Help Chicago Public Art Group Protect and Restore Public Art

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What happened?  This Spring, Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG) and many other fellow Chicagoans were extremely disheartened to learn that the large two-part mural, Es Tiempo de Recordar or It’s Time to Remember, was whitewashed on May 11, 2018, by the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS).  The mural was painted in 1992 by Sandra Antongiorgi, Marcus Akinlana, and Rolf Mueller in collaboration with youth from Youth Service Project through CPAG.  It was located at Pulaski and Bloomingdale on the border of Logan Square and Hermosa for twenty-six year years.  DSS reported that residents were complaining about gang tags on the mural.  DSS did not contact Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa or Alderman Roberto Maldonado before the whitewashing.  

How did CPAG respond?  CPAG immediately contacted DSS staff and reminded them to contact CPAG if they receive complaints about any tagged or damaged public artworks. Steve Weaver, the Executive Director of CPAG, met with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to push for a new process to project public art. CPAG is also reaching out to Aldermen Rosa and Maldonado and local community members to work with CPAG to find funding to restore the mural.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) proposed legislation to eliminate the confusion by creating a citywide mural registry that graffiti removal crews would have to check before painting or blasting operations begin. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events would maintain the registry for private property owners who commission art on the outside walls of their buildings.

How can you help?Community based public artworks are cultural assets that need to be protected and restored.Public art is especially vulnerable in neighborhoods that are undergoing gentrification. CPAG partners with residents around the city to restore works of public art valued by the community. If you see a mural or other public artwork in your community that needs help, please contact your alderman or CPAG at or (312) 427-2724.Also, if you like what CPAG is doing and want to support its protection and restoration efforts, please consider making a donation to CPAG today at DONATE.

Here are some of the news reports on this issue:

9/18/18 WTTW Chicago Tonight

9/14/18 WBEZ Morning Shift