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School in Lakeview launches 'L' train art fundraiser to ensure all students can take school trips

'L' train art fundraiser helps ensure students at Lakeview school can take out-of-state trips
'L' train art fundraiser helps ensure students at Lakeview school can take out-of-state trips 02:45

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Remember Cows on Parade?

That art installation featuring brightly-colored and festooned fiberglass bovines swept through Chicago back in 1999. Now, 23 years later, something similar is coming to the Southport Corridor – not involving cows this time, but little models of 'L' trains.

As CBS 2's Marissa Perlman reported Friday, the project is one part of a creative fundraiser to help ensure equity for students at one Chicago school.


The two-dimensional trains are mounted on poles outside Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, at 3319 N. Clifton Ave. in Lakeview. Each is presented as a canvas for artwork.


The purpose is to help the school create equity in the 8th-grade class.

"We wanted to make sure that finances were not a barrier whatsoever for any of our students for our travel," said Hawthorne principal Trish Davlantes.

Davlantes said Hawthorne sends its 8th-grade students to Yellowstone National Park and to Washington, D.C. every year. But this year, in a tough economy, the trip is proving to be pricier – up to 30 to 40 percent, to $2,400.

"Clearly, I think it was a bigger stretch than what had even possible in the past for some of our families," Davlantes said.

Students form more than 40 different Chicago neighborhoods go to Hawthorne. And to make sure everyone can take those out-of-state field trips, parents got creative – with a fundraiser inspired by Cows on Parade back in '99.

But this time, they're using those pole-mounted mini-'L' trains with designs from local artists – and designs from some students too.

Eighth-grader Adara Trivedi was one of those students.

"I wanted to do the Chicago skyline and the flag combined," she said.

On the flat train canvas, Adara turned the two light-blue horizontal bars of the Chicago flag into a row of Chicago skyline landmarks on top - and what looks like a reflection of the row on water on the bottom. The buildings are all there – the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center, the Crain Communications Building, the Aqua – even the Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park.


Adara channeled her artistic skills in hopes that her classmates will get to join her.

"For them to like be able to enjoy that experience – not just with me, but like as a whole," Adara said, "and it's one thing not to go, but it's another whole awful thing when like, you're the only one – or one of a very few – who doesn't get to go."

The trains will move from outside the front of Hawthorne Scholastic Academy and eventually hit the nearby Southport Corridor. They will be on display in front of businesses on Southport Avenue – in hopes of building some buzz for both the school and the fundraiser.

The trains will eventually be auctioned off online.

Professor at Northwestern University and equity practitioner Danielle Bell calls it an example of how area schools can help close the gap in the Chicago Public Schools.

"When that happens, it's not just students who would have lost out on opportunity – they not only win, but all the students win," Bell said.

The 'L' trains will be on display on Southport Avenue in a couple of weeks.

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