By Nona Tepper
The Forest Park Arts Alliance (FPAA) is raising funds and looking for artist submissions to paint a mural across from the new Roos Recreation Center. Deadline to apply is May 15.
"The opening of the Roos Center and its adjoining area was such an exciting time for both the park district and the neighborhood. It's wonderful to have a space with so much potential," Laura Twining, president of the Arts Alliance, wrote in an email to the Review.
She said the group has been planning the project for more than a year, starting by "just a simple imagining of what could be possible."
It aims to beautify an approximately 3,500 square-foot slab of concrete on the Circle Avenue bridge, in an area that faces the Roos center. The Arts Alliance said they are seeking proposals from professional muralists with experience in large-scale projects — encouraging local artists to apply — and asked that submissions weave "hidden pictures" into their work, similar to Highlights magazine's children's games. The group plans to have a placard installed in the park that lists hidden elements for kids and families to find.
"As that idea started to formulate, we felt it was important not only to beautify that space, but also to bring in art that's interactive and family-friendly," Twining said via email. "We want to create a space that draws people in and encourages visitors, but one that also complements the fantastic initiatives by the park district."
The group raised $4,000 for the project through the village's vehicle sticker fundraiser. But Twining estimated that the mural will cost at least $10,000 to construct. She added that sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses. Individuals interested in donating can contribute through PayPal to email@example.com. Checks can be mailed to Forest Park Arts Alliance, c/o Rick Wagner, 122 Elgin Ave. in Forest Park.
"We're planning additional fundraising activities to come soon and applying for grants as well," Twining wrote.
Artists can learn more through http://tinyurl.com/FPMural and submit through ForestParkArts@gmail.com. Proposals should factor in the design fee; materials; labor and mural production; lifts and other rental equipment; and maintenance and wall preparation.