ROSELAND — Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) is hoping to spruce up some of the ugliest spots in his ward — viaducts — by holding a mural competition that will be judged by local voters.
The 9th Ward’s Artist’s Mural Program was recently unveiled by Beale after longtime discussions in the community, Beale said.
The city already had an initiative called Individual Artist’s Program, but he wanted to expand on that.
“The city has a program where they were doing basically one mural per ward,” he said. “I looked at it and said we need to expound upon that and expand it because I have several viaducts throughout my ward. Most of them are deteriorating and have no identity.”
The two programs will work together and will soon be seeking murals designed by Chicago artists. Beale said they’re open to different themes, but would really like to see work that tells the history of the community, like the Pullman porters. The former slaves were hired by George Pullman to work on the railroads on sleeping cars.
The 9th Ward is seeking artists to design murals depicting the culture and history of the community like the one pictured above in Pullman to enhance seven viaducts in the community. [Provided/Marc PoKempner]
The chosen art will be displayed on viaducts between 95th and 115th streets. Beale is targeting 103rd, 107th, 111th and 115th, which are a part of the Pullman National Monument designated by former President Barack Obama. The ultimate goal is to cover all of the viaducts with murals, he said, but the programs would need to tap into additional funds.
The city and Beale will each allocate $70,000, totaling $140,000 for the Mural Program. Each artist would get $20,000, Beale said.
High school students will assist the artists with installing and displaying the winning design on seven viaducts.
“The biggest piece, and that I think is critical, is that we're going to have students,” Beale said.
Schools he plans to partner with are Harlan, Corliss, Gwendolyn Brooks and Carver Military Academy high school.
“This would be great for spring break because it’ll give the kids something to do,” he said.
Once submissions are in, Beale said he will present them to the community and let them vote.
“It will be great to add some art to the community,” he said.
“The aim of the 9th Ward’s Artist’s Mural Program is to discover and nurture practicing artists and creative professionals from across the city, while beautifying the landscape and enhancing the image of the ward. It’s another way we’re working to make our ward a better place to live, work and visit," Beale said.
To be eligible artist must:
• Be a city resident with a valid street address;
• Be a professional artist or creative entrepreneur who has specialized training in the field
• Be committed to their art form as their primary vocation, but will be considered regardless how much they earn from their art.
• Attend an application assistance workshop
For additional information about the 9th Ward Artist’s Mural Program, call 773-785-1100.