By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rain failed to dampen the spirits of the estimated 300 residents and officials who came together Friday evening, July 11, to celebrate local art and the unveiling of the village of Rosemont’s first mural. “It’s Art Here” was held at the Rosemont Recreation Center on Barry Street.
Although the rain did put a hold on painting the massive mural---actually three murals each 100 feet long by 15 feet tall on three walls on the north side of 7115 Barry St. and the north and west sides of 7120 and 7122 Lyndon St.---it did not stop the celebration.
People of all ages enjoyed the free festival, which included music, lots of food and refreshments, games, face painting and a raffle of bikes, scooters and bike helmets donated by Rosemont Helping Hand.
Prior to Friday’s event, the mural artists used a projector and painted the outline of the murals on the walls.
Attendees said they were very pleased with the murals and proud of the students’ work. Dependent on the weather, the murals should be painted by the end of the week.
Several months ago the village hired Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik to lead the mural project. Eight local student artists were hired to work with Statik to design the art aimed at brightening and enhancing the area surrounding the recreation center.
Attending the event and talking with attendees were the local student artists which include, Guillermo Echeverria, Juana Garcia Ramirez, Andrea Garcia Chavez, Fabian Garcia, Francisco Garcia, Felipe Rodela Trujillo, Luis Garcia and Maria Hernandez.
“This project is remarkable for the benefits it brings to Rosemont,” said Mayor Brad Stephens. “These murals will bolster connectivity and create inspiring, vivid artwork in shared public spaces, which will foster pride in and enhance the vibrancy of the Rosemont community as a whole.”
To make the murals, the artists developed a concept, themes and sketches of their ideas. Statik compiled the sketches into a digital image for the final mural.
The result is a burst of color and images from soccer players to the Rosemont rose to historical figures and a representation of the Aztec calendar on each of the walls.
The mural is one of several projects the village is working on to upgrade the community. For instance, a new modernized multi-use turf area will replace the existing grass field adjacent to the recreation center.
Additionally, driveways and alleys are being repaved as well as planning for updated snow and garbage removal.
“This is great for the community,” Rosemont Public Safety Chief Donald E. Stephens III told the Journal & Topics at Friday’s event. “We hope the community takes full advantage of this great recreation center and our park programs.
“The mayor is committed to this neighborhood. In addition to the other enhancements, the village is being aggressive in building code enforcement,” added the public safety chief. “Also, I have noticed in the past several months calls for public safety service in this area have gone down dramatically.”
“I think this is fantastic for the community,” Rosemont Park Dist. Board President Richard V. Drehobl said Friday. “It makes me proud and happy to be a part of the community.”
“I’m pleased so many aspects of the community are included in the mural,” said park board vice president Phillip Chihoski on Friday. “Art should be a part of everyone’s life.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help finish painting the mural can contact the recreation center staff by calling 847-298-1965. All volunteers will have their name included on the mural wall.