A mural of J Dilla, painted by Chicago artist Joe ÒCujodahÓ Nelson at The Point music venue, 1565 N. Milwaukee, in Wicker Park on June 3, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

ENGLEWOOD — A mural dedicated to the future of Englewood is going up this weekend.

Neighbors have chosen to add “Our Future” — a mural that celebrates future graduates, artists and athletes — to a bare viaduct on 58th Street and Racine Avenue. Neighbors can join in on the Paint N’ Peace celebration to bring the vision to life noon-3 p.m. Saturday. All ages are welcome.

Joe “Cujodah” Nelson, an Englewood resident and co-founder of the Englewood Arts Collective, will spearhead the community-winning mural. Nelson also has painted murals at the Wal-Mart in West Chatham and The Point in Wicker Park.

Asiaha Butler, founder of the Residents Associations of Greater Englewood, said neighbor input drove the design process and helped finalize the version going up at the viaduct.

The original plan called for painting a stop sign with the words “racism,” “hate” and “sexism,” but that aspect of the mural has been removed. Instead of highlighting negativity, neighbors wanted to promote the good in the community, Butler said. 

“Residents know that they had a say in what’s happening around their community as it relates to art,” Butler said. “We’re hoping that when they walk past that viaduct now, it’s something beautiful and it uplifts them. That wall really needed a lot of help.” 

Credit: R.A.G.E.

The mural was made possible through the Englewood Public Safety Taskforce, a union of police, academic and community groups. 

Their grant-winning project, T.I.M.E. 21:36 — which stands for This Is My Englewood and blends the area’s ZIP codes, 60621 and 60636 — received nearly $1 million in 2018 to fund community projects and pay overtime for officers and crime evaluation tools.

Butler said Saturday’s event, a day of joyful community gathering, is exactly what the organization hopes to bring more of in Englewood.

“It’s going to be a celebration,” Butler said. “This process started before COVID-19 hit, and it, of course, got put on hold. We’re all so excited to see it happening. Hopefully, we have a beautiful day outside and no issues.” 


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Atavia Reed is a reporter for Block Club Chicago, covering the Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Chatham neighborhoods. Twitter @ataviawrotethis