Title: TILT (Together Protect the Community)
Site: Fullerton and Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago
Artist: John Pitman Weber
Assistants: Jon Kokot, Constance Marek
Community Participants: Carlos, Arviso, Santiago, the Gwyn family, the Cortez family and others
Sponsors: Chicago Mural
Year: 1976, restored 2003
Scale: 16.5 x 89 feet
Information: A fading classic, painted with neighborhood residents, Tilt (as it’s popularly known) is still relevant to this Logan Square neighborhood and to many city neighborhoods. The south half of the 90-foot-long mural depicts a monumental, racially mixed group of people protectively embracing their homes against a background of decorative patterns similar to old-fashioned wallpaper. While smaller figures “build” their community through work and play, others fend off drugs, vandalism, gangs, absentee landlords, real estate speculators, unemployment, and freeways--all of which threaten the quality of life. These tilted images on the north half are meant to be seen only by the local audience; eastbound traffic on Fullerton sees only the positive, harmonious images.
The mural’s composition exemplifies the aesthetic problem sometimes associated with depicting the community’s problems; they often are the most dramatic images in a mural because they look more exciting than representations of a harmonious community. However, in this work, the sweetness and strength of the positive imagery balances the drama of the negative forces.