A new mural is coming to the Forest Park community with the help of the volunteers of the Forest Park Arts Alliance and the Park District of Forest Park. 

The mural will stand at 8 feet tall and 40 feet long and will be painted on an old shipping container at the Park District of Forest Park on Harrison Street. The $500-project will be an interactive mural with a nature theme of butterflies, plants and flowers. 

Forest Park Arts Alliance Treasurer Rick Wagner is overseeing the project.

“The Park District of Forest Park came to the Forest Park Arts Alliance and said to us that they have this 40-foot black canvas. We covered it with a coat of blue paint to represent the sky and we are now starting to outline and do the mural,” Wagner said. 

When the Park District of Forest Park came to the Forest Park Arts Alliance, Wagner stepped forward and agreed to the painting of a mural and submitted a design to the park district.

 “We wanted to do a mural for a number of years. We do have funds in our murals budget. But we are not drawing from the mural funds as the Park District of Forest Park is paying for it, and we have volunteers who are helping to paint it,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said he wants the mural to be an interactive experience and with a playground right across the street and the mural being located behind the pool, the mural will attract families and their children. 

“A child or adult can stand in front of the mural and become a butterfly. Lots of children are here on the playground especially on weekends. The mural will be realistic and abstract at the same time,” Wagner said.

He said the purpose of the mural is to make the area there more attractive, fun and interactive, and it can be a spot to check out.

“If somebody wants to take a picture and be a butterfly for a minute, there will be a place to do it year-round. It is both fun and whimsical,” Wagner said. 

The mission of the Forest Park Arts Alliance is to bring artists from all disciplines, the right resources, and residents together to enrich their lives through the power of art.

“Our approach to painting this mural is that it be fun, colorful and something that fits into the landscape,” Wagner said. 

He said they’ll be starting work soon and that the mural should take seven to 10 days to complete.

In other mural news, the Forest Park Arts Alliance plans to repaint the Circle Avenue bridge in May, pending village board approval. It was last painted in 2015.

“Art has always been part of my life. Everything is visual whether it be architecture or nature. It affects what you see and how you see the world,” Wagner said. “I think a person that focuses and studies and looks at art sees the world a little differently in that you appreciate nature, you appreciate color and its architecture.”