Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Beginnings

Check out our Summer 2009 Mural!

Our new rendition of the community mural.
Previous mural for 30 years

Take a look at the completed mural project at Central Park and Van Buren, on the west side of chicago. After over seven weeks of wall prep and painting 17 Chicago youth enrolled in the After School Matters program through the Garfield Park Conservatory and I have completed the revitalization and re-imagining of a mural which stood in the neighborhood for over 3 decades. With help from the community at The First Church of Brethren the youth artists and I were able to work through a collaborative design process to redesign this mural with the input from the youth artists and the members of the church's community. Many thanks to everyone who made this project possible including the Youth involved in the project, Department of Cultural Affairs, Garfield Park Conservatory, especially Mike Tomas and Seprina Redmond, After School Matters, First Church of the Brethren and everyone who came out showed their support, by verbal support or helping me take down scaffold, you know who you are. Thanks!
For more pictures please check out my website

Saturday, December 20, 2008


After month of hard and often very cold work, the Maypole Community History Mural is finished! The project was possible with amazing support from the community, incredibly hard work of artist volunteers, and of course the great design work of the 2008 kidstart students. Please walk, drive, or bike by to see the mural at the corner of California and Lake street in East Garfield Park. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Maypole Community History Mural has started! Lot(s) artists and volunteers have been working through the month of November to complete the mural.  We have continued to collect photos of neighborhood residents while working on the wall.  The mural includes photos from past residents, elders and children that live on the block.  We expect to be finished by the middle of December. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The  end of class was celebrated on Saturday, August 16th in conjunction with Maypole's annual block party.  Kidstart students displayed their art work and mural designs for the community to see.  Neighborhood children along with the students painted the back of the Maypole Garden sign.  We look forward to seeing the final design come to life this fall!

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/2/08 & 8/3/08

The Maypole Garden is planted! Friday and Saturday were scheduled garden installation with Neighborhood Youth Garden Corps, Openlands,Chicago Cares volunteers, Maypole Residents and Kidstart students. Friday was spent moving two huge mounds of mulch and soil into the garden to create the path and areas for plants. Despite the hot weather the students worked hard moving dirt with wheelbarrows, shovels, buckets and tarps. All the dirt and mulch was in the garden by mid-moring on Saturday and we were able to start planting. So far the garden looks beautiful! An Evergreen tree will be added in the Fall when the season is right to plant it.


In celebration of the wonderful job all the students did at the Community Design Presentation we took a field trip to Millennium park.  We visited the Sculpture Garden of the Art Institute, Crown Fountain, "the Bean" and a summer art program for high school students held in the park. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We spent all day today preparing for a community design meeting held at a local church this evening. Students have been working in two  groups to prepare mural designs along with power point presentations to present to residents of the maypole block. During class we made final edits to our presentations and rehearsed with each other. 

Community Design Meeting: This event was held at 6:30 at a Revival Fellowship Church.  Each group of students presented their projects by explaining different elements of their mural designs and how our community research process led them to include specific elements: words, photos, drawings, stencils, etc.  The presentations were followed by a reception where community members had the opportunity to give the students feedback on their designs. The event was very helpful for our design process and the students did an AMAZING job!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today were working on our group projects, designing pictures and putting photos together to share with the community on Tuesday. We are working in two groups of five to create drawings. We had some students from the neighborhood group gardening core come, so that we could explain a little bit about what it is we are doing in our program. 



Today we are working on our presentations for the community meeting on next week. We are planning great pictures and ideas to share with the rest of the community. The reason for this presentation is to gain ideas and opinions from the maypole community about this mural design. In order to design this mural we think that it is very important that voices other than ours are heard. Yesterday we created flyers telling people in the community that our meeting will be held at Revival Fellowship Church on next Tuesday on the 26th at 6:30pm. stencils were also a big contribution in helping design these flyers that will be handed to the community later this afternoon.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Week 3 Day 1

Yesterday we created flyers 2 hand out 2 people in the community, letting them kknow that we will be stopping by 2 visit and talk 2 them about what changes are being made 2 better the Maypole community. These flyers were 2 show the maypole community that positive changes can still be made 2 better the neighborhood. But in order 4 these great changes to be made, we have 2 work 2gether and put forth a lot of effort 2 make sure that these changes are made and not just discussed.

Overall, making a better Maypole has been fun. We’ve learned a lot of things, we can take with us in the future. For instance, knowing/learning about eh community History and how it has changed over a period of time. Also how music has influenced murals. We have learned what murals are, how they influence the community and how you can express what you’re feeling, and how the community influences the murals.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Week 2 Day 4

Today we worked with Neighborhood Youth Garden Corps to being the install of a paver patio. We dug the area out for the patio, leveled it, and then continued to lay a layer of gravel followed by a layer of sand. We leveled off the surface so that the pavers would be ready to be installed the next morning.
After our lunch break we met in small groups to discuss individual assignments for the weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Week 2 Day 3

This morning we reflected and talked about yesterday’s mural tour. We then moved on to discuss with each student what interested him or her most about the mural design process and what role in the process that they wanted to take responsibility for.

In the afternoon we continued to work on our design by drawing and taking photos. We met with a community leader and elder to discuss the past and the future of the 26-2700 block of Maypole. This conversation gave students an idea of what the current issues in the neighborhood as well as a sense of history of the area and people. This discussion served as a way to ground and give context to the students’ ideas about the mural design.

Week 2 Day 2

We took a tour of Chicago’s South Side looking at a variety of murals; Stephen Saunders guided our tour, Mr. Saunders is a artist and resident of the South Side. We learned about the rich history of mural painting in Chicago including: origins, methods, styles, community interaction, identity, activism, advertising and much more.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Week 2 Day 1

Today we worked with Neighborhood Youth Garden Corps. (An Openlands group youth job training program that focuses is in landscaping.) We spent the day cleaning up the lot and spreading mulch on the lot. After working on the garden we gathered to discuss presentations to the community by looking at students work from the previous year. We then moved on to prepare questions to ask on tomorrow's south side mural tour.

Week one of the second year

Over the past week we have begun the process of designing a mural for the Maypole Garden Project. This project again involves high school age youth from Chicago who are enrolled in a vocational training class through Chicago Public School's Education to Careers Program.
We spent the first week of class looking through mural books, familiarizing ourselves with the history, methods, styles and approaches of mural painting. Spending time in the neighborhood was important to beginning our research process. Students took photographs of interesting elements in area, ranging from stained glass windows to residents of the neighborhood.
After collecting imagery from the neighborhood students worked to develop patterns, designs and ideas for the mural.
This week we generated questions to ask members of the community, which will help to inform our design process.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree has been put up and decorated by the residents of the 26-2700 blocks of Maypole. The tree looks great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Saturday: Block Party

Saturday was the block party, we worked with the community to plant a raised bed garden. We installed the design board and portraits, we grilled, we hung out, we tied surveyors tape to the fence, we ate and made friends.