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Check Out All The Colorful Painted Boats Lining The Streets Of Greektown

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 4, 2017 7:48PM

If you've strolled down Halsted Avenue in Greektown recently, between Madison and Van Buren streets, you may have noticed a number of small boats lining the streets, painted with fanciful scenes. It's all part of "The Amazing Greektown Dinghies" project, a community effort using local artists and some area youth groups, to both celebrate the roots of Greektown and fill the area with a few one-of-a-kind wonders.

We spoke with Eve Moran, the Chair of the Greektown Arts Committee, to find out how the project came together and what it means to both her and the community.

CHICAGOIST: What was behind the initial idea of mounting an installation?

EVE MORAN: In Fall of 2016, my fellow commissioners of the Greektown SSA#16 named me chair of the Greektown Arts Committee. I wanted to deliver to Greektown something beautiful, relevant and interesting that would “pop” on Halsted Street.

On a recent trip to Quebec City, I saw an array of colorful boat-shaped kites strung high across a small walkway. This got me thinking. Given the intimate and long-standing relationship between the Greeks and the sea, I imagined a series of small sculpted boats—dinghies—that would be given to artists and creatively transformed. This was the seed of the project that grew to be known as “The Amazing Greektown Dinghies.”

CHICAGOIST: Once that was decided, who drove the project and brought it to life?

EVE MORAN: I have often said, "Ideas come easily, but the difficulty lies in the execution.” It truly takes a village to bring a street art project to life.

My friend Connie Hinkle is an artist and the co-curator of art for The Cliff Dwellers [arts club]. Connie became the project manager, handling the multitude of tasks, both creative and mundane, that would bring the colorful dinghies into Chicago’s Greektown. Equally important was the support and encouragement of Alderman Walter Burnett. And, I relied heavily on the assistance of Frank Caputo, chair of the Greektown SSA #16, and Rod Burch, executive director of the West Central Association.

Finally, high praise must be given to the artists, and artist teams, who were given a short turn-around time to transform a blank multi-dimensional form into a work of art.

CHICAGOIST: So, how would you sum up “The Amazing Greektown Dinghies?”

EVE MORAN: The dinghy project showcases the work of distinguished local Chicago artists, emerging artists and, as importantly, youth organizations in the greater Greektown community.

“This joy of community is art at its best."

This interview has been condensed and edited.