[dropcap]A[dropcap] rose, the Latina music sensation Selena, a plane and the Virgin de Guadalupe are just a few of the objects outlined in the three, 100-feet wide murals now standing across from the Rosemont Recreation Center. The public art installation called “It’s Art Here” had its kick-off event on Friday, July 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. Over 40 local volunteers from the Village of Rosemont attended, eager to help color-in the murals and enjoy the free food and entertainment provided by the center.
Eight young adults mentored by visual and graphic artist Rahmaan Statik were paid by the Village of Rosemont to design the murals. Over the course of two months, they met with their mentor to select the symbols they thought best described their community.
“At first we had to think, ‘What is Latino? What is Mexican?’ That’s how we came up with the sugar skulls and Selena—pretty much any major cultural symbols. Then we tried to think of what we see here in Rosemont, like the roses and the planes from O’Hare, for example. We want to give whoever comes here and looks at the mural an idea of what they can find here. Mainly, what is Rosemont?” said Guillermo Echevarria, one of the apprentice artists.
The three murals are one of Rosemont’s first large-scale public art pieces. Statik said that not only do public art pieces reflect the community, but they also give back to the community a sense of its own identity.
One of Mayor Stephenson’s projects this term is to foster Rosemont community pride. He came up with the idea one morning just a few months ago, when he was driving his usual route to work and saw the three large, blank walls on Barry Street.
“I planted the seed, but they grew the garden,” said the mayor, gesturing to the staff members at the Rosemont Recreation Center. Stephenson said the murals are permanent. He’s also noticed a few more sides of buildings in Rosemont that could use more color, but he can’t confirm any plans just yet.
“I think this is the start of something. If this goes well, who knows what will pop up somewhere else in Rosemont, you know?” said Fabian Garcia, also an apprentice artist.
While an unanticipated rain put Friday’s mural painting on hold, the apprentice artists teamed up with over 40 community volunteers the next day to begin to color in the mural, together.