Mural art adding character to Humboldt Park

July 13, 2013 (CHICAGO)

One mural is called "Breaking the Chains." It has adorned the side of an apartment building for the past 42 years and was recently restored.

"This mural has a kind of history connected to the fight to save housing and to save diversity in this area," said muralist John Pitman Weber.

It's one of paintings included in the Humboldt Park mural arts program organized by the non-profit Archi-Treasures. The program includes a tour and an educational curriculum for students and families.

"We're trying to get teachers in Humboldt Park to take their kids out of the classroom into the neighborhood and go for a walk and look at the murals and learn something about Puerto Rican history, about the power of art to make political change, all kinds of things,' said Archi-Treasures Executive Director Joyce Fernandes.

At last count, there were 68 murals in Humboldt Park. Each of the nearly dozen chosen for the tour is in close walking distance.

John Vergara is among the muralists whose work is highlighted. He hopes the tour encourages appreciation for the artwork that weaves the fabric of culture and community.

"I've worked out in the community without even getting paid," Vergara said. "I just decided I wanted to paint and restore these murals and create my own murals as well. It represents the community, the struggles it's had, what it's been through and is still going through."

The initiative also includes hands on workshops, such family mural day. The next one is coming on Sunday, July 28.

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