A group of students painted this lively mural entitled Unity through a program sponsored by After School Matters and Yollocalli Arts Reach. Under the guidance of lead artist Gabriel Villa, the teens created an artwork that reflects the energy of Dvorak Park in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The students worked incredibly well together and formed a bond that is echoed through the mural’s themes of unity and compassion.
The unique shape of the panel—with its two top edges rising to a peak—sets the stage for the composition, which divides into several zones. Verdant park scenery in the foreground is offset by a view of the Chicago skyline in the distance. At the upper center, a red-brick building represents the Dvorak Park field house. Its convex shape pulls the viewer’s eye down into the adjacent parkland, establishing the park’s importance to the community as an urban oasis around which whole worlds are centered.
At the far right, a hybrid tree/human sprouts through a broken sidewalk. Cradling a newborn in its arms, the figure represents renewal and demonstrates that something beautiful can grow out of decay. The cycle of life is also evoked through the inclusion of multiple generations—from children to older members of the community, the latter of whom are rendered in colorful outlines over the park scene. These elder individuals appear to watch over the exuberant children, who playfully dash around the park or join hands in a circle of friendship. Overall, the layering of color and imagery creates a vibrant, active composition that speaks to the integrated nature of the tight-knit community.