PILSEN — A bald eagle mural symbolizing immigration now graces a viaduct in the Blue Island corridor.
The mural, at 1550 S. Blue Island Ave., was funded by the University Station Condo Association as part of a neighborhood arts initiative by Ald. Danny Solis (25th). It went up last week.
David Schulz, president of the University Station Condo Association, said his association has been planning the project for three years and, after pitching the idea to Solis’ office, finally got it to take off.
The condos are directly across the street from the mural and have been in the neighborhood since 2006. Schulz said the association plans to put up to six more murals around University Station over the next year.
Prior to the mural, the viaducts had been covered by a youth summer school project from the ‘90s that was mostly worn away or covered in graffiti and looked “bleak,” Schulz said.
Two large hands flank the mural and push into a medley of colored shapes and disembodied heads with a large bald eagle at the center. In banners wrapped around the eagle are the words “Techo, Terra, Trabajo” or "housing, land, work."
Argentinean artist Nicolas Romero, who's known as EVER, said he created the mural as part of a commentary on gentrification.
He started with the image of the bald eagle.
“I tried to find a symbol of the United States. But then I realize, it also is a symbol for the Mexican people,” Romero said. “How this neighborhood belonged to the Mexican people for example, you know? And now how it changes.”
While the condo association did not have any input on Romero’s mural, Schulz said they may have more input regarding future murals. So far, he said, the association’s response to the mural has been mostly positive.
“There are people who are like, ‘Eh I don’t get it but it’s better than what it was before,’” Schulz said. “Me, I’m an arts supporter. You can never have too much art.”