Documenting a Little Village Mural Project That Celebrates Community

SLIDESHOW – I recently documented creation of “Celebrando Comunidad”, a stunning building-sized mural that wraps around Nuevo Leon, a restaurant at 26th Street and Lawndale Avenue in Chicago’s Little Village.The painting by local artist Elizabeth “Liz” Reyes celebrates Dia de Muertos and the importance of caring for loved ones, including those who came before us. The mural features an elderly skeleton couple standing shoulder to shoulder with the iconic mountain range Cerro de la Silla in the background. The woman’s purple dress snakes down the building toward children playing in front of Little Village’s terra cotta arch alongside bare-boned mariachis. Scattered across the mural are marigolds, known in Mexico as “flower of the dead.” Observed on Nov. 2, Day of the Dead is rooted in pre-Columbian indigenous traditions. Departed ancestors are believed to make their way back to the terrestrial plane to counsel loved ones and enjoy their favorite foods, left for them upon altars known as ofrendas. Key personnel involved with creating this artwork included Elizabeth Reyes – Lead Artist, Abie Vasquez – Project Manager, Jesse Navarrete – Graphic Designer/Artist, Derek Ware – Paint Consultant/Technician/Contractor, and Kristian Armendariz – Contractor’s Assistant,