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Lawndale Legends (2006)

Project Description: 

- Artist: Carolyn Elaine Assisting artist: Katie Flowers

- Participants: Collins High School students

- Sponsorship: Chicago Public Art Group - After School Matters

- 64 sq ft. Mixed Media, Broken Tile Mosaic, Paint and Photographs= Interior Installation


Throughout history a key indicator of a community experiencing a period of renaissance is a dramatic increase in the creation of art and literature that emerges from that community. North Lawndale is in the midst of a long overdue renaissance.


This mixed media mural was created by youth from Collins High School under the auspices of After School Matters and Chicago Public Art Group. The central idea of this project was to create an artwork with a theme that reflected community feedback.


Lawndale Legends is a mural, installed in the Lawndale Christian Development Center’s technology laboratory that recognizes thirteen individuals who were identified by the organization. These Legends have contributed fifteen or more years of service to the community and consist of political figures, spiritual leaders, community activist and entrepreneurs. Collectively they have not only sustained the community but have contributed to its redevelopment.


The 64sq ft mural is a colleague comprised of broken tile mosaic, mirror, acrylic paint actual photographs and text. Pictures of the selected Legends are placed throughout the composition in both exterior and interior scenes. Various quotations and text were taken from the organization’s 2005 quality of life plan and placed within the mural.


There are three scenes in the composition; a spiritual scene, an outdoor community scene and an office scene. The spiritual scene, which is a painted element, depicts two of the community’s spiritual leaders in front of a church stained glass window. Near them reads the quotation: “God has great plans for North Lawndale”.


The imagery in the outdoor community scene, done in mosaic, includes a woman planting flowers in her community which symbolizes the many residents who weathered the decades of decline. Near her reads, “If we don’t have a plan for our community, someone else will”. In the background there is a map of the North Lawndale Community as well as the newly constructed homes. The actual photographs of community leaders appear in the map and windows of the façade. They have been affixed to wooden cutouts, framed with acrylic paint and placed as relief elements in the mural.


The office scene shows framed photographs of the many selected political figures hanging on the wall behind a desk and chair. The American flag stands in the corner of the office. The quotation, “fighting for the people” is in this scene. The wall and flag are done in mosaic and the office desk and chair are painted on a separate surface and attached.

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