New Englewood monument inspires pride, challenges negative portrayals of neighborhood

A new community monument made its debut Thursday in Englewood featuring a local artist. 

A number of officials and community residents were on-hand for that ribbon-cutting. Titled "Aspire," the Englewood monument symbolizes how believing in youth can produce dreams that come true. 

The monument, which sits at the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Marquette Road, salutes the educational legacy of the location. It was at one time the home of Kennedy King College, Chicago State University and Paul Robeson High School. It depicts a map of the neighborhood and heralds the future development plan for the corner. 

Sterling Bay, known for building the McDonalds' Corporation headquarters and the Lincoln Yards Project, is in talks to build here. They have not revealed exactly what the site will hold, but they said it will be community-driven project. 

Englewood has experienced its share of negative news, this monument symbolizes neighborhood pride.

"I wanted to communicate the message that we love and believe in our youth," said monument artist Maxwell Emcays. "We love and believe in our community. The work that I've been doing as an artist and specifically, art activism has always been about challenging the imagery that is often communicated to our youth."


"We all know that Chicagoans love to rep their hood and so that was one of the inspirations to behind the side that we wanted to make sure that the splendor of Englewood has a befitting monument gateway sign that is going to serve as a beacon for all that has happened on this site," said Sterling Bay chief diversity and engagement officer Keiana Barrett.

There is a time capsule inside the monument, and it will not stand alone for long. Sterling Bay plans to make an announcement about its plans to build here in a couple of months.