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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Uptown Art Weekend Will Debut 8 New Murals In The Neighborhood’s Burgeoning Public Arts District

Over 100 public works of art will be on display this weekend.

Lucy's Uptown has debuted a new mural and cafe seating at the corner of Wilson and Broadway.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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UPTOWN — Uptown’s ever-growing collection of public art will be front-and-center this weekend — when eight new murals will be painted in the neighborhood.

The first-ever Uptown Art Weekend will take place Friday through Sunday. Over 100 pieces of public art will be on display, eight muralists will be painting new public art and residents will have the chance to create some art of their own.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Uptown in recent years has turned into a hub of public murals and artwork. Last year, the neighborhood debuted the Clifton Avenue Street Art Gallery, where over 20 murals dot the landscape near the Wilson “L” station.

The neighborhood’s newest mural was unveiled this summer near Truman City College, where artist Left Handed Wave paid homage to Uptown’s history through its marquees and business signs.

With Uptown’s public arts district growing in recent years, neighborhood leaders decided to show off the art in a social distance-friendly event.

“It’s been great to have so much art go up in the neighborhood,” said Greg Carroll, director of partnerships and events for Uptown United, a business chamber group. “We wanted to bring people out in a safe way and to create some foot traffic on the streets, which is good for our businesses.”

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Artist Left Handed Wave’s new Uptown mural pays homage to the neighborhood’s historic marquees and signage.

Uptown United has produced an interactive map so residents and visitors can take a self-guided tour of the area’s public works of art. Clicking on the map icon for each artwork will reveal information about the piece and the artist. Check out the map below.

Throughout the weekend, eight muralists will be creating new public canvasses. Three of the new murals are coming to the Clifton Avenue art gallery.

Two interactive art projects will also take place throughout the weekend.

One, at 4942 N. Kenmore Ave., is called the “Covid Grief Fence,” where participants can write a message on one of the 2,700 white ribbons representing the lives lost to coronavirus in Chicago.

A chalk art project will also take place at the Sunnyside Mall at Malden Street and Sunnyside Avenue, where participants can help decorate the street.

A number of Black Lives Matter-inspired art pieces will also be on display this weekend. The art was not commissioned for the event, but rather sprang up organically following the public marches and calls for justice in the killing of George Floyd.

Like elsewhere in America, boarded-up businesses in Uptown have served as canvasses for Black Lives Matter-inspired art. That art has sometimes been shelved when businesses have re-opened, but Uptown United is working to preserve some of those pieces.

That includes a portrait of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which adorned the boarded-up Shop And Save at 4605 N. Sheridan. The business has removed the mural, but the chamber group has taken it and is looking for a way to preserve and publicly display the artwork, Carroll said.

Uptown restaurants and other businesses are also getting in on the event, by either hosting artist workshops or inviting participants to check out the art inside the business, Carroll said.

The event is self guided in an effort to promote social distancing among participants, according to Uptown United. Participants also will be encouraged to wear masks.

Here is a map of the public art, live painting demonstrations and participating businesses.

Live mural paintings are marked with the green map icon. Interactive art pieces are marked in purple, Black Lives Matter-inspired art is marked with a black icon, residential artwork is marked with a red icon, participating businesses are marked in blue and existing murals are marked in green.

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