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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Edgewater Beach Apartments To Display Earth Day Mural Made From Plastic Left At Local Beaches

"Plastics S.O.S" by two Edgewater Beach Apartments residents will be made of plastic items wrapped up upcycled yarn and will be on display along Sheridan Road.

The Edgewater Beach Apartments building is located at 5555 N. Sheridan Road.
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EDGEWATER — The neighborhood’s newest piece of public art will be made from plastic items left at Far North Side beaches.

The Edgewater Beach Apartments Corporation is installing a mural for Earth Day entitled “Plastics S.O.S.” It will debut Friday, which is Earth Day, and will remain through May 30 on the apartment complex’s Sheridan Road fencing at 5555 N. Sheridan Road.

“Plastics S.O.S” will be constructed from the plastic objects found along Osterman, Foster and Montrose beaches, Edgewater Beach Apartment residents Julie Carpenter and Jessica Roble said.

The found items — mostly toys and sand-castle-building materials — will be wrapped in a yarn net. The idea is similar to “yarnbombing,” where artists cover a an item in crocheted or knitted yarn.

The yarn in this case is made from more than 2,000 shopping bags upcycled to make an item known as “plarn.”

Carpenter and Roble hope passersby will take in the colorful mural and consider how much humans impact the environment around them. The toys in the mural will help it connect to kids and get them thinking about sustainability, they said.

“Our hope is that parents with young children and school groups will visit the mural for conversations about plastic consumption and the environment,” Carpenter said in a statement. “We want kids to have fun with it, while increasing awareness of how they can become good stewards of our public beaches and parks.” 

Signs along the mural will highlight sustainability initiative like NexTrex, which turns plastic grocery bags into sustainable building materials. Research on the impact of microplastics in freshwater lakes by Loyola University biologist Tim Hoellein will also be highlighted.

After the mural’s run on Sheridan Road, the group hopes to donate the artwork to a school or nonprofit to give it a second life, Carpenter and Roble said.

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