December 3, 2021

Douglass 18, Chicago mini golf course inspired by local bird population, takes flight

CHICAGO — The miniature golf course positioned behind the Fieldhouse in Douglass Park has been there for years, however had lengthy been forgotten.

That was till the Lincoln Park Zoo’s group engagement staff, together with artist Haman Cross III of Firehouse Neighborhood Arts Heart and designer Eric Hotchkiss of the College of the Artwork Institute, determined it might use a makeover.

“I’ve been doing projects in North Lawndale for at least 15 years,” Cross mentioned. “I remember being asked to visit this park and see if there was a project that I could get engaged in, involved in. I ended up coming out on the patio and I noticed that there was a miniature golf course that needed some love.”

Over the following three years, 40 teenagers and younger adults from North Lawndale and Little Village labored alongside Cross, Hotchkiss and different group leaders to brainstorm obstacles. The group grew to become often known as “The Douglass 18” to signify the 18-hole mini-course.

“It just was like a perfect kind of alignment to have resources to be able to match the vision and the potential of our youth here on the west side,” Cross mentioned.

Challenge leaders mentioned one of many major objectives of undertaking was to activate members in the neighborhood to get entangled in renovating and beautifying their very own neighborhood.

“This isn’t us helicoptering in and dropping stuff in the neighborhood,” Hotchkiss mentioned. “This is the community building it themselves.”

The course obstacles have been inspired by the greater than 200 migratory bird species that may be seen in Douglass Park.

“We started off teaching the students about birds in general and then moved into the specific species that live and migrate to the park,” Lincoln Park Zoo’s Neighborhood Liaison Jaeda Department mentioned. “After we introduced some of the different birds, each student picked their own species and decided what features they would focus on for their creative designs.”

The scholars have been answerable for all course designs. Every impediment was researched, prototyped and examined by group members earlier than being delivered to life.

“At first we thought we was coming here just to work and get paid for it, but it actually turned out to be like an art school for us,” Douglass 18 designer/contributor Jacob Sanders mentioned. “We struggled with it, but we also learned a lot from it.”

The renovated course options colourful holes highlighting the historical past, weight loss plan, habitat and different distinguishing options of every species.

“They learned about art, they learned about conservation, they learned about architecture, they learned about placemaking, they learned about marketing – all from mentors and professionals in the field, and did the work themselves,” Lincoln Park Zoo Neighborhood Engagement Director, Lisa Hyatt mentioned.

Challenge leaders mentioned the renovation is proof of what can occur once you put sources and time into working with the group.

“It’s interesting how many of them said, ‘I’m not an artist’ at the beginning, but then designed this entire golf course,” Hotchkiss mentioned.

“When the opening day came, and to see those students step out on the course and say, ‘I came up with this’ and here it is been enjoyed by the community, is just a testament to what’s possible here on the West Side,” Cross mentioned.

The Douglass 18 Miniature Golf Course is now open to the general public Monday- Saturday from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Value of entry is $5.

The Douglass 18 undertaking was doable with assist from further companions reminiscent of Chicago Parks District, Sheila McNary, Open Structure Chicago, David Brown of the UIC College of Structure, Firehouse Neighborhood Arts Heart, College of the Artwork Institute of Chicago at Homan Sq., The Belief for Public Land, L.L. Bean and Ward 24 Alderman Michael Scott Jr.

For extra data on The Douglass 18 go to the Lincoln Park Zoo web site.

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