses

Mike Bancroft dons a Mylar blanket like those in his installations. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)

An art project in Chicago is brightening up some highway underpasses. The artists are also hoping it’ll send a political message. We report from our West Side bureau.

Mike Bancroft and his buddies work with Chicago children in high-school art classes and after-school programs. Over the last couple years, they’ve made about 200 paper-mâché sculptures for underpasses.

Last night Bancroft and his crew installed some of them under the Kennedy Expressway near North Avenue. The works include a baby giraffe, a 10-foot-tall fire fighter, and an angel with a big butt.

BANCROFT: They’re to bring attention to the spaces underneath highway underpasses that have been ignored and, often times, fenced in to keep people from living under them.

Inside the sculptures, Bancroft’s crew has stuffed Mylar emergency blankets for homeless people. And, in case those are too hard to find, they’ve left stacks of the blankets out front.

BANCROFT: You basically use it like a shawl.

Chicago’s Streets and Sanitation Department says it’ll remove the sculptures if they lead to complaints.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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