The Only Thing Keeping Me Down Is…Gravity

Title:  The Only Thing Keeping Me Down Is…Gravity

Site:  Association House of Chicago
2150 W. North Avenue, Chicago

Artists:  Kristal Pacheco and Veronica Werckmeister

Assistant: Karin Warch

Community Participants:  Darryl Bates, Gerardo Banderas, Wilson Chaparro, Erika Estrada, Jason Garcia, Anna Landaverry, Hector Montanes, Teresa Moreno, Matthew Onaczynski, Ivelisse Rodriguez, and Janet Gould

Sponsors:  Chicago Public Art Group, Association House of Chicago, and Gallery 37

Year:  1997

Scale:  700 square foot mural; 100 square foot mosaic

Materials:  Acrylic paint on masonry and ceramic tile mosaic on concrete

Information:  Serving the West Town community since 1899, Association House has helped generations of immigrants--now mostly Latino--make a meaningful life for themselves in Chicago. Kristal Pacheco and Veronica Werckmeister worked with Gallery 37 youths to extend another mural Breaking Barriers by Turbado Marabou and Veronica Werckmeister, with The Only Thing Keeping Me Down Is... Gravity. The combined mural and cracked-ceramic mosaic work features abstract and symbolic imagery on the theme of breaking barriers--whether of culture, race, language, or politics. The theme of the project was a product of a series of discussions motivated by the artists that brought up the questions: What makes you feel free? What is it you are doing when you feel most free? What do you do after you break a barrier? What effects are produced when a barrier is broken?

Incorporated into the abstract shapes of the design are three words: Imagine, Build, and Fly. These words are meant to inspire hope and call upon onlookers to take the rubble of a barrier broken and use it to build something, anything, that will take them to that place that makes them feel most free, to integrate themselves fully in a constructive process. The participants themselves are represented by their silhouettes within the floating red balls, bubbles, or planets that hover and mingle with the complex construction of the mural. This itself symbolizes the very individual experience one faces when a barrier is broken and indeed when a creative process is taken on.