Mural installed at Alderman Gardiner’s 45th Ward office on Lawrence
by BRIAN NADIG
A new 50-foot wide mural on the side of 45th Ward Alderman James Gardiner’s office, 5425 W. Lawrence Ave., symbolizes “the growth and change in the community,” according to its artist, Brendan Cooney of Portage Park.
The butterflies in the mural symbolize hope and transformation, and a large hand pointing to a butterfly was painted in a grayish neutral tone in an effort to reflect all members of the community, Cooney said. The mural also includes a hummingbird, ribbons and flowers.
“We have gotten a lot of great feedback from people walking their dog or walking to the el,” Gardiner said.
Cooney said that teachers at Prussing School have assisted with the art project and that in the spring he plans to work with elementary students on painting additional artwork on the rear wall of the ward office.
Gardiner said that he hopes the project and future ones in the ward will demonstrate to area youth that public art is welcome as long as it is done appropriately.
Gardiner has publicly thanked city workers who have assisted the police in arresting graffiti suspects, and some social media posters have criticized him for these comments, claiming that graffiti is an urban art form.
Cooney said that he has worked on other public art projects Kilbourn Park area and that he reached out to Gardiner after reading on social media his call for public art in the ward. Work on the mural at Gardiner’s office started in November.