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2021 N. Burling St.
Chicago, IL 60614
THE WIZARD OF OZ on August 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm
A young Kansas girl (Judy Garland) and her dog are whisked away by a tornado into the magical land of Oz where she joins a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion to battle the Wicked Witch and find her way home.
Rated G | 101 minutes | 1939
Start time is approximate, all movies begin at dusk.Movies in the Parks is presented by Bank of America.
In 1939, the production of an MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz, immortalized Baum’s classic work of fiction. Baum (1856–1919) wrote the book when he lived in Chicago, and the park is named in his honor. L. Frank Baum wrote a total of fourteen books in the Oz series, with Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as key figures in most of them.
Between 1995 and 2006, the Oz Park Advisory Council commissioned artist John Kearney to create four sculptures portraying the signature characters from L. Frank Baum’s classic book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
In the early 1990s, the Oz Park Advisory Council and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce commissioned artist John Kearney to create a Tin Man sculpture, installed in October 1995, the Cowardly Lion, installed in May 2001 and the7 ft./800 lb. cast bronze Scarecrow, installed June 2005. In Spring 2007 Dorothy & Toto joined their friends in the park.
Other elements which celebrate Oz Park’s theme, include the “Emerald Garden” and “Dorothy’s Playlot.” The playlot not only relates to the park’s name, but also to that of its donor, Dorothy Melamerson, a retired local school teacher whose savings have paid for a number of park improvements in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The Oz Park Advisory Council raised more than $250,000 to support enhancements to Oz Park.
Take a stroll through the park and you’ll be greeted by these magnificent statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy & Toto. Kearney studied at the famed Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and the University per Stanierie, Perugia Italy. He also received a Fulbright Award to Italy and has been a visiting artist to the American Academy of Rome several times. Over the years, he has won many honors including the National Academy of Design’s Wallace Truman Prize.
In the early 1990s, members of the Oz Park Advisory Council began raising funds to commission the Tin Man. Sculpted by John Kearney, the artwork was installed in 1995. This proved to be the first of four sculptures that would celebrate the Oz theme in the park. The Tin Man is one of the beloved characters from the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum (1856–1919) in 1900 when he lived in Chicago. The story was immortalized by the MGM movie The Wizard of Oz in 1939.
This seven-foot tall cast bronze Scarecrow was the third of four sculptures commissioned by the Oz Park Advisory Council to depict characters from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Oz Park Advisory Council raised $40,000 for the project and has also committed to assist the Chicago Park District with the maintenance of all the sculptures in the park.
Installed in 2001, the Cowardly Lion was the second of Oz Park’s four sculptures. While Kearney was previously known for using chrome automobile bumpers to create his sculptures, the Cowardly Lion statue is cast in bronze. Not only has it become increasingly difficult to find chrome bumpers, but Kearney thought that bronze would be the best material to emulate a lion’s furry coat.
The Oz Park Advisory Council raised $60,000 for the Dorothy and Toto sculpture, the fourth and final artwork in the park.
In the 1960s, the Lincoln Park Conservation Association approached the City of Chicago in efforts to improve the community around Oz Park and the neighborhood was soon designated as the Lincoln Park Urban Renewal Area.
The urban renewal plan identified a 13 acre-site for a new park, and in 1974, the Chicago Park District acquired the land. In 1976, the park was officially named Oz Park in honor of Lyman Frank Baum (1856-1919), the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Baum settled in Chicago in 1891 several miles west of what is now the park. Having begun writing children’s books at age 41, Baum wrote more than 60 books, including 14 Oz books, by the end of his life.