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Jesse Owens Inspires 'Art of Skateboarding' Mural at Wells High School

By Alisa Hauser | April 24, 2015 9:36am

EAST VILLAGE — Students in an after-school Art of Skateboarding club that draws from several area high schools teamed up to create a mural honoring the legacy of runner Jesse Owens.

Though "I am Jesse Owens" was unveiled at Wells High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave. in East Village earlier this week, the mural will soon hang on a wall at The Union League Club's Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit center at 1214 N. Washetenaw Ave. in Humboldt Park.

Artist David Lofton was responsible for drawing Owens in motion (DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser)

David Lofton, a senior at Roberto Clemente High School, was one of six teen artists who worked on the mural, which took about a month to complete and included research on Owens, an African-American track and field icon who won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Initially the mural started as a Black History Month project, Lofton said.

Lofton and about 30 other students from an After School Matters' Art of Skateboarding club celebrated the mural at a party earlier this week, which included food, drinks and a presentation featuring photos and videos detailing the mural’s progress from initial sketches through completion.

Lofton drew a 3-D portrait of Owens based on a photo, while Cesar Moyorido, 18, a recent Kelvin Park High School graduate, painted an American flag cape.

About five other student artists filled in the background, under the guidance of volunteer instructor Alvaro Gonzalez, who started the After School Matters club several years ago.

Lofton said the project was his first time working on a mural.

"It's going to be very insporing to know that others are seeing it," Lofton said. "When you do art, you want to share it."

The 35-member club recently relocated to Wells High School from Roberto Clemente. For more info on After School Matters' programs for Chicago youth, visit the group's website.

The students in front of their mural. (The Boys and Girls Club/ Barry Brecheisen)

Alfaro Gonzalez, second from lefft, with a few students from After School Matters' Art and Skateboarding Club (DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser)

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