Our Time To Grow 2023
This mosaic, spanning 450 square feet, commemorates the 150th anniversary of Oak Park River Forest High School. Students actively contributed to both the design and creation of this mural, which not only reflects their school pride but also establishes a lasting legacy for the next 150 years.
The Oak Park Area Arts Council's Off The Wall Summer mural employment program collaborated with the school's Huskie Booster Club to secure funding for this impressive installation. Over the past 18 years, Carolyn Elaine has served as the Master Artist for the OTW program. This summer, she teamed up with Tracy Van Duinen, a visual arts teacher at OPRF and a Master Artist skilled in bricolage mosaic application. Having entered the world of mosaic making together more than two decades ago, they were thrilled to reignite their partnership for this monumental project.
Situated on the west side of the building, the mural features a prominent depiction of the school's mascot, the Huskie, along with the founding date of the school, 1873. The vibrant artwork showcases a substantial tree with leaves that appear to sway in the wind. Prior to the program's commencement, Van Duinen collaborated with students on the design, and for six weeks, apprentices worked under Carolyn Elaine's guidance to bring the mosaic artwork to life. Many of these apprentices had honed their mosaic-making skills in previous summer projects and played a pivotal role in training newcomers. Van Duinen, alongside volunteers, led the installation process. This project stands as the largest mosaic installation completed by Off The Wall to date.