Urban World at the Crossroads

Title:  Urban World at the Crossroads

Site:  Orr High School
Chicago Avenue and Pulaski Road, Chicago

Artists:  John Pitman Weber and Bernard Williams

Assistant:  Lynn Edwards

Community Participants:  Monroe Alie, Tiffany Allen, Teschia Blakely, Demetria Boston, James Brown, Jr., Tamell Jackson, Mashima Levy, Samson McWherter, Jenny Rueda, and Clifton Totton

Sponsors:  Chicago Public Art Group, Gallery 37, and Youth Service Project

Year:  1997

Scale:  17 x 100 feet

Materials:  Acrylic paint on masonry

Information:  This mural at Orr Academy High School transformed a formidable blank wall into a jazzy collage of color, pattern, and realistic rendering. Echoing the modernist architecture of the building, the mural is loosely arranged in a rectangular grid that contains images related to family, culture, education, and community development. The inclusion of many images of transportation highlights one of the mural’s themes--the literal and metaphorical coming and going of people at the crossroads of urban life in this west Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Working together for the first time, the two master muralists incorporated their individual studio styles into the monumentally scaled work. They led a team of Youth Service Project/Gallery 37 teens in designing the piece, using a cut-paper collage technique inspired by the work of Romare Bearden.