LOGAN SQUARE — The iconic blue-on-yellow Logan Square Blue Line memorial mural has been taken down, but a new installation at the site will appear in its place this fall.
Roscoe Village-based artist Rachel Slotnick is partnering with Logan Square's Beauty and Brawn Art Gallery & Think Space to create a neighborhood work of art after a lease expired for the familiar two-tone design. The contrasting colors have been nearly unavoidable beside the busy train station entrance for at least eight years.
Passing commuters have stopped to ask about the missing yellow silhouettes, said Slotnick, an arts professor at Malcolm X College. Some have even taken to social media to inquire about the blue paint chips scattered along the base of the wall since the old mural was taken down.
“I guess this is my white whale,” she said Monday afternoon while buffing the wall with a solid white foundation. “I want to be as respectful to the original [mural] as I can.”
She’s completed two large murals in Chicago, but the Logan Square station wall will be the biggest project on her list to date. The mural will span about 30 feet and is based on lines from her upcoming novel.
Plans for the wall include an image of a peacock with stripes and a tiger with feathers set on flowers in an S shape, to match the winding Paseo Prairie Community Garden trail and stage near the mural.
Slotnick also plans to involve the community in the making of the mural, she said. Tentative events include the inclusion of neighborhood kids in hands-on painting, followed by a poetry reading and dedication ceremony.
“I want to be respectful to the neighborhoods I go into. I want to absorb and celebrate with the community,” she said. “I feel like memorial is a big part of my work.”
According to Slotnick and Lindsey Meyers, owner of Beauty and Brawn, a two-year tenure for the old blue and yellow mural expired a few years ago and hadn’t been updated. The mural of Logan Square residents silhouetted in bright yellow shapes over a Crayola blue background was a collaboration between the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Archi-treasures, as an homage to diversity and a point of connection between old and young residents in the neighborhood. It included about 130 recorded interviews as part of its design in 2006.
“I think it was iconic; it was recognizable — each character had a story. It was a marker and a point, but I feel that art can be ever-changing,” said Meyers, a 10-year resident of the neighborhood. “The truth of the matter is that people are looking for something new.”
Meyers said she’s had her eye on the wall for nearly eight years, and when the chance came to change the design, her two-year adoption proposal ran unopposed.
“Sometimes when I put my mind to something, I actually get it done,” she said. "I hope we make the neighborhood proud."
The CTA recently gave Beauty and Brawn permission to install the new piece, but Slotnick said the yellow memorials, based on silhouettes of actual Logan Square residents, were saved and could reappear as installations in the nearby corner garden.
She happily greeted passing commuters as they stopped at the mural Monday to ask about the change. Beauty and Brawn Gallery hopes to have work finished by September, she said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: