Back in October we posted on the possible reuse of marble that had been discarded out along the Outer Harbor (see post). For years this marble graveyard was enjoyed by artists in the area who would grab chunks and turn them into sculptures. When the NFTA came across the ruins from the old Saint Joseph’s New Cathedral (see photo), a decision was made to crush the remains. When artist Jane Stevenson discovered that the marble was being dropped into a crusher, she notified NFTA’s Executive Director Larry Meckler about the missed opportunity. Shortly after, the crushing was called off and a plan was set in motion to come up with an alternative use for the remnants.
Since that time a model was created that shows the plan for the placement of the marble along the Outer Harbor. The two installations (actually considered one with a solid connection) are positioned next to the bike trail, and a walking path extends from the trail up along the turf base of the project. The intention of the creation is to design a destination for people who walk, jog, blade and bike the Outer Harbor. It’s a thoughtful homage to the condemned church while creating a visually appealing stopping point along the water. Along with an un-obscured vista out onto the lake, the project will offer a resting place people. I called Jane Stevenson to ask her about the vision and she had this to say:
“I drew the design in collaboration with Oscar Traynor, a landscape architect (and licensed architect). I volunteered my time in order to save the marble that so many of us artists were in fear of losing. The scale of the marble in the model is 1″:10′. The actual marble will be very large artifacts… Gothic fragments… columns and decorative motifs. A lot of the pieces will have to be reassembled to make up a full column. There will be a 10’x10′ freestanding wall with a ‘window’ that will be arranged with two of the marble thresholds from the old cathedral… along with a quatrefoil block. I’m proposing a paving stone path that will connect the installation, but due to funds it might also be gravel… the more solid the better. The path that connects two sites should be expressed with a solid graphic line… that would be an ideal scenario for the marble garden. Along with the trees that will be found between the two stations I have proposed an arrangement of several turf lounging chaises. The marble garden stretches over a distance of 400’ and will create a large area for multiple groups to congregate. It creates a promenade for people to enjoy the lake. It’s designed to give people more appealing places to sit, rest or perch other than your typical park bench. I tried to create private spaces and sensual surfaces for people to interact with. Also I framed the views so that the space would lend itself to photographs people might take there. This installation was designed with little or no cost involved since there is no real budget. The NFTA welcomed us to do this and gave us the site plans with elevations. Now we will be taking back the proposal to the NFTA. We’re pleased with the outcome especially considering that the project is virtually cost-free.”