Mural Honors Heroes
Photo courtesy of the Union Impact Center
Back of the Yards residents have worked together these past few months to make various murals around the neighborhood, including one on 49th and Loomis Street.
The mural is being painted in memory of all fallen heroes and counts with the help of many community members as well as the guidance of Rigoberto Robles, 23, a UIC senior student majoring in graphic design.
“I don’t really see myself as the [only] designer of this mural,” said Robles, “I’m just hoping to make the vision come alive, to be a memorial that stands out and communicates our own idea of what a memory is.”
Robles sketched drawings of what the mural would look like based on the input of residents and their ideas of what they believe needs to stand out. One side has the Chicago Fire Department’s logo while the other side has the logo of the Chicago Police Department.
Robles has been interested in art since he was a child. He found graphic art as his own identity. According to him, creating sketches and drawings is something that he believes defined him.
He was asked to be part of the mural due to his involvement with the Union Impact Center and saw it as an opportunity to finally paint a mural in Back of the Yards.
“I’ve painted murals before but never one in my own community,” said Robles.
Robles designed the drawings in Photoshop and he then transferred them into a transparency sheet to be projected on the mural wall in order to trace the lines and make the outlines. The next step will be to simply have participants to begin painting.
“Community support is the main ingredient,” said Robles.
Neighborhood youth mentors Paul Rutherford and Rafael Yañez, who started the Law and Criminal Leadership Program at Richards Career Academy, came up with the idea of involving youth participants from the leadership program in the making of the mural. Little by little, more people became interested and got together to plan further steps.