Selena mural in Pilsen supports local businesses

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A mural of singer Selena Quintanilla is being painted in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood to help support local businesses.

"I chose Selena because it's something that would connect with people, something we haven't seen before, said Mateo Zapata, founder of Inner City Culture.

Zapata, who grew up in Pilsen, said he's organizing the project, called "Support Your Local Corner Store," in order to help his community, which is currently facing gentrification. He said the mural of the singer, who was killed in 1995, would help the cause.

"A lot of the recent street art on 18th Street, as a result of the gentrification also lacks any substance," he said. "I think the beauty of Selena is she is was one of the first artists, in my opinion, that connected different generations of Latinos and immigrants from Latin America in the United States."

The Selena mural is being painted on the side of Carnicería Maribel near Cermak and Wood, which has been owned by the Banda family since 1990.

It's helped us bring in more customers," said owner Alejandro Banda. "Having Latino-owned businesses in Pilsen helps maintain the cultural identity of the community."
Zapata reached out to graffiti artist "Asend" for the project.

"Selena was a musical icon but she was also a fashion icon and when I came to the wall, I wanted to make sure to portray all her facets and all her different outfits," said Asend.

Asend said graffiti art uses really hot colors and contrast elements.

"That's what graffiti is, showing a lot of pop in your artwork and that's what I wanted to bring to the wall," he said.

Eventually the mural will be called "La Calle de Selena" or Selena Street.
Asend said people have been coming out from all over the city and suburbs to see the progress.

"When I'm painting, cars passing by are playing Selena music and everybody comes in their Selena gear, their Selena shirts, taking photos," he said.

The finished project should be done in less than two weeks and will portray five of Selena looks.

"I'm glad that she's still alive through all of our art and through her music and it's just been an honor to be able to contribute," said Asend.
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