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100-Foot Long Running Table by Chicago Artist Dan Peterman Installed in Millenium Park

CHICAGO, IL.- In conjunction with Millennium Park’s Independence Day picnic celebration, Dan Peterman’s Running Table will be installed in the Park’s Chase Promenade for the 2009 summer season. The installation will be completed by Thursday, July 2, in time for the 4th of July festivities and Grant Park Music Festival’s “Independence Day in Millennium Park.”

Peterman’s one hundred foot long picnic table considers issues around consumption and recycling. Made from the equivalent of two million recycled milk bottles, the table is simultaneously a product of consumption and an invitation to consume more as visitors are invited to sit down, relax and enjoy their own lunch at the table. Like a picnic bringing people together, the table reminds visitors of the communal social purpose made possible by individual actions.

The table was first installed in 1997 in the area of Grant Park now Millennium Park. It was accompanied by Peterman’s Chicago Ground Cover, the open-air dance floor used for Chicago SummerDance, also made from recycled plastic. The floor is now in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden at 601 S. Michigan and was recently expanded to 4,600 square feet to accommodate more dancers.

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, artist Dan Peterman’s work explores issues around recycling and ecology. His specialty includes making art out of recycled plastic, producing mottled grey or green bricks and timbers that he uses to fabricate tables, benches, parquet floors and storage boxes. Peterman received his MFA from the University of Chicago in 1986 and continues to live and work in the Hyde Park/Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. He currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago and helps run the Experimental Station, an “incubator of innovative cultural, educational, and environmental projects and small-scale enterprises.”

Millennium Park’s Independence Day celebrations begin with a picnic on the Park’s Great Lawn on Saturday, July 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The picnic is inspired by the cartoons of John T. McCutcheon now on view in the Chicago Cultural Center through September 27. In particular, McCutcheon’s 1904 “Bird Center” series featured a large cast of recurring characters that represented a cross-section of turn-of the-century life.

Members of the theater company, Collaboraction, will roam the western side of the Great Lawn depicting the “Bird Center” citizens. A reading of the Declaration of Independence by Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson dressed as “Bird Center” character, Judge Warden, will add to the festivities. Also on hand will be the Northside Southpaws, a Chicago mandolin/guitar duo performing ragtime, country music and turn-of-the-century waltzes played on left-handed instruments. A “Bird Center” picnic lunch, provided by Marcello’s, will be available for $6.95.

The July 4th activities continue with the Grant Park Music Festival’s first annual “Independence Day in Millennium Park” at 1:30 p.m. in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The program will feature traditional and patriotic favorites under the baton of Christopher Bell, along with special guest, Chicago tap dance master Lane Alexander.

Millenium Park | Dan Peterman | Independence Day | Minneapolis | Minnesota |

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