Fireflies will be lighting up the Chicago skyline as part of massive mural project that brings together students from three different schools.
The mural, which will be placed on the outside of a building at the ComEd Tech Center Campus, 1319 Maybrook Drive in Maywood, is being spearheaded by internationally-known mural artist Hector Duarte with help from Proviso East, Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, and Proviso West students.
With the Chicago skyline in the background, fireflies and tall green grass highlight the foreground of the artwork.
The mural's message reflects humankind's relationship with the environment.
"Nature was there before lights or the internet," said Samantha Chavez, a PMSA junior.
Artist Duarte said the artwork "has a deep message of the environment and how we can take care of natural things."
It took the students three weeks to come up with the design, Duarte said. They presented the design to ComEd, which then approved it. The students then had to create the canvas which is on synthetic paper.
The mural, which is 100 feet wide and about 30 feet tall, will be placed on a garage in front of the Tech Center. It will cost about $100,000, with ComEd paying for it. The mural should be complete by the beginning of August and installed by the end of August.
ComEd came up with the idea for the mural so that area could be spruced up. ComEd employees will have a good view of the artwork on the Fleet Garage because the office building that faces the garage has three-story tall glass windows. "We wanted to do something to improve it, but also involve the community," said Jose Hansen, a senior engineer for AMI Operations, ComEd
Chicago Public Art Group was hired to manage the project. "They are very familiar with making murals and to make it happen. They have very good connections with artists," said Hansen. Duarte, the artist for this mural, has artwork displayed around the Chicagoland area, including the Pilsen neighborhood, Naperville, St. Charles, and Highland Park.
The mural will be around for years to come, but its impact will be lasting for students as well. "This mural has given us a big opportunity not only for the artists but for the students, to give them an idea for career opportunities for the future," said Hansen.
And it looks as if the mural project has had the impact ComEd was looking for in the undertaking. "We are learning a lot about each other and art. It's educational," said Kayla Matthews, a sophomore at Proviso West.