Latino State News
North and South Lawndale Students Create Mural-Art through NHS of Chicago’s New Art Program
After nine months of education, planning and preparation by creators of Art Forward, more than 100 west side students and community members in eight grade schools, high schools and nonprofit organizations in North Lawndale, South Lawndale (encompassing Little Village/26th Street) and East Garfield will begin painting boards with such themes as “silence the violence, increase the peace,” “heart of the city” and “start a new life.” The art will help create a positive impact on a North Lawndale vacant home for sale by the NHS Redevelopment Corporation, the real estate development arm of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
The students’ creativity and chance to beautify a vacant home is being realized through their participation in Art Forward “See Me Better,” a new community-based art program created by NHS of Chicago, in collaboration with North Lawndale’s Family Focus, 180 Properties, and the LAN 67 Action Team, a collaboration of faith-based organizations and nonprofits from the North Lawndale area.
Art Forward was created by Ife Williams, an Americorps VISTA volunteer working in NHS’ North Lawndale office since August 2010. “We decided to use art as a powerful community development tool to get people thinking creatively,” said Williams. “We’re empowering people to express themselves and to work together. With art, there is no right or wrong.”
Since late January, students have been meeting weekly, brainstorming ideas for their mural and learning about concept development, contrast and balance, as well as participating in neighborhood field trips and history lessons. Classes are led by student artists from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and artists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and several Chicago community colleges.
The art created at eight sites will blanket boards used to secure a vacant property in North Lawndale, culminating in community unveiling planned for mid-June.
Painting of art murals at several sites for community board-up project at vacant home in North Lawndale. Public unveiling planned for mid-June at vacant home in the 1500 block of S. Kedvale Avenue. NHS of Chicago, students and community groups.
Different times, including Tues., May 24 & 31, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Family Focus; Tues & Thurs., May 24, 26, 31 & June 2, 3:30-5:30 p.m., North Lawndale College Prep; and Sat., May 28, June 4, 1-3 p.m. Breakthrough Urban Ministries
Locations include Family Focus, 3517 W. Arthington Street; North Lawndale College Prep, 1516 S. Christiana Avenue; and Breakthrough Urban Ministries, 3330 W. Carroll .
Art Forward participants; Ife Williams, coordinator, Art Forward, NHS of Chicago; Haman Cross, Afterschool Coordinator, Family Focus; Jilian Soto, teaching artist and graduate, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.