From the Metra platform at Main Street the map of Evanston on the nearby CTA wall looks like a colorful enlargement of any of those on the City's website. Up close, it's personal.
The bas-relief map is composed of hundreds of tiles created by nearly 200 persons - volunteers and clients of Open Studio Project, just a few blocks away. Like Evanston itself, the map is bordered by an expanse of blue to the east, which buoys the spirit of Evanston. Upon this blue, float three bright, discrete pictures that represent its nature, culture and diversity.
From concept to execution, the mural was several months in the making, as Open Studio artists and clients refined their vision, working with Sonata Kazimieraitiene, the lead artist on the project.
"I felt that my part was to use my artistic and design skills to combine the existing art and ideas and incorporate as many community members as possible. A map of Evanston is the perfect way to do this," she said.
During the dedication on July 30, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, "This is public art made by the public. You can't get any better than this."
Lora Schaefer and Will Berndt of The Musical Offering played a piece composed by DePaul University music student Brendan Moore, inspired by the mural.
Don Seiden, who founded the art therapy program at the Art Institute of Chicago, attended the ceremony to see the work of his protégées Dayna Block, executive director, and Sarah Laing, associate director, of Open Studio Project. He is, he said, a "long-time supporter of Open Studio Project."
Ms. Laing, who coordinated the project, said the mural reflects Open Studio's philosophy of "helping people of all ages and backgrounds use art for personal growth."
Alderman Donald Wilson, whose Fourth Ward is graced by the new mural, said it is "a wonderful work. It not only provokes comment, it expresses ideas and concepts - and it's a beautiful representation of those ideas."