Painting the Towns

By
Appears in the September Issue issue.

The Aurora Unity Gateway Mural by artists Laura Lynne (left) and Catalina Diaz (right)

A mural can tell a community’s story, inspire dialogue, and beautify a neighborhood—not to mention make for a fun photo op. Check out these fresh examples of outdoor artistry in two western suburbs.

A Girl Scouts troop helps paint the Aurora Unity Gateway Mural.

Aurora
Aurora Public Art produced new murals in seven locations throughout downtown Aurora late last year. One of those, Graffiti Wall, curated by Sam Cervantes, features the work of 17 artists who came together to create Aurora’s first street art gallery (914 Middle Ave.) “Street art is like improv—it’s spontaneous—it’s not the same art form as a formal mural,” explains Jenn Byrne, director of public art. “The street artists’ sense of community and the joy of actually feeling respected and appreciated by the city for their art and culture was so palpable.” 

The 15-by-30-foot Aurora Unity Gateway Mural (210 E. Galena Blvd.) was created by Laura Lynne and Catalina Diaz, who turned the wall into a giant paint-by-numbers picture; community volunteers helped with the painting. 

Aurora’s other recent installations include Cultural Heritage Stamps: Brazil, Greece, Luxembourg, Kenya (7 S. Broadway Ave.) by Midwest Immersive; Diversity in Technology (105 E. Galena Blvd.) by Rafael Blanco; Alebrijes (BNSF viaduct wall at East New York Street) by Pierre Lucero, Catalina Diaz, Laura Reyes, and Janice Rodriguez; Alexa (13 S. Broadway Ave.) by Judith de Leeuw; and Calaveras (36 W. Downer Pl.) by Christopher Lucero.

A public art map listing all wall mural locations—plus seven sculptures and 24 utility-box murals—can be found at aurora-il.org/2339/public-art-map.

Bloom in St. Charles

St. Charles
Designed by New York artist Steffi Lynn and the St. Charles Business Alliance, five new whimsical and inspiring murals are gracing outdoor walls in downtown St. Charles. “St. Charles is filled with Instagrammable places,” says Jenna Sawicki, the alliance’s executive director. “It’s a fun little scavenger hunt to find all the best photo ops.”

You Look Good in St. Charles

The five murals in the series include You Made It! (311 N. 2nd St.), You Look Good (301 W. Main St.), Radiate Positivity (7 S. 2nd Ave.), Bloom in St. Charles (132 S. 1st St.), and Just Keep Growing (16 N. Riverside Ave.)

Aurora’s Graffiti Wall

“Art is so important to St. Charles,” Sawicki says. “We’re excited to have people come and check out the new murals in person.” For a mural map, visit stcalliance.org/murals. 

Photos courtesy of Vizo Arts Media (Aurora Unity Gateway Mural) of St. Charles Business Alliance and Aurora Public Art Commission