IMG_0793Gwendolyn Terry’s Declaration, an art installation that opened March 10, 2017, at the Exelon Observatory, showcases more than 11,000 flags—9,000 hand-created by over a thousand students and community members represented from seven schools within a 10-minute walk of The 606.


Inspired by the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the large-scale installation promotes a self-reflective forum of expression for Chicago youth. Using only line and color to represent their voice, each flag is a visual interpretation of a student’s thoughts and opinions of the social, political and humanitarian climate they find themselves in.


“Flags are typically a signaling device when there is no verbal communication. They’re declarative and stand for something, and that’s what this is about,” said Terry. “I hope Declaration provides a sense of pride, place and beauty.”

2017 has been designated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) as the “Year of Public Art.”  Declaration is the second art installation unveiled at The 606 this year.

“Chicago parks are our neighborhood respites, allowing us access to nature, arts and culture,” said Chicago Park District CEO and Superintendent Michael P. Kelly. “Declaration is a wonderful addition to the Chicago Park District collection.”


Using color and shapes and no text or representational images, the flag types can be viewed as a micro-to-macro or internal-to-external view of community. Triangles are used to represent self; squares for home and circles for the world or international community.

“We’re inspired by Declaration’s powerful symbolism,” said Jamie Simone, Trust for Public Land Interim Chicago Region Director. “As a living work of art, The 606 is filled with public works that emerge from, and are centered on community voice.”

 IMG_0808The art installation includes handmade flags from the following schools and community groups: Funston Elementary School, Humboldt Community Christian School, Humboldt Park After School Program, La Casa Norte, LUCHA, Marine Leadership Academy at Ames, Moos Elementary School, Pulaski International School of Chicago, Rowe Elementary Charter School, Stowe Elementary School and YOUmedia at Humboldt Park Library. Declaration was funded in part thanks to the generosity of supporters of The Trust for Public Land.

(Photography by Joshua Lott for The Trust for Public Land.)

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