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U.S.-Mexico Border Issues The Focus Of New Pilsen Mural

By Chloe Riley | July 8, 2013 8:33am
 FX's new show "The Bridge" sponsored a mural contest in five major U.S. cities. Chicago's winner went up on the eastern wall at Pilsen Vintage and Thrift, 1430 W. 18th St.
The Bridge: Mural Debut
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PILSEN — A new mural is up in the neighborhood, but this one came out of a contest from FX’s new show "The Bridge," about two detectives along the border between Mexico and the United States. 

In the mural — on Pilsen Vintage and Thrift’s eastern wall at 1430 W. 18th St. — a woman stands with closed eyes and outstretched arms. Around her, words like “Family” and “Love” sit parallel to their Spanish counterparts “Familia” and “Amor.”

Street artist Timothy Alamillo, who grew up in Pilsen, took home $1,500 for the winning design.

He said the money is nothing compared to the thrill of seeing his art on the walls of his old neighborhood.

“It’s hard to imagine I have artwork in the same place where I used to be just a little kid, playing around. It’s cool, it’s a good feeling,” Alamillo said.

Set on the border between El Paso and Juarez, the hour-long show follows two detectives — an American and a Mexican — who must work together to find a serial killer operating on both sides of the border.

Tensions, between both characters and countries, are integral to the show and part of what inspired the mural contest.

Alamillo, a first generation citizen in his family, said the Statue of Liberty was part of his inspiration for the woman with outstretched arms.

“I put the woman in there with her arms open, welcoming people from Mexico to the United States and people from the United States into Mexico,” he said.

Pilsen Vintage and Thrift owner Paul Gazar said he plans to keep the mural up for at least a month.

The Bridge debuts at 10 p.m. Wednesday on FX.