EDGEBROOK — Organizers behind the push to create a mural along the path under the Metra tracks at LeHigh, Hiawatha and Kinzua avenues Saturday unveiled the design of the mural, which pays homage to the area's history.
"There are stories behind every element," said Kara Johnson, one of the artists who helped design the mural and an Edgebrook resident. "I'm really excited."
The mural will feature not only painted images but also mosaic, sculpture and photographs using a French art technique known as bricolage to craft a three-dimensional covering that stretches 450 feet along the underpass walls, which vary in height from 3 feet to 14 feet.
One portion of the mural will depict the 1943 opening of the underpass, which connects the Edgebrook, Wildwood and North Edgebrook communities. The tunnel —which is no more than five feet wide — allows residents to cross the train tracks and avoid busy Devon Avenue.
Other portions of the mural will honor the area's earliest settlers, members of the Potawatomi tribe of Native Americans, as well as the area's lush vegetation and fertile land.
The Hiawatha Express train once traveled the tracks above the underpass, and the mural includes a portrait of the train in motion, with the Chicago skyline in the background.
Marti Corcoran, who has lived in Edgebrook for 40 years, said she was glad the mural was moving forward.
"Anything to beautify the neighborhood," Corcoran said.
Work is scheduled to start June 26.
The first phase of the mural will cost $55,000 to create — and all but $9,000 will be paid for by Green Star Movement, a nonprofit organization that has worked with schools and neighborhoods to create public art projects throughout the city, through its partnership with After School Matters, an enrichment program founded by former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley in 1991.
Thirty teens age 14 to 17 from Edgebrook, Wildwood and North Edgebrook will be hired over the summer to work on the mural.
For more information, call Jac Charlier at 773-266-1420 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.