I Welcome Myself to a New Place

Title:  I Welcome Myself to a New Place

Site:  113th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago

Artists:  Olivia Gude, Marcus Jefferson, and Jon Pounds

Community Participants: Multigenerational members of Roseland and Pullman

Sponsors:  Chicago Public Art Group

Year:  1988

Scale:  7200 square feet

Materials:  Acrylic paint on concrete

Information:  One of the largest community murals in Chicago, I Welcome Myself… encompasses an entire railroad underpass. Designed and created by more than one hundred neighborhood residents, the mural symbolically and literally “bridges the gap” between the neighborhoods of the predominantly African-American Roseland and the predominantly white and Latino Pullman.

The Pullman (north) wall is an intricate patchwork of decorative patterns incorporating designs used in the ancestral art of area residents. Other images include an art fair to which residents bring portraits of George Pullman, A. Philip Randolph, and Eugene Debs, founder of the American Railway Union and the American Socialist party, and leader of the Pullman Strike. On the Roseland side, a depiction of the farms formerly in this area is contrasted with the cultural history of an African mask. On both sides of the underpass, neighbors work together to preserve their homes and heritage.