Streator City Park tree gets covered in caution tape for conceptual art project

Concept hopes to draw attention to climate catastrophe

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Artist L.G. Williams couldn't make it to Streator to see his vision come to life but some local children and art teachers were around Friday morning to ensure that it came to fruition.

The Streator native announced three weeks ago there would be a display on "climate catastrophe" in the Streator City Park — produced in conjunction the Streator High School Class of 1979 reunion.

L.G.'s brother, Greg, made the trip from Willow Springs in order to oversee the operation.

"We're really concerned about the planet and nature so the idea is to create something abstract visually to get people to see differently," Greg said. "This is something that people will see that will draw their attention."

The initial plan was to throw yellow crime scene tape onto one of the larger trees in the park but upon further planning they realized it wasn't feasible, logistically.

Greg said getting a lift truck wasn't possible and they wanted children to be able to participate; the tree they decorated was around 20 feet tall and it was the perfect height for children to participate.

"We need people to be compassionate and think differently," Greg said of work titled "Don't Look at that Tree." "We need them to care about the planet for the next generation."

Jim Olmsted is a retired art teacher from Streator High School who LG Williams cites as one of his inspirations for his artwork; he attended the display Friday and said this may leave a few people scratching their heads but it'll also start a discussion on climate change.

"It's concept art and it's reasonable," Olmsted said. "It'll only be here for a few days and this allows LG to get his interpretation of this out."

St. Michael School's art teacher Kim Nettlingham was excited to see this kind of concept art in a place like Streator: It gives her a local example to show the kids at school and will help educate them on the ideas of abstract and concept art.

"This is left open to interpretation and the artist may have given us his concept but he leaves it up to us to make a decision on how we feel about the art," Nettlingham said. "As an art teacher to young children, I would ask them what it reminds them of.

"What can you make from the words on there? Danger, crime scene tape? What does that mean to you? Then they can come up with their own interpretation. Kids can get conceptual art if you talk them through it."

Nettlingham said it's important to note not all art has to be beautiful.

"There's beautiful concepts here and there's continuity in the way the tape flows off the tree," Nettlingham said. "It may be a little different than what everyone is used to but the beauty is still there."

The crime scene tape on the tree will get taken down before the weekend is over.