John Pitman Weber, emeritus professor of the Elmhurst College Art Department, was honored earlier this month at a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Public Art Group, an organization that was co-founded by Weber and the late William Walker.
In the early 1970s Weber and Walker imagined the value of artists working together in public, crossing racial boundaries.
The Chicago Public Art Group’s mission is to unite artists and communities to produce quality public art and to extend and transform the tradition of collaborative, community-involved, public artwork. Throughout its 40 years, CPAG has remained true to its original principle – the creation of excellent public art and a commitment to social justice.
A professor, activist and author, Weber is best known as a public artist who has led and co-led the creation of large mosaics, concrete sculptures and painted murals. In more than 40 major projects, he has collaborated with teens, young adults, teachers and seniors, landscape architects and contractors. His projects are found in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Paris, and Managua, Nicaragua. He has had more than 30 solo shows and has authored, with Eva and James Cockcroft, Toward a People’s Art, the definitive account of the early years of the contemporary mural movement.
Weber taught art at Elmhurst College for 40 years, retiring in 2011. More about Weber’s distinguished career at Elmhurst is featured in The Finishing Touches, an article in the Spring 2011 issue of the College’s magazine, Prospect.