Neighborhood Enhancement Grant for Oakland Museum and Garden

2022 Community Project Highlights

4th Ward Shines at Oakland Museum and Garden
A collage of photos representing the outdoor community space

Oakland Museum in the News

South East Chicago Commission (SECC) Neighborhood Enhancement Grant Project Spotlight

“In July of 2022, the SECC announced the seven neighborhood organizations were awarded our annual Neighborhood Enhancement Grant to support beautification projects that enhance the quality of life in Hyde Park-South Kenwood, Oakland, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods. The program is designed to enhance the physical attractiveness of these communities and has been around since 1999.

This month, we are highlighting the Oakland Museum and Garden (formerly known as the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art) founded by the late sculptor Milton Mizenburg Jr.

The Oakland resident created abstract wood sculptures while engaging neighbors on the vacant lot at the intersection of S. Lake Park Avenue and 41st Place. “I started carving the sculptures right there, in front of the people…this artwork is yours,” stated Mizenburg while sharing his story with a decade-old Chicago Revealed program. He generously donated many artworks to enrich the community.

Led by the museum’s founding steward Yetta Starr, community neighbors and the Mizenburg family are championing the cause to honor the artist’s legacy and preserve the cultural open space. The long-term vision for the pocket park is to be a community-managed and sustainable amenity. “Receiving a micro grant is essential to improve infrastructure rather quickly and to build momentum with the community and stakeholders,” said Starr.

This year’s NEG micro grant has spurred enthusiastic volunteerism to accomplish beautification projects including fabrication of concrete sculpture pads and new information signage. A hardscaped performance space is envisioned using pavers donated by the University of Chicago.”

– Excerpt from SECC newsletter post, September 2022

Beautification and Enhancement Progress

Thanks to the generosity of SECC, NeighborSpace, University of Chicago, QCDC, 4h Ward, Department of Forestry, Streets and Sanitation and our many donors, improvements are coming along for the sculpture bases, paved performance area and upgraded signage by community volunteers and providers. We especially appreciate the creative Tuesday jazz sessions this summer with Adam and his musician friends.


Get the Vote Out community mural

We prominently displayed several community-made “VOTE” signs. Our activism may have helped land our ward among the Top Ten for voter turn-out in the city of Chicago.

This was the Oakland Museum and Garden contribution to the neighborhood-wide focus. To coincide with this year’s mid-terms, we hosted an end of season gathering to celebrate art and music, including a bold sign with a background created by community kids. Prentice Butler, Tracey Y. Bey and Khari Humphries, aldermanic candidates for the 4th Ward stopped by our event.