The Justin Fund – celebrated and still reaching out.                 Photo by Maya Kosove

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This summer, local artists Lea Pinsky and Dustin Harris installed a new mural on the exterior wall of the Davis Street Metra station, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Justin Wynn Fund. The mural was commissioned on the heels of the anniversary to bring visibility and recognition to the contributions of the organization to the Evanston community.

The Justin Wynn Fund is a local youth leadership/community service organi-zation that gives deserving Evanston kids ages 9-18 opportunities to give back to the community.

The fund was created in 1987, when Justin Wynn, 9, of died in an accident. After his tragic death, the fund was created to inspire, sustain and encourage Evanston’s youth to become the leaders they have the potential to be. These “Wynners” do their service projects as members of the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy.

For the mural, JWF Director Elaine Clemens hired Mr. Harris and Ms. Pinsky to work with the youth to design and paint the mural. A husband-wife team, they have worked together as Mix Masters Murals for the past seven years, leading community-based public art projects for schools and not-for-profit organizations. (www.mixmastersmurals.com) Mr. Harris and Ms. Pinsky both grew up in Evanston.

This particular project evolved over almost two years. After surveying the Wynners about their values in being a part of JWLA, the artists led brainstorming workshops in the fall of 2011. They then incorporated the Wynners’ ideas with their own aesthetics to create a mural design. In the summer of 2012, they led a week of painting sessions, then finished and installed the work in May.  

The mural itself celebrates the positive impact the organization has made over the last 25 years. The camaraderie of JWLA youth is seen in the students standing close to one another, all looking up toward the ladder, which indicates future-thinking.