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Little Village Mural Welcomes Library Patrons ‘Home’ | Latino Voices | Chicago News

Little Village Mural Welcomes Library Patrons ‘Home’ | Latino Voices | Chicago News

Over the last two years, an explosion of murals has enlivened all corners of Chicago. One of them was the corner of 23rd and Kedzie, where public art met the public library in the summer of 2020. 

That’s where muralist Joseph Perez and a group of young artists created a cheerful welcome for patrons of the Little Village branch of the Chicago Public Library. The mural was completed through Yollocalli Arts Reach, the youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art

“The name is ‘Home’ and we really wanted this library to feel like home for the community of Little Village [and] also North Lawndale,” said Perez, who works under the name Sentrock. “The style is … a mixture of traditional muralist style, also street art. So it’s very graphic design-ish, cartoonish too. It’s also very reflective of those designs in the community of Little Village and North Lawndale.” 

One of the young artists, Elizabeth Cardona, called working on the mural a “great experience.” 

“I got to learn different things from each artist that was working on the mural,” Cardona said. “It’s a different experience working in a group versus working separately, we kind of found ways to work together and since it was a large mural, we also had to get on ladders and kind of be there for each other because it’s kind of scary to get all the way up on the ladder!” 

For Cardona, who graduated with a degree in art education from UIC last month, being part of a prominent work of public art in her home community has special meaning. “Seeing artwork in a public library and being able to be part of that, I feel like that inspires other young artists to also take that career path.” 

That’s just the response Perez said he was hoping the mural would elicit. 

“I really want younger artists to feel empowered. Like someone like Elizabeth doesn’t have to feel intimidated if they want to go paint a mural or if they want to go take their art and add it to the side of a building,” he said. “I want them to feel the power that they can do it as well and not feel intimidated or not feel like they don’t have that sense of ownership of their own city.”