Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The story behind the Ecuadorian Association's mural

There's not a whole lot of street art in Albany Park (occasionally gang graffiti will be somewhat pretty, but the whole "gang" business makes it hard to justify it as art), but one new community mural consistently catches my eye.

Located just north of Lawrence on Albany on the old garage door belonging to Asociacion Ecuador Unido (AEU or in English: Ecuadorian Union Association), this mural was completed near the end of August.

What it looked like on August 15th:

The mural was part of an Albany Park Neighborhood Association youth employment program, explained AEU Vice President Danny Siguenza today. About 80 teens in the community were given summer jobs at schools, nonprofits, daycares, hair salons and other local business as part of the program, and one of the jobs was painting this mural.

On August 21st, almost complete:

Eight teens mostly 16 - 17 years old painted the mural which is supposed to reflect various parts of the surrounding neighborhood.

On the top right side you have people dancing and doing Tae Kwon Do, a reference to some of the services offered at the AEU.

Underneath is a reference to education and Roosevelt HS and the local fire station. On the very bottom is a representation of the Global Garden on Lawrence and Sacramento, recently profiled by the Chicago Reader.

On the top left hand side, the students painted another reference to education, followed by the soccer field over by the North Branch River Spillway -- a project of the elder Mell the kids seem to enjoy very much. 

The teens also painted the Lawrence bus, and a street vendor. The bottom is cyclist is meant to represent Bikes N' Roses, a youth-led nonprofit organization promoting bike usage that also does bike repairs. Here's a blog post about the project, and here's a Univision news report about the org in Spanish.  

Signatures of the eight artists, who did a mighty fine job, IMHO. The finished product captures the spirit of the community perfectly, way more so than  the youth community mural by Our Lady of Mercy that went up a few years ago.