This mural at Orr Academy High School transformed a formidable blank wall into a jazzy collage of color, pattern, and realistic rendering. Echoing the modernist architecture of the building, the mural is loosely arranged in a rectangular grid that contains images related to family, culture, education, and community development. The inclusion of many images of transportation highlights one of the mural’s themes—the literal and metaphorical coming and going of people at the crossroads of urban life in this west Humboldt Park neighborhood.
Working together for the first time, two master muralists—John Pitman Weber and Bernard Williams—incorporated their individual studio styles into the monumental work. They led a team of Youth Service Project/Gallery 37 teens in designing the piece, using a cut-paper collage technique inspired by the work of Romare Bearden.
The 17 x 100-foot mural was completed in 1997 using acrylic paint and was co-sponsored by Chicago Public Art Group, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Gallery 37, the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training, and the Orr Community Academy, and the Chicago Park District.