A group of young Rosemont artists and a Chicago muralist are bringing some color, and pride, to the sides of formerly drab brick industrial buildings.
A 15-by-300-foot mural is being painted on three sides of two buildings across from the Rosemont Recreation Center at 7128 Barry St., in a multifamily residential neighborhood north of the Allstate Arena.
The mural depicts images of Mexican history and culture, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cesar Chavez, Frida Kahlo, Selena, famous mariachi performers and Day of the Dead imagery.
Rosemont hired Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik to work with eight teenage apprentices -- either current high school students or recent graduates -- to come up with the designs, stencil them on the walls and fill them in with paint.
Statik says the mural helps give the community a cultural identity. The students who are working on the project live in the neighborhood and will pass by the mural every day on their way to and from work and school.
"We had conversations of what the students wanted to see on the walls -- what it was they wanted to express and do," Statik said. "It's one of the better groups of students I've worked with in terms of experience and talent. They take pride in the art they create."
Statik began brainstorming with the students in March. The teens drew their ideas for the mural on 8½- by 11-inch pieces of paper, and Statik grouped those drawings onto a computerized digital image. He gave three proposed designs to Mayor Brad Stephens, who selected one of them. The design was finalized last month.
Earlier this month, the students projected their designs onto the three whitewashed walls so they could stencil them. Now they're filling it all in with paint and expect to be finished in the next three weeks.
Statik, who worked as a student muralist at Chicago's Gallery 37, has designed other community murals, including a 12- by 300-foot piece under a Lake Shore Drive bridge in Hyde Park.