Local Artists Selected to Create Mural in 64th Street Underpass in Woodlawn

Community Residents Invited to Share Input on Public Art Installation

South Side artists Arlene Turner Crawford and Rahmaan (Statik) Barnes have been chosen to create a mural for the railroad underpass on 64th Street at Dorchester Avenue. The project, which was introduced to community residents at the Woodlawn Community Summit, on Saturday, March 18, is being co-sponsored by the William G. Hill Center for the Arts, the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, and South East Chicago Commission (SECC). A committee representing the project partners, as well as community stakeholders, selected Crawford and Barnes from a pool of more than 35 artists from across the city who responded to the Call for Artists. They were chosen to lead the project because they are South Side residents and have extensive experience in public art installation and working with community groups.

Crawford joined William Hill, founder of the William Hill Gallery; Nika Levando, associate director in the Office of Civic Engagement; and Diane Burnham, community development program manager for SECC at the Woodlawn Community Summit on Saturday (Barnes had a prior commitment) to announce the project and begin to engage community members in the process. Summit attendees were invited to share their thoughts, ideas and comments on what they would like to see or not see on the underpass wall.

“This particular viaduct is located next to Dorchester Botanical Gardens and William Hill Art Gallery on one side and Jackson Park on the other,” explained Hill. “So, as a group of partners, we are interested in exploring the themes of biodiversity, nature, and community more broadly.”

SECC, which organized the Summit, had large boards positioned at the back of the room, where participants could respond to four questions: 1) What does biodiversity mean to you?; 2) What is your relationship with nature?; 3) What images inspire you?; and 4) What do you not want to see on the mural?

Participants in the Woodlawn Community Summit, on March 18, were invited to share their thoughts on the design of a new mural at 64th Street and Dirchester Avenue. 

“It is very important to us that this mural is a community project. We intentionally chose local artists who not only have created public art, but also have experience teaching or collaborating with others on large group projects,” said Burnham. “The input we collect at the Woodlawn Summit and other community gatherings will help to inform the design Arlene and Statik conceive of for the mural.”

The project partners expect to present design concepts to the community in early May, and begin work on the mural as soon as weather permits. Over the course of the project, they will schedule community work days and volunteer opportunities for neighbors, school children, students, and interested people to participate in this project.

“The Office of Civic Engagement is pleased to support this kind of place-based arts activity in our community. We look forward to partnering with our neighbors in Woodlawn and members of the University community to enliven this important gateway to Jackson Park,” said Levando.

Originally posted March 22, 2017.

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