Mirtes Zwierzynski is a visual artist and muralist whose works can be seen in North and South America as well as in Europe. Actively engaged in arts education activities, Mirtes Zwierzynski creates and implements public art programs focused on urban development and education.
Mirtes Zwierzynski has extensive experience in developing community-based participatory research arts projects and in organizing workshops and training activities for teachers and cultural activists.
She has been actively involved with Chicago Public Art Group since 1982 and also often collaborates with other arts organizations such as Urban Gateways and Gallery 37 in order to develop mural projects with schools and other community institutions. Besides her work with educational institutions, recent commissions include Percent for the Arts commissions for the realization, with Phil Schuster, of a mosaic sculpture for Gallery 37 and a mosaic mural for the Chicago South Branch Library. She was created a mural for Loyola University, a sculpture with the Chicago Lighthouse involving blind adults, and has directed a collaborative project with the women empowerment program that is run by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Her personal work is regularly shown in individual as well as group exhibitions. Recent group exhibitions include shows at the Chicago Cultural Center, Renaissance Gallery; the Jornada Cultural Calles y Sueños in Oaxaca, Mexico; the South Shore Cultural Center; the Aldo Castillo Gallery and the Crosman Gallery at the University of Wisconsin. Solo shows of her work that were held over the last years include exhibitions at the Dittmar Gallery of Northwestern University and Elmhurst College.
Mirtes Zwierzynski Artist Statement
My work derives from a concern with the public space. I believe that art, in all its forms, belongs to the public space and should not only be confined to specialized institutions. All art is public. As art increasingly becomes a market driven commodity the role of public art is to provide a foundational space where sense and meaning are not separated from daily life.
I was born in Brazil and lived in France for many years. I’ve been living in Chicago since 1981. I have worked with different communities throughout the world, trying to collaborate with them in translating their culture and beliefs into the creation of images that could make a difference in the space they live. These images translated into murals and mosaic installations, are in schools, parks, community centers, or travel in the form of banners to be seen and experienced by other communities in their own local institutions.
I’m also engaged in studio work in order to develop my own personal artistic expression and investigation of the worlds hidden by mass culture and the media with images that will be translated into my drawings and paintings. These are two languages and two expressions, but they bloom from one single root.
Exploring with other people how art could help in making contact with our visionary selves has always been a very enjoyable challenge to me. I enjoy working with children in schools, with community people, with the blind, the disabled, and the homeless in order to explore together with them their cultures and their inner worlds. During my many years working with them on murals, sculptures, installations, and other art projects, I never had to face a dull moment or a standardized routine. In the journey of getting involved facilitating the discovery of new worlds, I always discover something new about myself and I am eager to share it with others.