There are three “Paint With Us” painting days scheduled this weekend when the community is invited to get involved in the completion of Rachel Slotnick’s mural in progress at Milwaukee and Kedzie in Logan Square. Adjoining the Logan Square Blue Line stop, this is the latest mural project to adopt two-year terms for the prominent wall space in the square. Lindsey Meyers, the director of the neighborhood’s Beauty & Brawn Gallery and longtime Logan Square resident, has coordinated the project with Slotnick after considering the wall’s potential over years. Meyers explains by email, “I pass that wall multiple times a day and it always spoke to me. I continued to see its size and scope and only saw beauty and potential.”
Painting days are scheduled for today, August 29, from 4pm-7pm; Sunday, August 31, from 1pm-3pm; and Monday, September 1, from 1pm-3pm. Interested participants need only show up; the gallery will provide all painting materials.
Violets wash into teals and sky blues in Slotnick’s depictions of a dream space in which peacocks and tigers represent the beauty and brawn that her partner gallery pursues. This is her second mural project, following a project last summer when she painted a memorial mural under Lake Shore Drive to honor a friend who was killed by a drunk driver. In the Logan Square mural, Slotnick aims to blend the deeply personal with attributes of the surrounding area, drawing from experiences as an art professor in which sharing the personal details of one’s life become a beautiful community endeavor. Bits of personal poetry and images that speak to struggles Slotnick and her family have faced are situated among references to the surrounding area. In her artist statement, Slotnick writes, “I wanted to create a tribute to the diverse and beautiful neighborhood of Logan Square, so all of the other flora and fauna on the wall represent local growth including: New England Aster, Marsh Milkweed, Maidenhair Fern, Tall Bellflower, a Blue Jay, Red Winged Black Bird, and Monarch Butterflies.”
The mural has been underwritten by Beauty & Brawn, with additional donations from Slotnick and the Oakley-Gates family who have been longtime supporters of Meyers and the gallery. The design was proposed to Alderman Rey Colón, and Meyers worked closely with Ryan Mouw of Chicago Transit Authority. A community ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday September 13 at 4pm, and an exhibition of Slotnick’s work at the gallery continues through September 27. (Matt Morris)