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'Dingy' Rogers Park Train Underpasses Get Splashes of Color

By Benjamin Woodard | August 6, 2013 9:21am
 In summer of 2013, eight new murals were installed at "L" underpasses throughout Rogers Park.
Rogers Park Murals 2013
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ROGERS PARK — Armed with paint brushes and rollers, artists have been decorating "L" underpasses throughout the neighborhood this summer.

Eight new murals are expected to be finished by the end of the summer at five train underpasses.

"My goal is to create something that is really beautiful," said artist Molly Zakrajsek, while she worked on her mural under the "L" tracks at North Shore Avenue.

Zakrajsek said that even when she painted the south wall a solid yellow, passers-by began thanking her for beautifying the damp, dingy underpass.

Her mural depicts abstract flowers, with their leaves and petals filled in with blue, orange, yellow and green patterns.

Across the street, Rogers Park artist Brenda Barnum painted her mural of abstract cherry blossoms on a yellow background, called "Northern Exposure."

"It's really fun," she said. "I love working with scale. I wish all of my paintings could be 70 feet [long]."

Both Barnum and Zakrajsek were commissioned, along with four other artists, to paint the murals after 504 residents voted for 20 of them — at a $120,000 price tag — in Ald. Joe Moore's (49th) participatory budgeting program last year.

Two other murals, paid for by the Rogers Park Business Alliance and its special tax district, are being installed at the Lunt Avenue "L" underpass.

Brazilian artist Bruno Big completed his abstract painting of three bicyclists formed by colorful elongated shapes, resembling stained glass on the south wall.

On the opposite wall, Rogers Park artist Jeff Zimmermann has partially completed his mural, featuring a collage of different images including several human faces, a wolf head, a human heart pierced with an arrow, a head of cabbage and an ear of corn.

Other mural locations include the north and south walls at Sherwin and North Shore avenues; the north wall at Estes Avenue; and the south wall at the Metra underpass at Farwell Avenue.